When you’re surrounded by so much outdoor beauty, photographing landscapes could seem easy. It takes more than just bringing out your camera and taking a few pictures to truly produce a fantastic picture you want to share with friends or post on your wall.
Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of photography, you can do several things to increase your chances of taking a shareable landscape snap. Here are seven suggestions to assist you in taking better landscape photos.
1. Select a Mid-Range Aperture
Getting an incredibly crisp, clear image is one of the objectives while photographing landscape photos. Your choice of exposure settings, beginning with the aperture, impacts this. It’s recommended to shoot with an f-stop value that is two to three stops higher than the lowest feasible (a mid-range aperture, like f/8, typically works well) in order to achieve the sharpest, clearest image possible. A small loss in clarity might result from using an aperture that is too far toward the either extreme of the range, such as f/2.8 or f/22.
To obtain a certain artistic impression, you might wish to experiment with the aperture if your landscape photograph has visual components in the foreground, midground, and background. For instance, you should select a large aperture, such as f/11 or f/16, to generate a high depth of field where objects in the front and background are in focus. Alternatively, you may set your aperture to a low value, like f/2.8, for a shallow depth of field if you want to purposefully blur anything in the front of the picture.
2. Choose a Low ISO
Setting the ISO as low as you can while still being able to shoot with the aperture and shutter speed that suit your needs is another technique to ensure the greatest image quality. By doing this, you can prevent the image from becoming grainy, which can occur at higher ISO levels. For this, an ISO in the 100–400 range often works nicely. Remember, though, that you don’t want to lose your opportunity because you’re set on using a low ISO to retain image quality. Increase the ISO if necessary to employ a certain aperture and/or shutter speed.
3. Use a Tripod if You Need One
Selecting a shutter speed may be as easy as choosing the one that will result in the right exposure once your ISO and aperture are adjusted. When choosing the aperture, set your camera to aperture priority mode so that it will automatically determine the shutter speed that will produce the optimal exposure. However, if your shutter speed drops too low, you might require a tripod to avoid camera shaking blur. Look at your lens’s focal length to determine the lowest acceptable handheld shutter speed, then utilize a tripod for any shutter speeds less than the reciprocal of that value. At instance, if your lens has a 50mm focal length, you might be able to shoot at 1/50 of a second without handshake blurring, but at shutter speeds shorter than that, you should use a tripod.
4. Shoot During the Golden Hour
Of course, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other periods of the day when you can capture landscape photos. In the middle of the day, when the sun is high in the sky, the light will probably be harsh and glaring, which doesn’t always result in the prettiest photographs. Find techniques to lessen the light in these circumstances. Try to wait for a cloud to obscure the sun if there are any in the sky so the light will be a little softer. Alternatively, you may try setting up behind a tree or divert your focus from the expansive view and try taking pictures of things that are closer to you, like the tree leaves.
5. Use a Polarizing Filter
Many landscape photographers use polarizing filters to improve colour and contrast and lessen glare in their pictures. Polarizing filters can be very helpful for photographing landscapes with reflections in the water, sky, or rich colours. For instance, you may enhance the sky’s vivid blue using a polarizing filter or lessen the glare from water on rocks.
Most polarizing filters attach to the end of the camera lens by a screw, and the amount of polarization may be adjusted by manual rotation. The filter’s ability to prevent scratches and other damage to your lens glass is an extra benefit.
A polarizing filter can’t be attached to a point-and-shoot camera or a smartphone. To get a similar effect, you may try putting up a pair of polarized sunglasses in front of your lens.
6. Compose a Good Landscape Photo
Trees, clouds, mountains, and people are all arranged in a well-composed landscape photograph so that they draw the viewer in, tell a narrative, or arouse particular emotions. Here are some suggestions for enhancing the composition of your landscape images:
Use the Rule of Thirds
It’s simple to make an image that is both balanced and visually appealing by using the rule of thirds. Simply divide your image into thirds on both the vertical and horizontal axes using fictitious gridlines, then place your subject(s) either along the lines or at the junction of two lines. In order to assist you in creating photographs that follow the rule of thirds, many cameras let you view a real grid in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen.
When photographing a sunrise, for instance, change your frame so that the horizon is in the bottom or top third of the image rather than in the middle. Additionally, try setting the place with the highest colour or brightness off to the right or left third.
Make Use of Leading Lines
Using lines in your photographs is a great method to focus the viewer’s attention on your primary topic and give the picture a sensation of motion. Think about how you may utilize elements like trees, trails, clouds, or cliff lines to direct the viewer’s attention across the image while you’re taking a landscape photograph, for instance.
Change Your Point of View
Sometimes your images will start to feel the same if you take them all from the same point of view. Try standing or lying down to offer a different perspective to your photographs, or find a method to reach higher (can you trek up a local hill or securely climb a tree?).
7. Preparation Tips for Taking Great Landscape Photos
Know Your Camera
Regardless of whether you’re using a DSLR, a smartphone, or a point-and-shoot camera, you need to be familiar with your gear before you head out. Investigate your camera’s features at home for a while. Understand how to change shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.
Use the Landscape Auto Scene
Look for a preset landscape setting on your camera and utilize it if you can’t modify shutter speed, aperture, or ISO. With this auto option, the shutter speed and aperture will be suitably adjusted, and the camera will be optimized to capture the rich colours in your photograph.
Research the Location
You should look up information on your destination online before leaving, especially if it’s somewhere you’ve never been before. Seek for details regarding scenic spots and great vantage points. To obtain an idea of the landscape, you may even use Google Street View. With this knowledge in hand, you may visualize what your ideal landscape photograph would look like and plan accordingly.
Scout Your Location
Planning ahead and researching your area can help you acquire the best possible photo. You’ll have a much better understanding of where you need to be and when you need to be there to obtain the photo if you’re able to visit the location several times in varied lighting situations. But there are times when you’ll be out hiking and realize you’d like to take some photos of the scenery. If this is the case, you should still plan to arrive at your shooting location with plenty of time to spare. This may include leaving the lodge an hour early to hike to a ridgetop or alpine lake in time for the golden hour. You may use this additional time to plan out the specifics of your shot, such as where to stand, how to adjust your camera, and what elements (such as people, trees, and rocks) you want to incorporate.