Tips On Capturing Stunning Landscape Photographs
In All The Seasons
Even taking the same picture at different times of the year will
result in vastly different pictures. What might look drab in winter
could come into life in spring. Don’t be afraid to keep trying!
How Light Works
Many people say that this is an area of photography that cannot
be taught, although the more you practice the better at it you’ll
become. For me, good lighting is the most important part of photography
– it can turn an average picture into a great picture. That
isn’t to say that a photograph always requires brilliant sunlight,
some of my best images were taken in overcast days, but different
lighting conditions suite different scenes. In landscape photography,
light is usually out of your control, but if you visit a great location
and the light is not quite right, don’t be afraid to keep
going back until it is.
Using People In You Images
Sometimes this can add huge amounts of information to an image,
be it scale, depth, or just a bit of life.
The Benefits Of Digital Capture
Digital photography enables you to, not only take hundreds of pictures
without the expense of film, but scrutinise the results instantly.
If a pictures isn’t quite right the first time round, continue
to photograph the scene until it is, without moving from the spot.
The important rule here is to get it as close to perfect in-camera.
Too many photographers rely on post production to salvage poorly
and lazily taken photographs. It’s much quicker and more rewarding
to get it right first time.
Keep trying new techniques and don’t be afraid to experiment.
If you find yourself a winning formula, that’s great, but
keep pushing yourself to explore and develop it.
Be Afraid To Get Up Early
None of us like doing it but, unfortunately, the best images and
best light usually require an early start. When working out what
time to set the alarm, research the time of sunrise, plan how long
it will take to get to your destination and, importantly, leave
plenty of time to get set up and in position.
For The Highlights
Correct metering has always been important but for drama during
strong sunlight, exposing for the highlight areas is a must. If
your camera has a spot metering function, use it to take a reading
from a bright area of the scene. It is always easer on the eye to
view darker images with a small amount of highlight detail than
bright, overexposed pictures which are simply bleached out.
Working With Other Photographers
Having another photographer with you will often motivate you to
keep going when, perhaps, you would otherwise turn round and go
home. I have always found getting up for the pre-dawn shoots are
much easer when I know staying in bed will be letting down another
person – as well as myself.
The Third Dimension
Try to create photographs with a more three-dimensional feel. Get
close to a foreground subject with a wide angle lens to add real
impact to the shot.
The best depth of field is gained by using small apertures in the
lens. Unfortunately this results in slow shutter speeds which can
create camera shake. The trade off between depth of field and shutter
speed is a common one but can be overcome by using a tripod. Don’t
however be fooled into using the smallest possible aperture just
because you have a tripod available. The best results from any lens
are between f/8 and f/11.
Local As Well As National
Research photogenic sites which are local to you and set yourself
challenges to capture great pictures of them. It is not always necessary
to travel to distant countries to find great landscapes. Remember,
half way across the world for you is still on the doorstep for somebody
Great landscape images can be had with just moonlight or starlight.
It is also possible, and very effective, to balance flash with the
ambient light to highlight a foreground subject. Experiment with
different shutter speeds but be prepared for long exposures.
One thing landscape photographers need to be able to do is lots
walking, and more often than not, in pretty tough terrain. Whilst
many good photographs can be captured from the roadside, usually
better vantage points can be achieved by getting off the beaten
For Design In A Landscape
Sometimes less is most definitely more. Design to an image in the
way of a collection of lines, shapes or colours really adds drama
without always adding clutter. I often find that abstract images
with interesting colours are more interesting than the subject.
There are hundreds of different filters on the market, all offer
many different effects from the subtle to the sublime. Two which
I never leave home without are the ‘graduated grey’
and the ‘poloriser’. The grad grey allows us to reduce
the light intensity of one part (usually half) of the image. Perfect
for photographing landscapes with an amount of sky. The poloriser
cuts through reflections, great for photographing water, but more
importantly increases colour saturation and intensity to a scene.
This is largely used to darken blue skies whilst giving them a rich
The Right Clothing
Whilst this sounds obvious, it is very important. Check the weather
forecast before leaving home and, if they say it will rain, take
the waterproofs. Likewise, for bitterly cold conditions, use sensible
gloves which will keep your hands warm whist still allowing you
to operate the camera.
Courtesy To Other Photographers
If I arrive at a location first, I’ll get set up where I want
to. However, if somebody is there before me, I’ll show some
courtesy and give them the space I would like in the same situation.
An Unknown Location And Work Hard To Make It Your Own
Don’t think you always have to follow the rules and the crowd.
If you find a location which looks promising, experiment to capture
images of it that nobody else will have. This gives an enormous
sense of achievement.
With Black And White
Some of the greatest landscape images are black and white. Sometimes
scenes just lend themselves to this, now little often, medium. These
days of course, a decision doesn’t have to be made to shoot
in black and white straight away. It is very easy to change images
to monochrome on computer – don’t forget to try it!
Return to Articles ___________________________________________________________________________Top