Landscape photography has always been a popular choice for many photographers, and in this post, we’ll provide some suggestions on how to capture stunning landscape images with your digital camera.
1. Light is Key
Light is important for every sort of photography, but I’ve discovered that it’s even more important when photographing landscapes. If you need to locate some shade during a picture session, it’s simple enough to hide beneath some trees or behind a wall. That, on the other hand, is impossible with a mountain! It is necessary to wait for ideal lighting conditions before taking the photograph. And what if you don’t have access to natural light or you have merely poor light? Your chances of winning are just somewhat better than even the worst scenario.
Take, for example, the photograph below. It was taken during a road trip we had in which we stopped at a beautiful lake in Jasper, Alberta, Canada.
This photograph was taken during midday when lighting conditions are usually poor. It has direct sunlight that shines directly overhead, creating harsh, overhead light. As you can see, the mountains appear to be a bit lifeless due to the lack of contrast provided by the lighting. A photo taken at golden hour would have had more side lighting since the sun would have been lower in the sky and hence lower in the sky. The mountains would have gained a great deal more depth and dimension if this had been done.
Side note: Despite the fact that this is not the finest light for photographing the mountains, I’m pleased we went ahead and photographed it anyhow! Even in low-light situations, it’s a fantastic memory to retain. Don’t allow less-than-ideal lighting to deter you from capturing a special moment on film!
Photographers that specialize in landscape photography are frequently found setting up their photographs far before the sun comes up, waiting for that ideal golden daybreak, or out late photographing the sunset. The majority of their shooting takes place during these hours, as the light during the middle of the day is frequently not as good as it may be.
Try to shoot as much as possible during the golden hours, and you’ll discover that good lighting may make a significant difference in the quality of your landscape photographs.
2. Use the Foreground
This has typically been my most costly error when it comes to landscapes. I’ll come upon something beautiful, such as a mountain range, and immediately grab my camera and start shooting. The result is that I end up having photos of things that are really far away.
Don’t get me wrong, this may result in some interesting images. Without items in the foreground of the image, however, the appearance of depth in the photograph will be severely restricted. A strong foreground serves to draw the spectator in and creates a sense of proximity, medium distance, and a sense of distance between items.
Make an effort to include something visually appealing in your foreground. Perhaps there are some flowers on the ground, or some fascinating rock formations, or trees, or perhaps some people to photograph. Make use of the various distances to really bring interest to the photograph.
3. Add People
Some of my favorite landscape photographs aren’t simply of landscapes; they also include a human in some of the photographs. This is beneficial for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, including a human in your photograph helps to provide a feeling of scale, which is especially important when photographing epic vistas. That individual will assist the audience in comprehending just how magnificent the scenario was.
It also allows your audience to put themselves in the same situation — it’s much simpler to watch a person standing on the edge of a cliff and imagine how you’d feel standing on the edge of that cliff. Without the person, you could just be staring at the environment and not visualizing yourself in that location. It’s not quite as immersive as it might be.
Including individuals in a photograph might sometimes just add some additional interest to the scene. People are compositional components that contribute to the overall composition by adding a splash of color, a feeling of movement (if the person is moving, of course), and other features.
4. Notice the Details
When looking at landscapes, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the vastness of the image in front of you and lose sight of the finer features. When you find yourself in a beautiful location, take some time to look about you. Look down, above, and all around you. Those small details are what are frequently overlooked by the average person, and capturing them is what distinguishes you as a great photographer!
5. Composition, Composition, Composition
The expression in a portrait is frequently what captures the viewer’s attention. Faces are very recognizable to humans, and they are the first thing they notice when they see anything.
So, while painting a landscape, especially one without any people in it, you’ll have to think of alternative ways to entice your audience’s attention. Ultimately, it all boils down to composition. One that is really powerful will be required to truly capture and maintain someone’s attention!
The importance of putting objects in the foreground — a technique known as layering – has previously been highlighted. In addition to employing leading lines to grab the viewer’s attention, finding features that create balance, using negative space, and using frames to emphasize your subject are all compositional strategies that may be used with landscapes.
Landscape photography has a certain look to it that is very standard: gorgeous mountain, beautiful light, wonderful foreground…you get the gist of what I mean. You’ve seen it everywhere, and after a time, it might be difficult to distinguish between one spectacular photograph and another.
Therefore, it may be good to turn all of those landscape norms on their heads in the search of something new and interesting. Yes, you are allowed to disregard what I have just informed you, as long as you do it knowingly! At midday, there are some fantastic photos to be had with nothing in the foreground and no people in sight!
7. Change Your Perspective
Changing your point of view may be a very useful technique for capturing an attention-grabbing landscape photo. The majority of individuals will take a picture while standing in the same spot and holding the camera at eye level. As a result, your images will appear to be identical to those of everyone else.
As a result, switch things around. Lie down on your back with your feet flat on the ground. Climb a hill (or a mountain, for that matter). Alternatively, if you have the means, take a flight or a helicopter!
Viewing the same scene from a new point of view is something that draws people’s attention when they change their perspective.
8. Take Your Time
The reason I’m not a particularly good landscape photographer is that I don’t devote enough time to capturing a truly outstanding image. It’s as simple as that. Some of the world’s top landscape photographers will spend a whole weekend hiking out to a remote site they’ve been hunting for months in order to acquire one perfect sunrise image. Then they take that file home with them and spend a significant amount of time post-processing it until it is absolutely flawless. They put a significant amount of time and attention into one image, and this is how they achieve greatness.
That is not something I intend to undertake in the near future. Although it takes a little more work each time I try to get a fantastic landscape image, I’m confident that I’ll be rewarded with something far superior to a hastily snapped snapshot. If I accomplish everything listed above – waiting for good light, shifting perspectives, and making sure I have a strong composition – and take my time while doing so, I’ll have the highest chance of capturing a photograph that I’ll be happy to post on my wall!
I hope you found these simple ideas useful that I’ve picked up along the road. The landscape photographs that I’ve taken aren’t going to win any trophies, but they will serve as wonderful reminders of some of the incredible adventures that I’ve had – and that’s exactly what I’m after. With a little bit of extra effort, you can improve the quality of your vacation photographs, and you will have a lifetime to enjoy the results of your efforts.