Photography is not just about the end result – the photo. It’s about the journey and the story that got you there. Whether it’s a river or a paddy field, capturing a beautiful landscape is a fulfilling and rewarding experience. The hunt for the perfect spot, the wait for the right lighting, battling the weather and other forces that are out of your control; these are just some of the adventures that landscape photography entails. If you are planning your first shoot in the outdoors, here are some landscape photography tips for beginners to remember before you head out and start clicking.
Landscape Photography Tips to Shoot Like a Pro
Here we have listed out the various factors responsible for getting the best scenery photography and how to control the outcome- which is the perfect picture.
Tip #1: Location is Key
The most important part of landscape photography is the landscape. Scout or research for the right location in advance and visit the location at least once before you plan to shoot there. Venturing out without a location in mind is alright, you might stumble across a beautiful landscape, but then again you might be disappointed. It is never a bad idea to be prepared.
Check the weather conditions of the location, so that you bring the appropriate gear and clothing. Even if the most unpredictable storm appears on the site, you still would have checked and brought the right equipment. Don’t let the unexpected change of climate get in your way of taking those beautiful landscapes.
Find the timings for sunrise and sunset, to try shooting in different lighting. You can get an idea about the direction of the sun and you can also look for different vantage points.
Tip #2: Gear and Packing
When you’re out in the open, you won’t always have flat ground to stand on. Whether you’re on a beach or a rocky hill, a tripod can be your best friend during an outdoor shoot. Sometimes you need to wait for that perfect moment before you shoot and holding a camera for this long won’t really be possible.
While shooting in low-light conditions, you’ll be using a large focal ratio and the length of exposure required will be quite long. With a tripod, you can set it up to get the perfect angle and keep it steady for those long exposures.
When it comes to landscape photography tips, using a wide-angle lens is at the top of the list. This will allow you to capture more of your landscape and would be recommended by any landscape photographer you met.
However, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to focus more on something, in particular, you don’t always have to use a wide-angle lens. You can try out shooting with a longer lens to capture distant details. A great type of longer lens is the telephoto lens.
A telephoto lens has a focal range of 100mm and above.This means that they allow you to zoom in on your scenery effortlessly. They are especially helpful when you find a part of the landscape that you want to focus on.
Read more about lenses from our article 3 Lenses for a Beginner’s Photography Kit .
A couple of basic filters that you can carry with you for an outdoor shoot are a Circular Polarizer (to help ease reflections) and a Neutral Density Filter (to block out some light from the camera’s sensor which will slow down the exposure). Neutral-density filters are designed to reduce the amount of light that can enter the lens, which means you can use slower shutter speeds than you would normally.
Batteries and Media Cards
Another important landscape photography tip and applies to every photo situation. It never hurts to carry spare batteries and a memory card. You would be most thankful for this tip, in the situation that your battery dies mid-masterpiece.
Pack all the equipment with care as you might be walking or climbing and moving your bag around.
Tip #3: Ideas and Inspiration
Preparing and being on location is different. The weather and other conditions might not be good for you. It’s important to stay motivated through it all. Look at other pictures for ideas and try to envision what you want to achieve. Some of the best photographs have come out of weather disasters, just stay inspired to keep finding new angles and objects to focus on.
Discovering new viewpoints can be exciting, you get the chance to explore and find new inspiration. The same landscape with a different focal point or angle can look entirely new and highlight different aspects of the same scene. Make sure to go around your site properly to pick out the best shooting spots.
Tip #4: On Site
When you actually arrive on the field a lot of elements can change, using your skills and these landscape photography tips you can get the best shots in every circumstance.
Increase your Depth of Field
In landscape photography, unless you are focusing on a specific element, you want to ensure that most of your view is captured and in focus in the photo. To achieve this effect, you should opt for a small aperture and increase the light. The smaller the aperture, the greater the depth of field and the more clear the landscape comes out. The depth of field landscape photography is vital to developing a clear and wide shot of the scenery.
