A Practical Guide to Landscape Photography - What You Need and Tips

Landscape photography

You have probably seen spectacular landscape pictures on the internet, and maybe this inspired you to venture into landscape photography. After all, nature is amazing and is filled with beauty that needs to be documented.

To help get started with landscape photography, we have compiled all the essential stuff you need to embark on this thrilling journey, and tips on how to take breathtaking landscape photos.

What You Need to Get Started In Landscape Photography

A reason

This may seem out of place, but it is very important. You don't want to invest in camera gear in something you will lose interest in after a few months.

If you just want Instagram pictures of the amazing beach you are in at the moment or SnapChat pictures of the magnificent view you are staring at, your smartphone will do the work.

However, if you want to showcase your artistic side through photography, then you need to invest in more than your camera. To create creative and high-quality photographs, you will need to spend on the necessary equipment including;

A Quality Camera With Manual Controls

You need to invest in a camera that allows you to be in control of every aspect of your photographic process. This means a camera that affords you control of individual exposure parameters (shutter speed, aperture, white balance, ISO, etc.)

Your camera should also shoot in RAW format so that you can have total control of the elements you need to keep and those to discard in your final image.

A Tripod

A tripod is an essential tool, especially when you are doing exposures and night photography. It will help you become a better photographer by enabling you to get it right with your composition.

When shopping for a tripod, consider its weight (it should be light enough to carry around), height (it should reach your eye level without you having to stoop), and load capacity (it should be solid and sturdy to hold your camera).

A Computer or Laptop

Of course, you need a computer to store, sort, edit, and share your images to your blog and different social media accounts. A computer is a glue that sticks all the elements of your photography.

Photoshop

You will need to learn how to use this software. Although it entails a lot of tools, you will need to master Adobe Camera RAW and Lightroom, correcting colors, layers, masking, and optimizing images for print or web.

Post-processing is an integral part of your photography process, which is why you need to learn Photoshop.

An ND Filter

There are many filters you can opt for when it comes to landscape photography, but Neutral Density (ND) filter is the ideal option.

First, it will help you get a balanced exposure, especially when you are shooting in a contrasting scene such as one where there is a dark foreground and bright sky.

This filter can also be used to capture two simultaneous shots- one capturing the details in the sky and another capturing dark foreground (you can blend the two during post-processing in Photoshop).

In other words, the ND filter decreases the light flowing in your camera, thereby allowing you to use longer shutter speed.

With the above tools, you can now get started with landscape photography. Let’s now talk about how to take adventurous landscape photos.

Landscape Photography Tips

Create a Sense of Depth

When it comes to most landscape photos, you need to create depth and keep all elements of the image in focus.

This means that you need to use a smaller aperture to keep objects in the foreground and background sharp. Use a tripod to eliminate camera shakes.

Use Wide-Angle Lens

Mu Cang Chai Rice Terrace, Vietnam

Nikon D700, f8, 1/160

These lenses are the best for landscape photography as they show a broader view and thus helps you to capture wide-open space.

They also increase the depth of field and thus allow you to use faster shutter speeds as they allow more light. For example, shooting at f/16 will make both the background and foreground sharp.

Capture Movement

Autumn Fall Forest Landscape

Nikon D700, f16, 20 sec.

If you are capturing moving subjects such as water, you can create stunning shots by choosing a long exposure to capture movement.

One way of capturing movement the right way is using Shutter-priority or TV camera mode and choosing a longer exposure of two seconds or longer. If you are to use AV (Aperture-Priority) mode, choose a smaller aperture such as f/9.

If you are capturing movement in bright daylight, you may need to use an ND filter to reduce the amount of light flowing in your camera. This will enable you to use longer shutter speeds.

Keep in mind that you need to use a tripod to take these kinds of shots to ensure the rest of your photo remains sharp.

Use Photographic Filters

In landscape photography, you will need to have at least two types of filters;

Polarizing filters- these darken the sky, thereby helping you bring out the contrast between the blue sky and the white clouds.

Neutral Density filter- this filter reduces the amount of light entering your camera. It is useful when you are taking photos on bright days since your camera will struggle to take clear shots in slow shutter speed, especially when you want to capture movement.

Use Water to Create Reflection and Effects

People rowing boat in ocean at sunset

Water in subdued light can produce amazing shots. The best time to take such shots is during the first hour after sunrise and last hour before sunset.

Again, make use of tripod stand and use TV or S mode. Use a slow shutter speed and allow your camera to choose the ideal aperture for the moment.

If the photo is still dark, you can increase ISO considerable (you can start at ISO 125).

Use the Rule of Thirds Whenever Possible

A photo is divided into 9 equal rectangles, and your subject should be positioned in the intersection of two imaginary gridlines linking two rectangles.

In other words, most images will look best when the subject is placed in an off-center position. This is because it gives eyes an opportunity to wander the frame.

A landscape shot composed by the rule of thirds is normally more pleasing to the eye and interesting to stare at.

Include People

Landscape photography is not all about capturing nature; it can include people as well.

A beautiful landscape photo complemented by a beautiful girl jumping through tall grass or a boy sitting under a tree shadow will demonstrate your creativity as a photographer.

Remember to compose such shots using the rule of thirds and place the person in an off-center position to make your shot pleasing and interesting.

Use a slow shutter speed if you want to show motion, and fast shutter speed to freeze the action.

Bottom Line

That’s all about landscape photography. Keep in mind that photography is a skill, and the only way to showcase your skill is to perfect it. Take note of the above tips; hopefully, our guide has given you a good start to landscape photography.

Capturing nature and landscape beauty is a rewarding venture. Therefore, learn to perfect your shots and don't be afraid to experiment. With time, you will begin to get recognition and earn from it.

Posted in: Photography for beginners