A few quick and simple tips for taking better landscape photographs. If you are into landscape photography, these simple tips may help the next time your out in the field.
- Love It – As the author Kahlil Gibran said in his book The Prophet “Work is Love made visible!” or at least it can be. Just don’t do it if you don’t feel like it, and certainly don’t do it to impress or to get praised especially in the form of cash. Do it because you just absolutely have to, things done in joy, spread joy. The way you feel will be captured in your art and be transmitted to all that look at your work. Remember you are working with light, so keep it light. 😉
- W I D E Angle Lenses – For landscape photography perspective is really important. Wide-angle lenses allow you to capture more of the “whole story” and this helps make the viewer feel like they are there on site witnessing your beautiful scenery. You’ll get stuck less often with not being able to fit “everything – the whole scene” in. Try get something below 24mm.
- Filters – For many reasons a polarising filter is the first filter you should carry in your camera bag. It will help remove glare caused by sunlight on any reflective objects in your scene, next, it will add contrast and works particularly well on hazy days.
- Solid Foundation – I’m sure most of you are aware of this but try get away with not using one, don’t. Using a lightweight and sturdy tripod is absolutely essential in order to obtain great landscape images. Especially when using slow shutter speeds. Go for a well-known quality brand like Manfrotto, they are more expensive but definitely worth every penny. Remember bad equipment you may save on when you buy it but you pay every time you use it. The Manfrotto 322RC2 Grip Action Ball tripod head is legendary, it might be heavier than standard heads but you’ll love how fast you can set up your camera and be ready to shoot, capturing those crucial moments.
[Also consider a cable or remote shutter release mechanism for less camera interference.]
- The Golden Hours – Shoot during the Golden hours, that time shortly before till shortly after sunrise and sunset. This is when you will most often get the most pleasing results, even though it may mean getting up really really early. Remember the “early bird”.
- Horizons are Level – I know that all images, if needed, can be straightened in Photoshop during post-processing but that means you’ll have to crop your image. Sometimes your crop won’t ruin the final results but the one time it does, you’ll … “add own rant”.
- Rule of third’s – Good to be aware of and your camera may have a mode where it will display the thirds but don’t make it an absolute. Use it in most situations but don’t be afraid to experiment and always decide on what you personally feel is best, this will help keep your shots interesting.
- Depth of Field – Having a strong foreground element helps create a sense of depth in what is otherwise a 2 dimensional medium. Strong foregrounds help add perspective and a sense of scale. The simplest way to do this is to choose a small Aperture Setting, a large number, keep in mind that smaller apertures mean less light is hitting your CCD, so you’ll need to compensate by increasing your ISO or slowing your shutter speed, or a combination of both. I’ve heard foreground elements describe as “a way into the photo”.
- Point of View – Take time with your shots, this will allow you to start seeing more of what is in the scene or help in finding a more interesting point of view to shoot from. Look for new angles, changes in height add dramatic effect, which could make the difference in your photo. Try to show people something they have never seen or may remember as a kid when you spent hours looking at things from every imaginable angle. Might be a great time to take up Tai-chi.