How to Take Better Landscape Photos

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Taking great landscape pictures can seem so easy compared to shooting action photography or taking pictures of children or animals. However, any photographer that’s lugged their equipment to the top of a beautiful vista only to end up with sub-par photos can tell you that there’s a lot more to great landscape photography than simply showing up. Here are a few things to keep in mind that will help your photos turn out fantastic.

how to take better landscape photos

“Devils Kitchen” captured by Mark Broughton (Click Image to See More From Mark Broughton)

Think Details

With landscape photography it’s all about the details. The more you can shove into your image, the better it’s going to look. Detail and depth of field are both increased by longer exposure times, so try to use the highest F-stop value (22 on most cameras) whenever possible. This will allow less light into the camera and give you more flexibility in exposing the film. If you want to use a slower ISO film (around 100) this will also pull in more detail but be careful as slow films may not be the best for all lighting situations.

Hold ‘em Steady

While slower shutter speeds will add to your detail and depth of field, lengthening the exposure time has its own risks. Even the most steady-handed of photographers begin to run the risk of hand “shake” blur at a shutter speed of about 125, so skip this headache altogether and mount your camera on a tripod, sandbag, or flat rock. If you are using a very low shutter speed or the bulb setting on your camera, you may also want to consider picking up a cable release. This will prevent the image from being compromised by the movement of your hands pushing the shutter button.

Aim for Something

Picture an empty room with no windows- pretty boring isn’t it? Landscapes are exactly the same as any other photograph – you need a subject to make it interesting. No matter what kind of landscape you’re taking, you want to have some type of focal point framed in the image. This may seem strange, but simply pointing a camera at a mountain and hitting the shutter isn’t going to automatically result in an amazing photograph. Think of the “story” of each photograph, and try to tell it in the frame.

landscape photo story

“Walking…” captured by Kyaw Min Htike (Click Image to See More From Kyaw Min Htike)

Always Be Ready

Unfortunately, as a landscape photographer, you don’t have the option of scheduling the perfect shot or creating the perfect lighting when you want it. You have to be willing to work with factors outside of your control and capitalize on these factors when they work in your favor. Photographs taken in the early morning hours are much different than those taken near dusk, and those beautiful thunderstorm clouds outside your window aren’t going to stick around while you decide whether or not you feel like shooting. If you want to take incredible landscape photographs, it’s a good idea to keep your gear bag packed by the door in case something interesting starts happening outside.

Be Patient

Although it may seem strange that landscape photography requires grabbing an interesting shot on short notice, landscape photography actually requires a lot of patience. The moments in time captured by a landscape photographer’s lens will likely never happen again in quite the same way, so be prepared to wait for the perfect shot.

tips on landscape photos

“On the road” captured by Alberto Roseo (Click Image to See More From Alberto Roseo)

So it should be no surprise that landscape photography can be deceptively complex. It seems that all a landscape photographer would need is a camera and some nice scenery, however, a good photographer really needs a bit more. A photographer needs the right equipment, a patient mindset plus an understanding of how the time, weather and photo composition all come into play into creating an outstanding image. With those couple of things, you can start taking great landscape pictures that you’ll be proud to display on your wall.

About the Author
Autumn Lockwood is a writer for Your Picture Frames. They have a selection of silver plated picture frames in a variety of styles, sizes and colors.

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6 Comments

  1. Cable release OR self timer instead of pushing the button!

  2. Use a stepladder to give your images more depth – that’s my top tip.

  3. Srini says:

    Aim for something: Very true. I used to focus on point just few yards in front of me rather than focusing on a distance mountain – just to have objects closer to me in sharp focus. http://www.flickr.com/photos/7dguy/4716366844/sizes/l/

  4. Mike Penney says:

    Really… you believe this?
    “…The more you can shove into your image, the better it’s going to look…”

  5. Mike Ciletti says:

    Guess what. At f/22 diffraction starts to decrease the sharpness of the image, so advocating f/22 or smaller aperture can be counterproductive.

  6. “film”!!! When was this article written! ;)

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