Amazing landscape photos can look great anywhere. Whether it’s in a magazine, photo book, on the screen, social media or even as a print, they can “wow” the viewer. But many amateur photographers are disappointed in their landscape photography gallery. Fear not, here are 6 landscape photography tips to help you give your photos more impact.
Before we get to any landscape photography tips…
One of the most common questions that I get asked in regards to landscape photography, is “what is the best camera for landscape photography?”. The answer is that the best camera is the one you have with you. Too often people get hung up on equipment. As long as your camera is capable of taking photos you can take great landscape shots.
Sure, for example, a full-frame camera or full-frame sensor will be able to give you a high resolution in your photos, but if your composition or the light isn’t great, then it wouldn’t matter how good your camera is.
Some more expensive cameras do have one advantage in that they have weather sealing. So they can withstand the elements more. But ultimately the quality of your landscape photos comes down to you.
There’s a foreground and a background
One of the common mistakes that people often make in landscape photography is that they forget about the foreground of their image. This really evident in mountain landscape photography when there are often mountain ranges in the background. An impressive set of mountains looks great in photos, but you need to try to avoid a lot of dead space in the foreground. This is a really common issue in mountain photography.
Try to find points of interested like rivers, rocks, trees or even people to help add something to the foreground. This would also help act as leading lines to help guide the viewer through the image.
Use leading lines
Following on from the tip above, the added advantage of having points of interest in your foreground is that it helps to lead the viewer’s eyes around the image.
For example, if you have a river or a road that leads into the distance or a point of interest, this is called a “leading line”. These lines can be natural or man-made. It also doesn’t necessarily have to be a straight line. It can be carefully composed shots that feature rocks for example.
But leading lines are a really great way to ensure your landscape photos have more impact.
Learn to understand light
By far and away the single most important element of a great landscape photograph is light. Without great light, even the most dramatic scene can look dull and uninteresting.
But great light doesn’t mean beautiful sunshine. There are different kinds of light and you need to learn how they affect a scene and the results they produce. For example an even on a cloudy or stormy day you can take great landscape photos. But they clearly won’t look the same as a shot taken later afternoon during the golden hour in the sunshine.
So if you really want to take your landscape photography to another level, learn and practice photographing in different light conditions.
Try long exposure
One of the great things about landscape photography is that you often have time to really set up and compose your shot. You should also always have a tripod with you. This allows you to be able to capture some really long exposure photographs.
But selecting slower shutter speeds you can get a dramatically different result. For example, water will become smoother. People and even trees or grass will become blurred if there is wind.
But arguably the most dramatic effect will be in the sky. If there is a strong wind above, the movement of the clouds is transformed into streaks which can look stunning in a landscape photo. But how slow you will need to go with your shutter speed will come down to how fast the clouds are moving.
You may need to use filters
Being able to select a slow enough shutter speed may not always be possible. Most of the time when you are for landscape photography you will be photographing in low light conditions. Either early in the morning or late afternoon. But that might still not allow you a slow enough shutter speed for really long exposure photos.
The way to combat this is by using filters. There are a whole array of them these days, but the most important that you should invest in are neutral density filters, graduated neutral density filters and polarizing filters.
Neutral density filters – these help to darken the overall image and so allow you to be able to take photos at slower shutter speeds than might usually be possible.
Graduated neutral density filters – these are dark at one end and slowly fade to clear at the other end. They are ideal when you have a disparity in the brightness of an in the sky vs the foreground.
Polarizing filter – this filter helps reduce reflections on surfaces like water. They also help to make blue and greens more saturated and bright.
Learn how and when to use filters and you will notice how much your landscape photos improve.
Use the information
Every photographer is sure to check their photos on the LCD screen of their camera. But many don’t use all the other information that it provides. From your depth of field (aperture) to even if your highlights or shadows are clipped, the camera LCD screen has a wealth of information. Learn what they are and how to use them for your photography.
Whether you are into fine art landscape photography or want to create images that appear in magazines or newspapers, one thing is for sure, a great landscape photo can give you immense pride and satisfaction. Use these landscape photography tips to help you improve your landscape images.
YouTube – Why not take this opportunity to check out our brand new YouTube channel for tips, advice and some inspiration.
Instagram – Check out our photos on Instagram
Facebook – Join our Facebook group and share your photos and chat with other beginner photographers.
We are pleased to announce that we have recommenced our UK landscape photography workshops in Yorkshire, Cornwall, Glencoe, Dorset, Lake District, Cotswolds or London. Visit our workshops page to find out more.
Kav Dadfar is a writer and travel photographer who has written over 400 articles on photography. He is also a judge on the Wanderlust Travel Photography of the Year competition and a speaker at camera clubs and events. He has years of experience shooting assignments with his images having been used by some of the biggest brands in the world.
This landscape photography tips article and photos is subject to copyright. Words and photos by Kav Dadfar (That Wild Idea). Copying or reposting of photos or article elsewhere is strictly forbidden.