Are you going on a holiday vacation soon and want immortalize your trip? Here are some tips that will help you capture stunning landscape photos.
People are taking more photos than ever before.
In 2017, for example, we took an estimated 1.2 trillion of them!
And that was a few years ago. Given the growing use of smartphones and their incredible cameras these days, it’s safe to presume those numbers have gone up.
Let’s face it, though, there’s still an enormous difference between a pro photo and one you snap on your mobile. After all, if everybody could do what the pros do, then they’d soon be out of a job.
Landscape photos provide a perfect example.
Capturing a landscape in all its glory takes skill and insight into the art of photography. You have to understand composition, light, and exposure, to name but a few.
Thankfully, you can see major improvements with minor adjustments. Are you wondering how to take better landscape snaps to capture your next vacation? We want to help.
Read on for 6 top landscape photography tips!
1. Create Depth with a Small Aperture
The joy of any landscape is that there’s so much beauty on show.
Think of the vistas you find in National Parks around the country. You might have a river winding into the distance, mountains standing on the horizon, and forests skirting the scene.
It would be a shame to miss any of it out in your snaps.
That’s why shooting with a smaller aperture (e.g. from f/16 to f/22) can make sense. In doing so, you keep elements in the foreground, mid-ground, and background all in focus. This creates a wonderful depth of field that captures the landscape in all its glory.
Just remember to keep the camera as steady as possible.
A small aperture allows less light into the lens, which makes the image more susceptible to blurring. That’s why it’s a good idea to use a tripod when shooting landscape shots.
2. Show the Space Using Wide Angle Lenses
Think back to the vista we described in our first point.
A river winding from the foreground into the distance. Mountains towering over the horizon. Pine trees filling the scene on either side. And so on.
Shooting with a low aperture allows a sense of depth to shine through. But what about the width?
It’d be a shame to somehow narrow such stunning vistas. Instead, you want a broad, expansive sense of space to dominate the shot. That’s where using a wide-angle lens comes into play.
They’ll help you capture the open land in front of you, leaving nothing out.
3. Leverage the Golden Hour
Timing makes a difference to your landscape photos too.
Certain times of day just lend themselves to epic snaps. More specifically, the time just before sunset and after sunrise are ideal moments to take some landscape photos.
In the world of photography, they’re literally referred to as the golden hours!
The golden hour casts spectacular, golden light over the scene thanks to the sun being low in the sky. Everything from the warmth this lends to your images to the shadows that create striking shapes makes it prime photography time.
Shooting with just an iPhone? It doesn’t matter. Take your snaps in the golden hour, download photos from iCloud, and you’ll see a major difference.
4. Think About Composition
The composition of any photo is key to its overall quality.
Remember the river/mountain/trees example? Imagine cutting out the river, chopping the tops off the mountains, and getting too many trees in the shot. It wouldn’t do the landscape justice.
There are different rules of thumb to follow when deciding a composition. Or, in other words, there are well-known and widely-used compositions that create a quality snap every time.
The rule of thirds is a great example.
Imagine four lines, two horizontal and two vertical, spaced equidistantly apart, dividing the image into thirds. With this grid laying over the landscape, take photos with the primary subject placed at any of the four points where the lines intersect (or along the lines).
This pushes the subject off-center and makes it a joy to behold.
5. Experiment with Motion
Think about the ebb and flow of the ocean.
Think about the drifting and shifting of clouds in the sky.
Think about the rotation of the earth and the circular ‘movement’ of stars overhead at night.
Landscapes provide a host of different opportunities to play with motion. The result? You take stunning photos full of dynamism and life. The trick to capturing motion is a combination of adjusting the exposure while keeping the camera stationary.
For instance, you could sit the camera on top of the tripod next to a river of white water. With a longer exposure, you’ll capture the rapturous flow of water.
Experiment with shorter and longer exposures to enjoy the novel effects of motion in the natural world.
6. Include People Too
Okay, so this is a post about shooting landscapes!
But you’d be surprised at how the inclusion of a person can really bring your landscape photo to life. Try it out. Find your landscape of choice and play around with different compositions.
A solitary figure in the distance could show the endless expanse of land around them. A tiny person next to a giant waterfall could reveal its true scale and splendor. A happy couple holding hands on the beach could be complement the beauty of the natural world.
Another idea here is to play around the shutter speed. Fast speeds help you catch action shots of rapid movement; slower speeds will reveal the flow of movement.
Time to Take Some Stunning Landscape Photos!
Are you heading on vacation in the near future?
Well, like most people, we’re assuming you’re going to be taking a bunch of photos throughout the trip. And, if you’re in beautiful places, you’ll almost certainly want to capture those vistas with landscapes photos.
Yet mastering landscape photography isn’t easy! Taking quality landscape shots takes practice, skill, and insight. Hopefully, though, the tips in this post will help you do it.
Stay tuned to our blog for more tips and hacks!