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11 Landscape Photography Tips You Need to Know

How to take better landscape photographs?

11 Landscape Photography Tips You Need to Know

I've been taking landscape photographs for over 5 years now, and over that time I've gained lots of experience through doing things right, and from making lots of mistakes as well. And some of the advice I'm going to give you may seem obvious, but I always think it's well worth having a reminder from time to time.

1. Find and use good light

The first thing I'm going to advise you to do is again, something which you may already be aware of, but it's just to shoot in good light. Light will make or break your image and the importance of going out either early in the morning or late in the evening, when you can shoot those so-called golden hours when the light is warmer, more dramatic, there's color in the sky, and you're just capture more depth and kind of deeper shade in the landscape.

Your images will instantly improve by shooting in good light. And so I'd really encourage you to set your alarm early, plan carefully, stay out late and really capture the quality of natural light.

11 Landscape Photography Tips You Need to Know

2. Convey depth in your images

Next up is the importance of capturing depth in your landscape images. And one way you can do that is by using a wide-angle lens and getting close to foreground interest, or perhaps using a lead-in line to just direct the viewer's eye through the image and convey a real sense of like a three-dimensional feel to your images. And it's really important that you kind of give your images, that feeling of depth gives so much impact to your shots.

11 Landscape Photography Tips You Need to Know

And so think about your viewpoint carefully, use wide-angle lenses when you can, and just try and create a three-dimensional effect when you shoot landscapes.

3. Use a variety of focal lengths

Not to get into a habit of shooting with just one lens. It's very easy as a landscape photographer to always assume that you have to use a wide-angle lens. And whilst that is the mainstay for landscape photographers, don't be scared to vary it, use a standard lens from time to time, and certainly use a telephoto zoom to be able to kind of capture and isolate detail, texture, and layer in the landscape.

So my tip is basically not to get complacent with your photography or get into any kind of habits, but make sure you carry a good range of focal lengths and be prepared to use them.

11 Landscape Photography Tips You Need to Know

4. Invest in an ND filter

ND filters or Neutral Density filters are really, really handy accessories for landscape photography. What they allow you to do is create longer exposures, so the filters absorb a certain amount of light. You can buy a whole range of ND filters with a variety of different densities. And the ability to actually blur subject motion can be quite a powerful compositional tool. It works especially well with water, so waterfalls or rising tides and waves. Polarizers vs ND Filter.

11 Landscape Photography Tips You Need to Know

It can look fantastic when you're shooting water, but also foliage, scudding clouds, and even landscapes where you have people walking through your landscape, a longer exposure will help to kind of blur them out of the shot and clean up your composition.

5. Explore different rules of composition

My next advice is for you to go out and about the rules of composition. There are so many rules that will help you to frame your images in a much more inventive and creative way. And it's really important to become familiar with things like the rule of thirds or the use of lead-in lines, negative space, there's lots of different tricks and tips that will help you to really inject some life and interest into your shots. Frame Rate.

6. Break rules of composition

It's really, really important to be aware of all the rules of composition, it's equally important not to be too reliant on them. So when you go out and shoot, think about the rules, and often your images will conform to them, but sometimes it's great just to break them completely. So when you compose your shots, the most important thing is to just look for a balance. And if your image looks balanced and well composed, then you don't need to worry about anything else, okay? So just go out and try and trust your instincts and don't rely too much on the rules.

For example, you can see in this photograph, I've placed the horizon really centrally.

11 Landscape Photography Tips You Need to Know

And normally you would say that's an absolute no-no in landscape photography, but in this instance, I think it creates a really nice feeling of symmetry, and the groin to the left also pulls your eye into the center of the frame.

7. Revisit the same location

My next tip is for you to go and visit somewhere new with your camera because it's so easy to get kind of stale and complacent with your local locations. But going somewhere fresh and new really helps to inspire you as a photographer. And you can go there with fresh eyes and try and capture something completely different.

And if ever I'm feeling a little bit stale with my landscape photography, this is something that I always do, I go for a couple of days or even just to a new location locally, but it really helps to get my kind of creative juices flowing again. There's no point taking a beautifully composed shot unless it's completely sharp. 

8. Achieving really sharp images consistently

Get really sharp images. So there's a couple of things that you can do to maximize sharpness in your landscape images. Typically, you'll want everything from your foreground to the background to be bitingly sharp. And so it's really important to know where to focus. A technique I use is called double distance focusing, and you're focusing roughly twice the distance of your closest point, and that helps to maximize depth of field throughout the scene.

Also advise you to use a cable release so that you're not actually having to physically depress the shutter, and obviously use a good tripod at all times.

9. Keep things simple

It's really important to keep things simple, it's so easy with wide-angle lenses to kind of create compositions which are just too busy and including too much space, but actually, you're much better to be concise with your compositions. Think about the elements within the landscape that are really important and just focus on those. Don't feel that you have to go ridiculously wide and bring in information that actually doesn't strengthen the composition, less is more.

And I'd really encourage you to really think about your compositions, just keep it simple. It's really important that you get into the habit of using your histogram.

10. Use your histogram

And this may be checking images after you've taken them, or maybe looking at the live histogram on the back of your live view or through the viewfinder with a mirrorless camera. But your histogram will tell you how your image is exposed and give you a real indication of whether it's correct or not. And if you don't use it, there's a real risk that your images might be under, overexposed.

So get into the habit of looking at your histogram. There's a few telltale things that can really affect exposure. Obviously, if your histogram is falling off one of the edges, that's an indication that the exposure is poor. But also lookout for things like a kind of a dip in the mid-tones, like a horseshoe effect, 'cause that often indicates there's a lot of contrast in your image and that you might need to either blend exposures or use filters.

11. Think very carefully about your aperture

Think very carefully about your aperture choice when you shoot landscape images, it's very easy to assume when you shoot a landscape that you want to use a really small aperture, like f/22 to create a maximum depth of field. But in fact, a lot of lenses perform quite badly when they're stopped right down. So I would recommend going for a mid-range aperture, so typically my starting point is f/11 and that tends to create a sufficient depth of field for most landscape shots, but it's also relatively diffraction-free. Wildlife Photography Tips.

And so think very carefully and don't use a smaller aperture than you absolutely have to. I really hope you found my landscape photography tips helpful, share this article with others and comment below.

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