In the digital camera world, landscape photography is one of the most popular subjects. There is just something about going out in the nature with the challenge of capturing the awe-inspiring beauty that you see around you. Everyone has had the experience of driving through a beautiful landscape, stopping at every picturesque scene you see and taking a photograph to capture its beauty. However, when you get home and look at the pictures, they fail to convey the same beauty that you saw. Although all the interesting elements are still there, the feeling is just gone.
This happens because when you look at a landscape, your eyes tend to selectively focus only on the rich details that will appeal to your senses. Although your field of vision covers a huge area of the scene, your brain and eyes have the ability of focusing on only the alluring elements. Film or sensors and lenses don’t have this ability. They need help.
Here are some landscape photography tips that will help you capture better landscape photographs.
Landscape Photography Techniques
You will have to do a bit of research before embarking on a photographic journey. There are a number of places you can go to take photographs. Research where you want to go and map out the route you will take. Be sure to take a map, compass, mobile phone and some sort of protective gear according to the location you are going to.
Be ready to invest some time
Time is the most significant investment that you have to make in order to capture a good landscape photograph. Take time to scout the area – hike or drive to different locations and find different vantage points. Explore the location to get its sense and know what makes it unique. It will take some patience and time to discover the best way to present the uniqueness of each landscape.
Visualize your photograph
Form a mental image of how you would like to portray a landscape just like a painter would visualize before creating something on a canvas. After making a mental image, think about the best composition, light and time of the day that will help you make your visualization a reality. This can take some practice since you will not only have to look at where the light will be falling, but also where the light will not be falling in order to ensure your photograph comes out exactly as you had visualized.
Change your perspective
Once you have captured the image you had visualized, try something different. Use some other object as the foreground, make your way to the middle of the stream, climb onto a tree, or use a different shutter speed or lens. Experiment with your gear and the subject and you could end up with a truly unique photograph.
Maximize your depth of field
For most scenes, you will want to keep everything sharp. The simplest way to achieve this is by using a small aperture setting as the smaller the aperture setting, the greater the depth of field. However, using a small aperture setting means that less light will be able to hit the image sensor, so you will have to compensate by either using a slower shutter speed or increasing the ISO.
Keep a tripod handy
Using slower shutter speeds brings the risk of camera shake ruining your shots. Therefore, you will have to make sure that your camera is absolutely still during the exposure. The best way to do so is by mounting it on a tripod. When using a tripod, ensure its locks are tightened to prevent slippage. You could also hang a weight like your camera bag on the tripod to provide more support. You can also consider using a cable release and mirror lock-up mode for extra camera stillness.
Make the foreground interesting
When you look at a landscape, your eyes tend to view only the appealing areas and ignore the uninteresting ones. However, dull and featureless foregrounds can serve as a barrier in a photograph, making the viewer feel as if they are far away from the point of interest. To rectify this situation, simply place something of interest in the foreground. This could be, for instance, some shells, boulders or flowers. When you do this, you lead the viewer into the image as well as create a sense of depth.
When people think of landscapes, they usually think of passive, serene and calm environments. However, landscapes are never completely still. You can show movement by capturing a waterfall, wind blowing through trees, moving clouds, birds flying in the air and waves on the beach. By capturing this movement, you will be able to add great interest to your photograph. Capturing this movement usually means using slower shutter speeds, so you will have to decrease the amount of light entering the camera by using a filter, small aperture setting, or shoot at sunrise or sunset.
By following these photography tips, you will be able to capture great landscape photographs like the ones shown below.