Insights

My thoughts on digital design.

Landscape photography

The possibilities for landscape photography are endless. Good photography techniques will enable you to capture stunning shots in the surrounding landscapes and environment. A little knowledge and willingness to learn can turn you into a pro landscape photographer in no time. Here are some useful tips for landscape photography to get you started taking amazing landscape shots.

Methodology

To photograph landscapes well, be ready to walk to various spots and patiently wait for the right lighting to fall on your scene. Don’t miss out on the early hours of the morning as this is the best time to capture amazing tones in your images. The early hours are also great if you want to achieve a crisp effect with blue hues. At noon, you will be shooting with hard harsh light that tends to produce photos with shadows. For the most flattering light, shoot near sunset or sunrise.

Take some time to examine the sun, your source of natural light. When you shoot at noon or later in the day, you will be able to capture various softer colors, warmer tones with yellows and reds, and light effects from the diffused light you work in. Shooting at this time will also provide you with more natural colors because the light tends to be distributed evenly. You are also able to take away some of the harsh details and definition in neutral colors.

Landscape photography requires sharp detail that can be achieved through slow shutter speeds and small apertures. One important rule in landscape photography is to ensure that most of the scene is in focus. An easy way to do this is by choosing a small aperture setting with a large number, as this will provide your shots with a greater depth of field. Think carefully about the foreground of your shot and place the points of interest in them. This will provide those viewing the photograph with a way into your image, while also providing the image itself with a sense of depth.

Every good shot will have a focal point. A landscape photograph without a focal point will end up looking rather empty and leave your viewer’s eye wandering through the image without a place to rest, which forces them to move on fast. For your focal point, you could have a building or structure, a boulder, striking tree, silhouette or rock formation. Apply the rule of thirds to properly position your focal point. Also follow the simple rule of composition and include a foreground, background and middle ground in your image.

Shooting Style

The sky is an important consideration in landscape photography. To avoid ending up with a boring shot, make sure that you have either a dominant foreground or sky. Ensure that your foreground is interesting and do not allow a bland, boring sky to dominate your shot. However, if the sky is filled with dramatic cloud formations and interesting colors, allow it to stand out by placing the horizon lower down. You may also enhance your skies during post production or by using filters that add contrast and color to your shot. Try to shoot in inclement weather as the most atmospheric photos tend to be captured during weather that is stormy, unpredictable and changeable.

A great way to lead the eye of your viewer is by providing them with lines that lead into the image. Lines provide your image with depth, scale and can also serve as a point of interest by creating patterns in your photograph. Capturing movement in your landscape shot can help add drama, mood and create a point of interest. Good examples of these include waves on the beach, wind in the trees, as well as flowing water over a waterfall. Big vistas tend to lose their impact upon compression into a small photograph. The best way to assist a viewer in appreciating the size of the scenery is by including a secondary subject that provides a sense of scale.

Warm up your tones to avoid shots that end up with a cool, clammy effect. For instance, when shooting a sunny landscape, try changing your white balance setting to cloudy from the default auto. This will increase the yellows and reds in your image, thereby providing you with a warm, rich picture. The sun tends to put on a spectacular show during sunrise and sunset. The dawn sky may experience an amazing display of transformative colors just before the appearance of the sun. When the sun breaks on the horizon, sunlight bathes the landscapes with contrasts of long, deep shadows.

Equipment

Any camera can help you take a shot for sharing on Facebook. But to take your landscape photography to the next level, you will need a camera that enables you to get off Auto and begin shooting in Aperture Priority. Shooting in aperture priority will allow you to select the right focal ratio for your scene, which is vital for making a great landscape photo. The lens is one of the most important pieces of camera equipment that allows the proper capture of a scene. The most versatile lens for landscape photography is the wide angle lens.

It is important to use a tripod when taking landscape shots as this helps to ensure that your camera remains completely still during exposure. Remember that because you will be using a small aperture, you will have a longer shutter speed which requires complete stillness. For added stillness of your camera, you should consider using a cable or wireless mechanism for shutter release.

To add some punch to your landscape and general outdoor photography, use a polarizing filter. The polarizing filter helps you to reduce glare and unwanted reflections so as to provide you with a richer shot that has more saturated colors, especially when shooting the sky. For the best effect, position yourself such that the sun is either over your left or right shoulder. Avoid being at a 90 degree angle with the sun as this is when the polarizing effect becomes strongest.

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