5 Tips On How To Photograph Landscapes
Landscape requires the photographer to have a thoughtful attitude and the ability to notice the beauty in seemingly ordinary details. It is also good training for a diversity of perception: the same view “sounds” dramatically different depending on the angle, lighting, weather, and season.
You don’t have to go to the places from National Geographic magazine to shoot landscapes! Your focus can be on any natural or urban view, starting with the one that opens right outside your window. If necessary, you can delete people from it using the remove people from photo option on RetouchMe.
If you’re shooting landscapes or want to work on your skills, here are some important tips!
Take care of the depth of the shot
A truly atmospheric landscape photo gives the viewer a sense of three-dimensional space. For this, the frame must be filled in on several plans. For example, details placed on the first edge give additional expressiveness. Stems of grass covered with frost will make the landscape of a frosty morning even more atmospheric.
Think about what elements could decorate the frame and place them in the foreground. Use this compositional technique sparingly so the photos don’t end up monotonous — there are a variety of ways to add depth to a shot.
Use a variety of focal lengths
Wide-angle lenses are considered an obligatory attribute of landscape photography, but in reality, this is not quite true. On the one hand, a wide-angle lens brings the photo as close as possible to a panorama, allowing you to cover a large space. On the other hand, such lenses distort around the edges of the frame, making it impossible to take photos rich in expressive details. After all, an image has to be built around a meaningful center.
For this reason, a zoom lens with a long focal length range, such as 24–105mm or 24–70mm, is the best solution. By changing the angle of view, you can form the most effective composition.
Keep an eye on the lines
Take your time when composing proportions and lines of the frame: the horizon, tree trunks, silhouettes of hills and buildings have to harmoniously “dissect” the picture. At the same time, perfect symmetry is not always appropriate. The only stipulated line is on the horizon. Sometimes “bent” frames get a special charm, but it does not happen often.
To keep the horizon straight, you can use Live View mode built into some cameras. It makes a grid visible, which is much easier to aim at. But even if your camera doesn’t have this option, the horizon can always be corrected in post-processing — remember to check the angle when you edit the photo.
Make use of the weather and natural light.
Knowing how to work with natural light is one of the key skills of a landscape photographer. The optimum time to shoot is at the beginning or near the end of the daylight hours when the rays are more diffuse. The soft light helps make the shot more atmospheric and sometimes even dramatic. A photoshoot at noon or against the sun leads to harsh shadows and unwanted contrasts. But this time of day can also be used to practice your creative ingenuity.
Remember, there is no such thing as bad weather for taking pictures. Pre-storm winds, rain and lightning, fog or frost help reveal even the most unremarkable landscape from a new, unexpectedly beautiful point of view. The only limitation is your safety during extreme weather conditions. Remember that if you’re shooting in rain or snow, you’ll need to get some waterproof equipment.
Control the depth of field
Often when shooting landscapes, narrow apertures and the maximum depth of field (up to f/5.6-f/16.0) are used to capture details in the scene. The maximum depth of field looks spectacular in almost any weather. Of course, if you need to draw the viewer’s attention to a particular object or part of the frame, you can use a wider aperture — it all depends on the composition of the frame and creative ideas. In practice, however, high values are most often used. Remember that the narrower the aperture, the longer it takes to get the shutter to work. If your “handheld” pictures are blurry, try raising the ISO value or use a tripod. It is better to calculate the optimum aperture width based on the characteristics of a particular lens.
Please note that in the pursuit of maximum space detail, you can blur the objects in the foreground. You can avoid this by using the hyperfocal focusing technique, which is easy enough to master on your own.