My Five Favorite Landscape Photography Tips Photofocus
Just some straight forward simple basics of landscape shooting but sometimes we forget or overlook the basics.
I would also say that you should always look around and see if there is a better location to shoot the subject from than the first that you chose.
others? (add your one best idea)
Last edited by DEMDeepEllumMusic; 04-20-2010 at 11:20 AM.
04-20-2010 11:16 AM
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I don't completely agree with the "shoot wide" tip in the article. I think the "wideangle, low perspective with exaggerated foreground" can become a bit of a cliche if that's all you shoot (plus to do it right you need a view camera, preferably with rear tilt). Also, shooting wideangle all the time will often mean too much empty space in the frame.
I definitely agree about using a tripod. Not only will it get you sharper images and allow slower shutter speeds (often necessary when stopping down for depth of field, especially with a polarizer), but it also allows you to compose more carefully and really examine your composition all the way out to the edges of the frame.
My "tip" is to choose your perspective before choosing your lens - don't let the lens dictate your perspective. Even once you've decided on your general shooting position and basic composition (including any foreground), take a moment to see how things change when you take a step or two forward/back, or move a bit high/lower or left/right. Sometimes a small adjustment in position (even inches) can make a huge difference in the final image. For instance, moving to the side might add separation between two objects that might otherwise overlap each other. Adding height can open up the middle-distance, showing objects that would be obscured by the foreground with a lower camera position.
I agree with Jeff.
And I thought I would throw in my 2 cents
Absolutely! Couldn't agree more.
Although I have pulled off decent shots hand-held a few times. The trick is to brace your camera in some manner. You can do this by sitting on the ground and putting your elbows into your legs, you could find something solid (e.g. fence post, tree trunk, big rock, hiking pole, etc.) and use it to brace the camera, or something to that effect.
Only if you want that sort of thing. It doesn't necessarily make a great landscape photo.
Include A Strong Foreground Or Foreground Object
If you want to include a foreground object, then it helps greatly if that object is tied into the rest of the photo. For example, having some "rhythm" or repeating shapes, lines, etc. between the object and the background/sky really works well.
This approach sometimes works well if there's a transition between the foreground object and the background. E.g. big rock in the foreground that trails off to rocks in the mid-ground and then background. You, the viewer, will see a near-to-far relationship. This creates depth in the photo and also ties the fore- and backgrounds together.
Donít Be Afraid Of Weather
Ugh... There's a term that I see occasionally: "light chaser". Yeh, photography is all about light (it wouldn't be possible otherwise), but I think too many photographers get totally obsessed with the light and develop the belief that good landscapes will only happen in warm, directional light. (and I understand this - that's what I used to think)
Golden Hour Is Really Golden
This is how I approach landscape photography (and keep in mind that this is my way; it's not for everyone and you may disagree): landscape photography can happen anytime in any weather and lighting conditions.
What you have to learn to do is work with the conditions you are in. If the light is "golden", then dramatic well-lit landscape photos might be the right thing. If the light is dim and flat, then think in black and white or perhaps direct your attention to color with a lot of saturation. Instead of trying to shoot the grand, wide-view landscape, think small, intimate landscapes.
The point is to diversify your photography based on conditions and be creative.
I used to get disappointed if I didn't get those "golden hour" conditions with dramatic light while out shooting. But I learned to change my approach.
This advice should have also come with a bit of a caution. Shooting too wide is a pitfall that many fall into.
I think most of us go through this process. When we get our first true wide angle lens, then we tend to shoot everything at the widest setting. The wide view is new and we get to see the world very differently for the first time.
But then we learn that our photos kinda suck because they lack interest. The wide view is too much - there are too many things in the photo and/or there's too much negative space. Also, the wide view tends to make very close objects appear effectively larger (vs. mid and background objects) and also makes background objects appear effectively smaller (vs. foreground).
I.e. the "wide angle look" is unique and takes some getting used to.
Here's a quick story- when I first got the ability to shoot at 17-18mm (full frame field of view), I ran around and shot everything at about 17-18mm. And I was unhappy with the results.
Over a long period of time, I learned that "wide angle look" and improved somewhat. I found most of my landscape photos were being taken 24-35mm.
What that means is that I was using a tighter field of view (24mm vs. 18mm) to reduce the amount of subject matter in my photos and concentrate on fewer things (as opposed to "swallowing up" the entire view with the widest angle possible).
Also, you can make a shot at 35mm (or even tighter) look like it was shot with a wider lens. In other words, you can effectively make a "wide angle" landscape shot without using focal lengths 20mm and smaller.
here is a dissenting opinion. Not mine but I do read this web site each week.
4 Rules of Composition for Landscape Photography
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Yeah I would say I don't really follow a specific rule on subject placement in the frame, except the general guideline not to center the subject unless you have a strong reason for doing so (symmetry-based composition, etc). Other than that, the exact placement in the frame is more intuitive to me; I'm not really concerned with whether it's exactly on a "third" line, or 10% off, etc, so much as well the result feels balanced and has a good flow to it. Sometimes the placement of other objects along the frame edge will come into play, as well.