Tips for Landscape Photography

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What a beautiful world we live in! Aren’t we lucky to now live in a world where we can photograph and share the wondrous vistas of the nature that surrounds us? Landscape photography is an aspect of many photographers’ portfolios and a huge part of what we generally think about doing whenever we pick up a camera, or travel to beautiful places.

Here are some tips (beginning and advanced) to make you a better landscape photographer.

Beginner Tips

Location, Location, Location—Find the best spot. Landscape photography is all about location, so get off the beaten path, venture into the unknown, and find the vista that makes you want to take a photograph.

Different Perspective—Choose the right lens. Landscape lenses are usually wide-angle lenses—however, you can also use normal and telephoto lenses to create a more focused perspective or panoramic images.

Time of Day—Planning is key. You always want to capture good light; the most photogenic light occurs around sunrise and sunset. Arriving extra early to your destination is always a good practice.

Stability—Use a tripod. Tripods are multi-purpose. They enable you to more carefully compose your shot, get sharper images, and allow for increased exposure times.

Panorama Mode—Try Panorama Mode. This mode lets you capture extreme wide-field photographs (up to 360°) in-camera. The mode can also come in handy when shooting in tight spaces.

Weather—Know the weather. When possible, check the weather ahead of time and plan the day’s timeline accordingly. Be safe when conditions are less than perfect. Use the weather to help your photographs.

Camera Supports—Use alternative supports. There are many small, lightweight devices for positioning cameras on small outcrops, rocks, or other surfaces that are not extremely friendly to full-size tripods.

Be Safe­—Safety first. Regardless of where you are taking your landscape photo, be it a National Park or urban setting, always be smart and protect yourself and your gear.

Pro Tips

Filters—Use filters that can improve landscape photography. Polarizing filters reduce glare and intensify skies; graduated neutral density filters balance differences between uneven foreground and background exposure values.

Reflections—Look for reflections in water that add an extra element of depth to scenic photographs. Depending on the stillness of the water, the symmetry of the subject and its mirrored reflection can make for a powerful composition.

Foregrounds and Backgrounds—Be conscious of your scene. When photographing landscapes, make sure you include a dominant visual element in the foreground or background. This can include large rocks or trees, flowing or still water, billowing clouds, a structure, or the moon.

Pre-Scout Location—Preparation makes perfection. If you’ve traveled a long distance or woken up at 3:00 a.m. to get the picture, it’s a good idea to scout the area you want to photograph, establish a good camera position, and finalize your game plan in advance.

Dynamic Range—Conquer extreme lighting scenarios with graduated neutral density filters. The eye can see, in one scene, bright regions and dark shadows, but the camera needs help.

Foliage—Use a polarizer to make foliage colors pop. Not only does a polarizer make for deep blue skies, it can also reduce glare and bring out rich colors.

Water Movement—Freeze water with fast shutter speeds, or show flow with a longer shutter speed. Change your settings as you shoot to get the perfect aesthetic.

Leading Lines—Use lines to draw the viewer into the frame. Lines appear in every photograph and they are traffic directors for your eyes. Use them to show depth and create dramatic compositions.

What tips do you have for landscape photography?

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