Landscape Photography Tips

Landscape photography tips to inspire you to get out of the city, away from the crowds and back into nature.

Don't forget to pack a tripod, even if it is only a small, table-top tripod - it could make or break your shot. You can balance it on a rock or a fence and use the timer or a wireless release.

Another light-weight item which can make a huge difference to landscape shots is a polarizing filter. If the sky is blue and has just a few clouds, a polarizing filter can really add drama to your shot. And it weighs next to nothing.

Landscape Photography Tips 1: Find a Bridge

In most towns and cities it is easy to find a bridge and the combination of interesting shapes and flowing water can be harnessed creatively as you can see in the shot below. Just wait for the right light, often at sunset.

There is no camera data available for the fabulous shot of the Forth Rail Bridge but clearly the photographer has used a slow shutter speed to give that dreamy look to the water. The evening light and the soft water work perfectly together. Even a small bridge can be the subject of terrific shots if you 'slow' the water down to a standstill. Experiment with slow shutter speeds until you get it right.

photo of the forth road rail bridge

Above: A late night view of the Forth Rail Bridge (Scotland) from the shore of South Queensferry by George Gastin

Landscape Photography Tips 2: Use the Shadows

During the late afternoon, shadows are long but too often we don't see them properly. It is an interesting experiment to make the shadows the main focus of your shot.

The image below was taken with a 70 mm focal length lens which gives a certain amount of compression to the view. The photographer used an f/9 aperture which is sufficiently small to give depth all the way through the picture.

the use of shadows as the subject of a photo - park at bercy

Above: Perspective in the Park at Bercy by Roman Bonnefoy

Landscape Photography Tips 3: Photograph Harbour Lights

Are you going on holiday? Will you be staying near a port? Try out some digital night photography around the harbour area just after the sun has set. Because the harbour area is protected, the water will be quite flat and you can get some beautiful reflections, balanced by the last hint of day-light. Up the ISO to 800. Any higher and you may have too much digital noise.

black and white night shot of a harbour - photo taken at port basin, switzerland

Above: Sunset Over the Port Basin, Switzerland by Simon Bohnenblust

Take a tripod, even a small one in your pocket will allow you to set up your camera on a wall near the water's edge. Shoot in colour and convert to black and white afterwards. Click the link to read my black and white photography tips and why you should shoot in color and convert afterwards in Photoshop.

Landscape Photography Tips 4: Don't be Afraid of the Cold

In winter, land shapes are often simplified and the results can be quite beautiful if you get your composition right. There are usually fewer people about to ruin your perfect composition. And if it has been snowing, so much the better as even less detail will be evident.

So don't rush, even though it is cold. Try out lots of different angles until it clicks and you feel sure that you have found a balance in the framing. Try to create a picture you will still want to look at in years to come.

landscape photo of snow - il polluce in the alps

Above: Il Polluce - Alpi Pennine by Nostromo-io

Landscape Photography Tips 5: Get on Your Camel

How are your camel riding skills? Personally, camels terrify me but I do love the desert. If you are on holiday near a desert don't pass up the opportunity to take a (guided) tour. When I was in Egypt we went to the Valley of the Kings on donkeys but I'm sure camels are adequate to the task! 

So much light is reflected from the sand, even towards the end of the day, that you will need a fast-ish shutter speed. The  image below was shot at 1/320 second. ISO was 64, low enough to bring out the detail of those millions of grains of sand.

photo of the desert - valle de la luna in chile

Above: Valle de la Luna, Chile by Roman Bonnefoy

Landscape Photography Tips 6: More Desert

The lovely desert shot below was captured with a Canon 20d at f/6.3 which gives sufficient depth-of-field to have most of the scene  in focus but the far distance is slightly out creating a greater sensation of distance which is enhanced by the haze towards the horizon. A UV filter will help to keep the amount of haze down.

photo of beautiful desert sand - sunrise over the libyan desert

Above: Libya Desert Sunrise  by Howard Banwell

Follow the link to read Landscape Photography Tips 2 or if you would like to read my articles on some famous landscape photographers, follow the links below:

Carleton Watkins

Ansel Adams and William Henry Jackson

Fay Godwin

Ansel Adams Biography

Ansel Adams Photos & the Zone System

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