Rule of Thirds
With this great trick, you have to split the frame of the scene which you want to shoot, into nine sections. The lines that make up these sections are two horizontal and two vertical. Your main focus of the image should be positioned on either of the four points where the lines intersect. According to this rule, you will end up with a more attractive and interesting photo.
Trying to find symmetry in the scenery you are shooting can bring out the harmony in the image, making it more aesthetically pleasing. Reflections in a water body provide a good photo with symmetrical proportions.
Create a Starburst
This is one of the great landscape photography tips to give your photo an edge and create a bit of magic. To try out this technique, you can use the sun’s rays or any light source you find radiating towards you. Find a position where the sun is peeking behind something and is partially obstructed from view. Then set the aperture of the camera to f/16 and shoot the picture. The end result is a glowing orb that creates a stunning focal point.
Tip #5: Observe and Don’t Rush
When you reach your location, take time to observe the scene and plan your shots. It is better to get there much earlier so that you don’t miss out on good light. Don’t stick to one spot – move around and play with the settings to get different pictures of different scenes.
Even if your time is up and the sun is gone, you can always revisit the spot. Those mountains aren’t going anywhere. You might even find new things to focus on the next time around. That is the magic of landscape photography, you can always find new shots if you keep looking and stay motivated. Change in seasons and natural light are what makes landscape photography so unique, they’re constantly adapting and transforming the scenery.
Tip #6: Play Around
These landscape photography tips try to achieve different effects on the landscape photo and are for more experimental shots. Remember these settings for landscape photography as they might come in handy when shooting.
Automatic Exposure Bracketing : AEB lets your camera take three or more shots at different exposures. This gives you more images (of the same scene) to choose from.
Polarize Light : By using a polarizing filter, deepen the color of the sky and increase certain color saturations to get versatile shots.
Stretch Time : Use the ND filter and slow down the shutter speed. This can blur out water and clouds.
Recommended Settings : Use a smaller aperture (f/22) while shooting during the day. This will cut down the light allowed in and give you sharper images. Experiment with the shutter speed. If you’re capturing stop water or the sky – try 1/500th of a second and for people – around 1/50th of a second.
To begin with, you’ll be unsure of the depth and apertures. That’s okay – take many shots at different apertures. This will serve as a good learning lesson as well.
Go Monochrome: By shooting in black and white mode, you may be able to extract highly contrasted and dramatic images out of the scenery. Adjusting the shutter speed can control the lighting, and shooting in HDR mode can exaggerate the contrast and edges of the scene.
Tip #7: Quality Over Quantity
What can you do to avoid continuously clicking and ending up with multiple copies of the same shot? Our landscape photography tips tell you to play with settings and angles to get a variety of images. Spend time on each shot instead of relying on post processing. If you start out that way – you might just get lazy and take sloppy pictures, expecting to clear them up later. Spend more time getting the picture right than on correcting it later.
Tip #8: Adapt
Shooting outside means you won’t have too much control over the weather conditions. However, don’t let it discourage you. Even if you were planning for a sunny day and you see dark clouds approaching, start shooting and you’ll be surprised with the colors and textures that you can capture.
Tip #9: Movement
Landscape photography doesn’t have to be shots of calm environments. You can capture clouds moving, water crashing against rocks or even wind blowing through a forest. This simply means that you’ll have to set longer shutter speeds (more than a second). To limit the light that hits your sensor, go for a smaller aperture or use a filter.
Landscape photography brings together the art of photography and the beauty of nature. Once you start, there’s no going back. It’s easy to fall in love with nature photography simply because of the feeling of being in the great outdoors.
Soon, you won’t mind spending hours just to get that one perfect shot. This type of photography requires patience, passion, experience, and skill. You can develop it by trying these landscape photography tips and spending more time out in the open.
Let Abhishek Deopurkar tell you about Connecting with Nature Through Landscape Photography.