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Top 10 Landscape Photography Tips

Top 10 Landscape Photography Tips - A quick list of ten points you need to know before heading out to photograph landscapes.

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Category : Landscape and Travel
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Landscape by David Clapp
Photo by David Clapp.

Research

There are thousands of locations you can go and take photographs and even more places you can get inspiration from on what to photograph when you're there. Although we always encourage people to look for their own angles, browsing ePHOTOzine's gallery for inspiration and looking at our photography locations will mean you don't have to waste precious hours walking for miles until you find a perfect photographic location. 

Planning

Once you've decided on a location map out a route you're going to walk and if you're planning on venturing to a remote area make sure you pack a map, food, waterproof clothing and a mobile phone. If you're visiting a new location don't stray off the footpaths unless you know where you're going.

Make sure you check the weather forecast a few days before you plan on taking your trips as it can change regularly. Don't assume that a sunny day is best either as the time of day and area you're visiting can mean that early-morning mist works well while in other locations you need the long shadows created in the afternoon. Do try and avoid plain, boring, overcast grey days though as there will be no detail in the sky, and the land won't look very interesting. If it's sunrises you're off to photograph stick your head out of the window the night before as if the sky is clear you'll have a good sunrise that potentially will be bursting with colour but a sky with a bit of cloud cover is even better as the morning light will be more diffused.
 

Time

Light becomes flat and less interesting after lunch so set the alarm clock to go off early. A blue, clear sky in the middle of the day should, ideally, be given a miss. However, if there's a little bit of cloud they can create shadows to add interest to the flat light.

For sunrises you need to be facing east at your chosen location at least twenty to thirty minutes before the sun rises so you have time to set your gear up.

Sunrise in the bag, head back out after you've had your tea to capture a sunset. Just remember to shoot quickly as the sun moves down the sky rapidly and the mood and light in the scene can change extremely quickly.

 

Depth Of Field

With most landscapes you'll want everything to be sharp and a small aperture setting is the simplest way to do this. This does mean less light will be able to reach your camera's sensor so you may need to either increase the ISO or to avoid noise, use a slower shutter speed. 

Tripod

Even though many cameras, such as the OM-D E-M10, now feature great image stabilisation systems which makes it easier to capture shake-free shots when working hand-held, a tripod is still an essential piece of kit for any landscape photographer. Carrying a tripod with you means you can blur the cascades of a waterfall and capture sunrises and sunsets without the risk of camera shake ruining your shot.
 

Lenses

If you want to shoot sweeping, majestic landscapes you'll need a wide-angle but for shots with interesting foregrounds that are surrounded by distant mountains/hills take your longer lens out of the bag.

Accessories

A waterproof bag, warm clothing and a flask of tea/coffee should be on the check-list. Pack a few filters while you're getting ready too. A polariser will saturate colours, enhance the sky and help cut down on reflections when you're working near water. While a graduated ND filter's handy for when the sky is a lot lighter than the ground. 

Check Your Shot

Before you sit your tripod down in the same place a thousand other photographers have stop for a minute to think if you can photograph the over-done scene in a different way. Will spending a minute or two moving your feet slightly to the left or right or getting lower down give you a fresh perspective?

Make sure there's nothing in frame that would spoil a perfectly good shot, check that your horizon's straight and take a look at the floor to see if your shadow's trying to take centre stage.

Foreground Interest

If the shapes of the distant mountains catch your eye you don't have to shoot them with a vast empty field in front of you. You can use the pulling power of a longer lens to fill the frame with the mountains but don't overlook filling the foreground with interest. Paths and fences which begin at the front of the frame and lead the eye through the shot can act as guides to the detail which sits at the back while barns, single trees and rocks/boulders help give your composition a three dimensional feel. Try using foreground detail such as over-hanging trees and arches as frames. If you find them to be too distracting soften them to create an out of focus frame.
 

Lead In Lines

As mentioned above, paths and fences are a great way to lead the eye through a photograph and so are rivers and canals. If you're on a riverbank find a position on a curve or just below and you'll have a leading line that starts in one corner and meanders through to the back of the shot. While a line of lock gates on a canal will not only guide the eye up the canal but they also add symmetry to your shot.
 

 

For more information on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 visit the Olympus website. 


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