Tips for Photographing Landscapes

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A few basic rules

When I first started in photography and started taking pictures of landscapes (and just about everything else), I thought ‘why can’t I get my photos to look like the ones in the magazines’? I thought my photos looked good, but, when I compared them to other photos I realized that they lacked something.

Suitable lens

Well, apart from the fact they were taken by professionals in exotic locations, with equipment I could only dream of owning, they were also taken with a lens that was suitable for that purpose ( more often a wide angle lens) and they were taken by someone who new about the rules and general guides you should use when photographing landscapes. So now, after putting into practice the things I’d learned over the years; here’s a general guide to photographing landscapes.

Dawn and dusk

So what’s a good time of day to shoot a nice landscape?, the best times, so the professionals will tell you , is around dawn and dusk; when the light is softer and warmer; at these times of the day, you may also have the advantage of getting a sunrise or sunset into the picture.

A wide angle lens with a small aperture gives a good depth of field. (© Anthony Webber)

Depth of field

You will need to set your camera to create a good depth of field so that you get everything in the scene in sharp focus by using a high f/stop number (such as f/18-f/22).

As you’ll be using a high f/stop; the size of the aperture will be smaller and therefore, will be letting in less light, which means you’ll need a slower shutter speed, this could make the images blurry so, to avoid this you will need to use a tripod; you don’t need to pay a lot of money for a tripod; as long as it supports your camera and lens comfortably.

Cable release

If you really want to get a sharp landscape image, then use a cable release ( if your camera supports one); just by pressing the shutter button can cause minute vibrations (more so with a telephoto lens) that can cause a blurry image.

Some compacts and bridge cameras allow you to attach a cable release directly to the shutter button, while the remote cable release is used more and more by DSLR users.

Rule of thirds

One of the first things a photographer learns is the ‘rule of thirds'; it’s a guide that is used to help with composition for a balanced photograph.It works like this: when looking through your viewfinder (or LCD screen) draw four imaginary lines; two horizontally, one a third from the bottom and one third from the top, and then another two vertically one third from the left and then one third from the right; where they cross is where you would put your point(s) of interest.

Of course, this is more of a guide than a rule, but it can help someone who’s new to photography to get a more balanced picture.

Horizon

Another tip that you’ll hear a lot and that is keep your horizon straight. Although it may seem obvious, it’s amazing how many people (more so when they’re new to photography) overlook this most basic tip and spoil an otherwise good photograph when it could be easily rectified with a little more thought. Although the most basic image editing software can sort the problem; it’s good practice to get it right when you’re taking the picture.

The storm clouds are the focal point; the swans add foreground interest. (© Anthony Webber)

Foreground interest

Try putting something in the foreground of your  picture; something that will lead the eye into the photograph to create more interest, also, have a focal point, what made you want to shoot the scene in the first place? what caught your eye?. It’s much more pleasing to the viewer of your photographs when there’s a focal point.

 

Awesome shots of  landscapes, selected from Flickr’s creative commons.

Image by Zoutedrop

Image by Hakan Dahlstrom

Landscape in infrared by Irargerich

Another image by Zoutedrop

Snowy landscape by bettybraun

Sandstone slot canyan, AZ.  Awesome! by SteveD

Another great image by SteveD

Image by US Fish and wildlife service, Midwest region.

Aurora Borealis. Brilliant!. Image by Beverly and pack

Lone tree-Mongolian landscape by tiarescott

Grand Canyon by Grand Canyon NPS

Castle Rocks Spring by The Knowles Gallery

Cathedral Peak, Yosemite National Park by SteveD

‘Something for the Weekend’ by Tony.Wood

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Price Disclaimer
Prices are accurate as of less than 12 hours ago. Product prices and availability are subject to change. Any price and availablility information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of any products.

 

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