If you're new to landscape photography and are looking for ways to improve your shots, have a read of these tips that will hopefully guide and inspire you to take better landscape shots.
1. Use A Tripod
A tripod is a tool a landscape photographer shouldn't be walking out of the house without. Not only do they help reduce shake and assist with those popular blurry water techniques, but they also slow you down, giving you chance to think more about the scene in front of you and as a result, help improve your composition. You'll also be more likely to stay in one location for longer as you won't be supporting the weight of a camera and a lens meaning you can sit and watch the light change, clouds move or the sun dip below the horizon until the moment you want to capture presents itself.
2. Lines & Shapes Are Your Friend
Learn to look for shapes, lines or patterns which can help add direction, interest and depth to your shots. These could be paths, fences, patterns in a frozen lake, long lines of trees...etc.
3. Don't Be Afraid Of Negative Space
If used correctly, the empty space you leave in your shots (negative space) can make your photograph more interesting and easier to focus on rather than trying to fill every inch of the frame with interest.
4. Find A Frame
When used correctly, frames can help focus the viewer's eye on the main subject and they don't always have to be full frames either as a hanging branch, for example, can work just as successfully at guiding the eye. Look for arches created by paths of trees, leaves / hedges you can blur into an out of focus frame...etc.
5. Move The Horizon
As well as keeping the horizon straight you need to avoid sitting it right in the middle of your frame as this just cuts the image in two and isn't very interesting (most of the time). When you have skies bursting with colour pull the horizon down and make more of it but if its the land that's your shining star shift the horizon up so the sky takes up less space. Of course there are times when this rule doesn't apply but it's something you need to keep in mind when setting your shot up.
6. Emphasize Size
By adding something to the shot the viewer can use to gage a sense of scale from, they'll be able to grasp how vast / large the landscape really is, exaggerating the 'wow' factor as a result.
7. Interesting Skies Are Great
Be it cloud formations, a storm coming in off the sea or a striking sunset, the sky is a great tool for adding extra interest to your landscape shots. Don't be afraid of the rain as moody clouds can give your landscapes an interesting twist and windy days will help you add a sense of movement to your usually still landscape shots. Sometimes you'll have to be patient and wait for the light but it's worth it in the end.
8. Look For Lone Subjects
A single subject in a wide landscape shot will always work well. A lonely tree, a tractor or barn are just three examples that spring to mind but no matter what you pick, you can guarantee it'll help you create a striking yet simple composition.
Photo by David Clapp
9. Create Depth And Dimension
You don't want a big, boring, empty space of nothingness in the foreground of your shot as this will just result in a boring example of landscape photography. To improve your photos, include some sort of foreground interest. By doing so you'll create depth, guide the eye and give your 2D image a 3D feel. If you find there's too much of the middle of your shot that's still empty try shooting from a lower angle.
10. Filters Are Your Friends
If you are only going to carry two filters with you they should be a Graduated ND and Polarising filter. A Graduated ND filter will help you produce a more balanced exposure while a Polarising filter will help colours appear more vibrant, deepening blue skies and giving foliage more punch. This filter can also help reduce reflections and cut down on the sheen coming off fur and skin.
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