Landscapes are among the most common photo print themes. They grace the walls of nearly every home and give a stunning view without a window. They offer an opportunity to admire nature or even urban landscapes in the comfort of your own home. Whether you're planning to decorate your space or sell your photo prints, here are 11 tips for photographing landscapes.
There are a lot of elements to consider when taking landscape photos, or any photograph for that matter. Every element has to be just right. That takes some planning. Research about the location. Find out areas that might be worth exploring. Check the weather. Know which direction the sun rises and falls, and at what time. Learn everything you can. And when you get there, spend time scouting for the best view or vantage point. You won't be able to capture everything. So take notes and plan again for your return.
2. Maximize Depth of Field
The normal approach is having as much of your scene in focus. Capture all the details and the grandeur. Of course, you can get creative and experiment with a more narrow depth of field to give the scene more dimension. In any case, be mindful of the amount of light hitting the image sensor. With every change in the aperture setting, compensate by increasing or decreasing the ISO and shutterspeed values.
3. Use a Tripod
The tripod is your reliable partner. It ensures the camera is completely still during exposure so that a well-focused image can be achieved. Consider using a cable or wireless shutter release for reduced vibrations and unnecessary movements. If you find yourself without any of these, set the timer instead.
4. Select a Focal Point
Focal points add interest to your photos. When deciding on a focal point, also consider where to place it in terms of composition. Its placement in relation to the overall scene affects the visual impact and balance of the photo. Having a focal point also helps remove elements that may clutter the scene and cause distraction.
5. Use Foregrounds
Another way to add interest is using foregrounds. They create a sense of depth in the shot and add more dimension. Nature is so vast and rich that rendering it flat in photos is such a depravity of what it offers.
6. Include the Sky
What's life outside the confines of home without the sky? Even a piece of it completes an image. If it's a bit lackluster, capture more of the focal point and foreground. However, if it's dramatically fluffy, let it shine by allowing it to fill more space in the composition. You can always enhance the sky in post-production. Or capture more of its details using a neutral density graduated filter (ND grad filter).
7. Think about Lines and Horizons
The horizon should be straight. That much is a given. As to where it is compositionally is up to you. It really depends on what you want to be included in the frame. Aside from the horizon, there are other lines in nature or cityscapes. Lines give depth, scale, and point of interest. They create patterns and lead viewers into the image. Explore leading lines and vanishing points to give your photos direction and a story.
8. Capture Movement
Most landscape photos are admired for their stillness and serenity. However, they're not always completely still.
Conveying movement in the photos will add drama and mood. Imagine the wind in the fields, waves on a beach, the river flowing, or cars speeding by. These kinds of movement add life and tap the senses other than sight. Viewers are not only enthralled by the elements, but also by the feeling.
9. Work with the Weather
When people think of landscape photos, they immediately think of a sunny day. Although it is an ideal day for photoshoots, there are other opportunities to capture stunning photos. Look for storms, lightning, wind, mist, dramatic clouds and rainbows. These variations in weather provide the same wonder as any other bright sunny day.
10. Work with Time
Time is essential in photography. It determines the temperature, texture, and direction of light. Landscapes come alive around dusk and dawn. How the light hits the scene during these golden hours create interesting patterns and dimensions. You can also try the blue hours. It's when the lights are predominantly blue and violet with hints of red and orange in the sky. On the other hand, photographing at night gives a great opportunity to capture stars and city lights.
11. Change your Point of View
Take time with your shots. Light hits different areas in different ways. So try to explore other vantage points, look for new angles and use other lenses. You may stumble upon unique shots that you might never have expected.
Be sure to translate the grandeur of your landscape photos to your prints. Try canvas prints for the sophisticated look. Metal prints give a stylish appeal with a pop of color. Fine art paper prints offer a traditional feel with a creative twist in framing.