Landscape and Nature Photography Tips

You have found the perfect location and the view in front of you is breathtaking, you take some photos and then get them developed. What you have taken fails to live up it the view you remember, everything is a bit lifeless! Does this sound familiar? If it does then here are some basic tips that will transform the way you take photos. Before long you will be printing them, framing them, hanging them, and showing them off to anyone that comes to your house.

tips for beautiful landscape photography

Photo by Indigo Skies Photography; ISO 640, f/5.0, 1/402-second exposure.

Get up early

The best light for taking landscape photography is early morning or just before sunset. When the sun is lower in the sky it gives a better, less harsh, quality of light that will give you good starting point for your photo. Photographers often call these times of the day as the ‘magic hour’. From previous experience I prefer to take my photos at sunrise, there is something about being up early and making the extra effort that seems to focus me into taking a better picture.

Rule of thirds

This is one of those things that once shown it you will never take a picture without considering it again. So what you have to do is imagine that the viewfinder is split into three both horizontally and vertically (like a noughts and crosses board). The idea behind this, with landscape photography, is that you align the horizon with the either the top or bottom horizontal line. When you start taking photos many if us put the horizon in the middle of the photo and you will be amazed just be following the rule of thirds how this will improve your pictures.

Get out there and explore

It may sound obvious but so many of us stick to the same locations. Go online and look at some maps and try and spot somewhere new to go. Or even better go and buy a map and try and find some locations that may offer some good terrain to photograph. Pack up your camera and go for a walk, sometimes you the perfect location is just round the next corner!

nature photos

Photo by Massmo Relsig.

Discover filters

If you only can afford a limited number of filters, they can after all be expensive by the kit and they often get forgotten about and you never get round to using them. Then get yourself a polarizing filter and put in your camera bag and start experimenting. You will be amazed at the difference it can make, the lovely blues you will get from the sky and the reduction in glare is amazing. The colours can appear to be more intense both onscreen and in print.

Depth of field

This involves using some of the settings on your camera that you may have been afraid of before. I say this as it is how I was before getting a lesson, automatic mode was the setting for me. That is until I was show about things a few simple setting that everyone should experiment with. Admittedly you are going to need a tripod to use as this setting as the shutter speed will mean that you may blur the photo if not.

So what do I mean by depth of files and how to put this into practice? Well normally when you take a landscape either the foreground or the background has to suffer in terms of being slightly out of focus.

tricks for taking beautiful landscape photos

Photo by Chris Gin; ISO 100, f/11.0, .3-second exposure.

For example you have interesting valley in the distance you wish to focus on, but there is also a point of interest in the foreground. You are able to give both these elements the sharpness they deserve by utilising the aperture setting; by using this you can achieve the result of everything being sharp in the image. Try using f 22 and you could find this working really well for you.

About the Author:
Colin McDonald wrote this article on behalf of Brooks, a wedding photographer based in Norfolk Virginia.

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  1. EF specialist says:

    Smallest aperture opening does not necessarily means the sharpest image. Modern sensors are pretty dense thus diffraction starts to kick in at f/6.3 to f/8, optimal sharpness and DoF seems to be f/8 for m4/3, f/11 for APS-C and f/16 for FF, without too much diffraction sharpness reduced…

  2. These are very useful tips thank you for sharing

  3. This is a well thought out piece and great advice for any photographer starting out in landscape.
    Thanks for sharing

  4. Amazing set of images. Thank you. I absolutely in love with “Between Seasons” captured by Richard Vier image. Great work

  5. I never leave the house without my trusty Lee filters anymore. Even though I rarely shoot landscapes, I use them for portraiture and for my wedding work.

  6. These photos are amazing!! My favorite is “Cemetery Point Sunrise”

  7. Dhaval says:

    It’s been a while I came across a post riddled with so many spelling mistakes, incorrect grammar and sentence structure. This could have been easily corrected with a cursory proof reading or as simple as typing the post in any of the word processing tools with a spell check.

  8. Bill Melchior says:

    I second the polarizing filter recommendation. For instance, by decreasing reflections from leaves it makes foliage more colorful. And it’s the only filter whose effects can’t be simulated in post-processing.

  9. Nate Hart says:

    really nice collection of images

  10. These are great ways for taking amazing pictures. The acting natural and pretending you are not having picture taken are the best looking pictures in my opinion. Thanks for sharing

  11. Faraz says:

    Thank you very much the detailed guide. Very useful info.

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