How to Become a Great Landscape Photographer

Landscapes are one of the most appealing areas of photography and with so many beautiful scenery it’s easy to figure out why. You may want to escape from the city for one day and taking the camera with you seems natural. You will probably come home with some nice photos from, but how you transform them into really inspiring pictures?

The first thing to keep in mind is that good lighting is essential. You usually need sunlight to take a good landscape photo, but harsh light should be avoided. When the sun is high above the sky, the light is too strong and colors and details are lost because there is too much contrast. The best times to take photos are early in the morning or in late afternoon. On a sunny summer day you should avoid the 9am to 4pm period, which is almost all day. In other seasons you have more hours to take photos because the sun is lower. If the sun is low on the sky the objects have longer shadows, which reveals their shape, giving a three dimensional feel to the picture. This will make for much more inspiring photos compared to those taken with the sun up, which appear more flat.

You will generally want to capture a wide area of the landscape. You need to use a wide angle lens or choose the widest setting for your zoom. This way you can fill up more of the frame. It will also distort perspective by bringing close objects even closer and distant ones looking farther away. However, you shouldn’t always use wide angle. Sometimes the scene provides you with the opportunity to zoom in to a certain object. For example, if you are above a small town looking at some nice roof tops with a church in the middle spiring above trees, you can zoom in to capture the most interesting area.

Viewpoint and composition also play significant parts. Creating depth will make your photo much more interesting. A good way to do this is by finding a focal point, such as a bridge, stream, tree or boulder. Think about how the image will look like from different heights. Don’t just take all the photos from your head height. Include interesting objects and look for streams or footpaths to draw the viewer’s eye into the picture. Diagonal lines generally have the best effect.

Color can make a big difference in a photo. Look for colors such as bright flowers, a hillside covered with trees or a stone wall with green moss. A red phone box may even be interesting if it fits in the surroundings. Finding bright colors may be more difficult during winter. You can take photos early in the morning when it is very cold and frosty areas are in shadow, creating a cool blue shade which can look beautiful.

There are also some accessories you can invest in to help create better landscape photos. A monopod or tripod will make for sharper images and slow you down, allowing you to focus on the composition. Filters can also have good effects. A polarizing filter will improve those photos taken during midday, increasing saturation. Graduated filters are very popular as they can darken the sky and thus reduce the contrast.

Pre-scanning the area is also very useful. When you arrive somewhere, walk or drive around the area to see where the good photo opportunities are. If there’s too much sun you can return at a better time. Also bear in mind that a totally dull landscape during summer can become a beautiful scenery in autumn colors. The best way to learn is through experience and the more time you spend shooting the more chances you have to get some very rewarding pictures.


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