10 quick landscape photography tips

10 quick landscape photography tips

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10 quick landscape photography tips

Landscape photography can be an enjoyable art, and with some practice, anybody can pick up the skills and create stunning images.

In this article, we will cover some useful tips to help you produce quality images of all kinds of landscape subjects. We will go over composition, lighting, digital photography tricks, RAW vs JPEG, sensor type, and many other useful topics to help you create the best landscape images you can.

Without a doubt, the most effective way to learn anything in photography is by learning from your own mistakes.

Use the “less is more” technique to create balance

In a landscape image, you will often need to make sure the foreground, mid-ground, and background are all in balance. This often means putting the main subject in the foreground, with the background at least two steps behind.

The first tip here is that this all has to be done without leaving gaps or holes in the foreground. In the following image, the hiker has used landscape photography to capture some great views and is posing well. However, there is too much distance between him and the front of the image, and there are no obstructions in the distance. The result is that the distant horizon is huge and distracting from the main subject.

To correct this, the photographer must first decide where to place the horizon on the frame. Many people place it in the middle, but we find this can lead to a lack of focal length. To fix this, the photographer will have to either change focal length (using a longer lens) or find a different horizon line in the distance (by adding or removing one or more objects in the background).

Sketch it out before you shoot

Before you begin shooting, it is a good idea to sketch out your photo, or at least decide where the main subjects are located on the frame. Once you have the main subjects in mind, it is easy to start thinking about how you will shoot the images.

Most landscape photographers start with one single subject, and develop the image in post-production, so they need to determine the scene as quickly as possible. Most of us work best in short spurts and don’t have the patience to work in the studio, so we have to find ways to get the subject into our frames as quickly as possible.

The best way to do this is to sketch the scene before you shoot. Most landscape photography is best done with a good telephoto lens, or with a long focal length lens and high shutter speed.

Unfortunately, the longer the lens, the slower the camera is, and the more difficult it is to capture the subject on a busy landscape. A telephoto lens will often stop the shutter so fast you will need the fastest shutter speed available in order to capture the subject. The faster shutter speed will produce a slow shutter noise that may disturb the subject and change the natural movements.

If the subject is moving, this can prove problematic as it will create a trail of lines (we will discuss this in detail later). But, the good news is that the shutter speed and focal length are not the only variables that need to be considered.

In the following image, you can see the subject has chosen a viewpoint that will hide the trail of lines. However, the subject is in front of a very high and tall tree. If the tree moves in the wind, the lines may be thrown into the scene and show as distracting shadows.

Another way to avoid the trail of lines in an image is to use the rule of thirds. This technique works very well when shooting landscape photography, but can also be applied to all types of photography.

How to use the rule of thirds

How to use the rule of thirds

Each scene is broken up into nine sections, each of which is the length of your lens divided by three. The rule of thirds is a very useful tool for any type of photography, but in landscape photography it is very useful.

Simply put, when shooting landscape photography, it is usually best to shoot the center of your scene (like the picture above) as the camera is shooting, and then consider the other eight areas. You can also consider the placement of the horizon, which is just a few feet in front of the subject. You will notice the center and horizon overlap in your photographs.