Landscape Photography TipsPosted: 02 Apr 2012 05:13 PM PDT"Dead Vlei Namibia" captured by David Hobcote (Click Image to See More From David Hobcote)Best light during dawn or duskThe best light is during dawn and dusk. That’s when the light is warm, the sun is in the frame andthe mood is just beautiful. However, depending on what you want to do with your landscapeshots you can shoot any time you want. I’ve read time after time again that the only time to shootlandscape shots is during dawn or dusk. I shoot mine when I see the moment. But it all dependson your style really and what you want to convey. It’s better you capture the image than not justbecause you were busy waiting for the perfect light.I love an incredible light however. I can go excited, nearly ecstatic, from an amazing light, but themoment will always go first. If I only have the crappiest camera with the shittiest light I’ll stillmake the frame.Use a tripodYou will not be able to hold the camera steady during low light circumstances without a tripod.
Invest in a stable one and use the timer shutter, or invest in a remote shutter control, to shoot theimage. This way it doesn’t get influenced by the motion of you pressing down on the shutterbutton. I do have a remote shutter control but I still prefer the timer because it’s with me at alltimes without using up space in my luggage. And with a Canon 5D Mark II I can set the timer tomerely two seconds which makes the it very convenient. Perfect for the shake to settle down andit’s a short enough time to wait for the shutter to trigger. Ten seconds can be bothersome but twois nothing. A stable tripod costs a lot though, but in many ways it will be worth it because just alittle wind can knock your tripod down and wreck anything it holds. This can cost you the image,but it can also cost you the camera.Divide the image for depthDivide the image into foreground (for instance the ground or the beach), the middle ground (forinstance the water) and the background (for instance the sky). This creates a sense of depth andwill make a huge difference to your landscape photography.Set the aperture value highAround 22 should give you a nice sharp overall image. Many lenses are the sharpest around 8 butthat’s a whole other level of sharpness. Go with as high value as you can get and use a tripod.Unless you are going for effects like freezing the flow of water. Since the shutter speed will bequite slow while shooting landscapes you should set the ISO to around 50 or 100 which will causelow amounts of noise in the picture."Waterfall at Sunset" captured by Ævar Guðmundsson (Click Image to See More From ÆvarGuðmundsson)
Focus in the middleIf you are looking for overall sharpness then always place the focus in the middle of thelandscape. If there’s a focal point you want to emphasize – place the focus straight onto that one.Focal pointIs there any elements you can use in the picture as a focal point? For instance a road that swirlsinto the image, three rocks in the water or maybe a tree? If you create a focal point in thephotograph it will be so much stronger than without one. Without it will simply just be flat.Always look for light, lines, symmetry and elements that stand out. An easy way to do this is tolook at the landscape – what exactly captures your attention? Make that your focal point.Get an interesting skyA clear blue sky is awesome, but it’s also just a blue boring sky. If you want drama with yourpicture, wait for the charismatic clouds to sweep in. As always it depends on what you are goingfor but a busy sky always creates more of an emotional effect.Never place the horizon in the middleOkay, this is a little bit of a lie because sometimes placing the horizon in the absolute middle ofthe photograph can be amazing, but most of the time look at what’s interesting – the ground orthe sky? Then compose the image so that the most interesting part uses up more space. If youhave a clear blue sky it will just fill you image with blue. If so composite the image so that themost of it is filled with an interesting ground. If you have an incredible texture of clouds beforeyou and the ground is just boring rocks – shoot the sky. In short, choose what’s more interesting– the ground or the sky – and let the most interesting element be the dominant part of the image.
Photo capture by Anthony Smith (Click Image to See More From Anthony Smith)Think detailMake sure the highlights don’t go to bright and cram in as much detail you can. This goes forevery photograph though – detail captivates but when it comes to landscape photography thedetails are a massive part of the image. You can even use bracketing to create an HDR image withincredible amounts of detail. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and in short it’s a way toblend several exposures into one with details in even the brightest and the darkest areas.About the Author:Examples of photography related to this article and a portfolio by the author is availablehere: www.mikaelcedergren.com.