Capturing beautiful scenery is one of the most enjoyable aspects of outdoor photography where you can fully immerse yourself in a breathtaking landscape and record the scene unfolding right before your eyes. There is so much available to shoot when out in the field photographing landscapes, from epic vistas of majestic mountains to lush, and green rolling hills. Here are 6 ways to help you improve your landscape photography:
1. Include a point of interest
Usually, when people are first starting in landscape photography, they take pictures of the countryside to show a view of the land and sky but don’t consider other aspects such as adding an interesting feature to their frame.
One way to bring your landscapes to life is to add a point of interest in your photograph.
Some suggestions for points of interest could be an outbuilding, a fence, gate, tree, hedgerows or anything else you can find that would enhance your images. This extra feature could lift your landscape images from ordinary to excellent.
2. See the light
Light is one of the great aspects of photography that can help to improve your landscape images. Have you ever been to a location only to find the weather was cloudy and overcast? While this can be great for some types of photography, such as coastal and seascape scenes, having some light shining on a landscape scene can help to improve your image. Landscape scenes without light can often be flat and uninteresting. So be sure to make the most of the light when the sun is out as it can bring your landscapes to life.
I recommend looking out for changing patterns of light and be aware of how the sun affects your shots. For example, during the middle of the day, the sun is much higher in the sky and lights up most of the landscape from above. Whereas, when the sun sits lower in the sky, shadows can form where some parts of your scene become shaded.
3. Consider where to place the horizon
Depending on what you are photographing and what you are trying to achieve, it would be advantageous to consider the horizon and where you intend to place it in your landscape images.
Whatever you find most appealing, you may want to consider including more sky or foreground in your frame. If you find the sky more interesting, place the horizon on the lower third section of your image. Alternatively, if you think the foreground is more appealing position the horizon towards the upper third of the frame. Also, placing the horizon line in the middle of your pictures could make a landscape more balanced. It is entirely your choice and comes down to how you want your final image to look.
4. Eliminate distractions
The elimination of distractions may seem like an obvious aspect to consider when photographing landscapes. However, it is amazing how many photos include distracting elements. Remember that sometimes less is more and that by taking certain eyesores out of your frame, such as unsightly telephone wires or lampposts, can improve your landscape photos dramatically.
5. Time of day
The time of day you decide to capture landscapes can affect how your images look. I appreciate that you may be limited on time or are only able to take photos at certain times of the day due to work, family or other commitments. Therefore, use this to your advantage as landscape photography can look good at any time of day – daytime, sunrise or sunset.
Don’t limit yourself to the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset as you waste far too much of the day. You can take great pictures at any hour! For example, daytime can be just as good as sunset, especially if it is a cloudy day as the clouds complement the scene and can add drama.
The last element to consider when looking to improve your landscapes is the focus. Ask yourself are you looking to get the entire landscape sharp or would you prefer a part of the image to be out of focus?
Using a wider depth of field enables your images to have front-to-back sharpness, whereas using a narrower depth of field renders the foreground or background out of focus. Applying the latter technique can be used for creative effect if you are looking to emphasize a particular part of your image, such as a prominent tree or object.
I recommend putting these tips into practice to see how they may help you improve your landscape photos and share the pictures you take with us below. What methods do you find help improve your landscape photography that you would like to share?