There is a lot to know, learn and read about in landscape photography. Here are five of my favourite landscape photography tips, especially for beginners!
First tip: Time of Day
Best moments for shooting images of landscapes are around sunrise and sunset. Especially the moment just before sunrise or after sunset. This magical hour is called “the golden hour”. During this moment, the light travels the furthest through the atmosphere. Blue light is scattered more during that moment, leaving more red colors. The angle and color of light is there for very appealing for landscapes.
Light during sunrise can have colors ranging from pink to yellow. It is always a surprise what you are going to get. Combined with morning fog and your landscape image will turn out wonderful. If you are going out for sunsets. Don’t leave immediately after sunset, but wait a while. After sunset, there will be a lot bluer colors in the sky which can also make a great image.
Second tip: Depth-of-Field
For landscape image, you ofte want to maximize the sharpness of your images. You want to use a large depth-of-field to achieve high sharpness from front to back. There are thee common ways to achieve this.
- Use a small aperture to achieve a large depth-of-field. This will give you an image where most if not all of you image is sharp. Focus on something either close or on infinity.
- Focus stacking – in other words, make multiple images of the exact same composition with one difference. Focus on different parts of your image. This will need some time in photoshop to put the multiple images together. The result will be an entirely sharp image if done correctly.
- Hyperfocal distance – every lens has a hyperfocal distance based on the focal length and aperture. If you focus on this distance, everything from half of the hyperfocal distance till infinity will be ‘acceptable’ sharp.
I personally use option 1 or option 2.
“Everything from half of the hyperfocal distance till infinity will be ‘acceptable’ sharp”
Third tip: Tripod
When being in a beautiful landscape, I really like to slow down. Not just to make better images, but also to enjoy nature. Using a tripod helps me with this. It makes me think more about what I want to achieve with my image. Another reason for using a tripod is aperture. Most of the time you will use a small aperture when shooting landscapes to achieve maximum sharpness in your image. When using a small aperture and creating a high-quality image on a low ISO, your shutter speed will suffer. As a result, you will need to use a tripod for stability to prevent camera shake in your image.
Fourth tip: Composition
A few easy rules to start with in landscape photography.
- Foreground interest – when placing something in the foreground of your composition you will create depth. Depth in your image makes your image feel much more as your viewer was there with you. It can greatly enhance your image.
- Rule-of-thirds – imagine your image being divided in 9 equally large sections by two horizontal and two vertical lines. By placing interesting objects, horizons etc. on these lines you will create more interesting compositions. Most cameras can show this grid. Check the settings of your camera. Rules however are meant to be broken!
Fifth tip: Straight horizon
One of the easiest things to watch out for in your landscape images is your horizon. Always make sure your horizon is straight. It feels weird for your viewers if your horizon is even slightly off. It is best to take care of this during shooting your images, as you will loose part of the image if you have to straighten your image afterwards in Photoshop, Lightroom etc. Modern cameras and pretty much every tripod have a built-in level to check if your camera is set straight. Better use it!