5 Tips for Shooting Breathtaking Landscape Photos

Discover the secrets to harnessing natural light all day long for your best landscape photos yet with five tips from award-winning photographer Rick Sammon. Plus, one fortunate photographer will be given Rick’s online Craftsy class Landscape Photography: Shooting From Dusk to Dawn.

mountain-landscape

Learn to work with natural light at any time of day.

1. Let someone know your plan and pack appropriately.

Often times remote landscape shoots aren’t great places for cell phone reception. So consider a map and let someone (a friend, a family member or a park ranger) know where you’re going to shoot and when you plan on being finished. That way, in case something happens, they know where to look for you. Also, don’t take a bunch of different lenses, as you may be walking far, and they get heavy fast! Plus, adding this constraint can really force you to see the scene in new ways.

photographing-landscapes

Tell someone where you plan to shoot.

2. Arrive in time to catch blue light and golden light.

Make the most of the bluish lighting during twilight and the twenty minutes right before sunrise and just after sunset for capturing scenes in a vibrant, stunning fashion. To get the best photos during this time of day you’ll want to: shoot in manual mode for better control over exposure, use a longer exposure than normal daytime photos, and be sure your camera is stabilized to prevent shake. The golden hour shortly after sunrise or before sunset produces soft, diffused light, allowing more dynamic colors to show. When shooting during the magic hour, use a wide aperture, and set your white balance to cloudy.

sunrise-dunes-photo

Get up early to catch the sunrise.

3. Set your depth of field for the best results.

Use a wide-angle lens, a relatively small aperture, like f/16 or f/22, and focus one third of the way into the scene (imagine standing at the end of a football field and focusing on the 33 yard line). This will allow you to keep everything, from around three feet away from your camera to the far distance, in focus.

foreground-interest-landscape-image

Use a small aperture for maximum depth of field.

4. Don’t use a polarizing filter for panoramas.

When shooting a panorama do not use a polarizing filter, because it will cause an uneven banding effect as you move through your range of shots. This might make your sky look strange or create flares from the sun if it’s in front of you.

5. Create the most intriguing composition.

Don’t forget, cropping is your final chance to edit your composition. Make sure your subject isn’t in the exact center of your composition, as the viewer’s eye will get stuck on it; off-center works much better. Once you’ve cropped your piece, draw attention to your main subject by darkening the edges of your scene just a bit to create a vignette.

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Choose your composition wisely.

Now that you have a few ideas for improving your landscape photography, take the next step when you see here for a chance to take Rick Sammon’s online Craftsy class. Join an adventure through stunning vistas (in the convenience of your home!) as Rick reveals essential lens, filter, and framing strategies for capturing superior landscape photos during sunrise, midday, and sundown. You’ll even get HDR, panorama, and black-and-white style tips to elevate your shots. Rick will be there every step of the way to answer any questions you have and provide helpful critiques of your photos.

What are some of your favorite tips for shooting landscapes during sunset?

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3 Comments

  1. Avishai says:

    Nice article! I personally think the most important advice is thinking about your composition and not just shooting!

  2. Jolene says:

    Thanks for the tips!

  3. Ashley Hauck says:

    I love my tripod for long exposure shots just after sunset.

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