From sun-kissed mountain ranges to magnificent seascapes, here are our tips on capturing the best landscape photographs.
Invest in a wide-angle lens
Landscape photography is a genre where you can use a wide range of lenses, from wide-angle to telephoto. Ultimately, the location and subject will always determine your focal length and technique, but having an ultra wide-angle lens in your kit will always come in handy! For an APS-C camera, look for lenses with a focal range of 10-20mm and 15-30mm for full frame cameras.
Maximize your depth of field
While you might want to get creative at times and experiment with your depth of field, a general approach is to use the smallest aperture available to ensure that most of your scene is in focus. Do note that by using a smaller aperture, the amount of light available is reduced, so you might have to compensate by either increasing your ISO or reducing your shutter speed.
Always bring a tripod
A combination of a slower shutter speed and small aperture will most likely require you to use a tripod – unless you want blur photos! This ensures that your camera stays completely still, and eliminate as much motion blur as possible. Look for carbon fiber tripods (light and durable), and if possible, consider using a remote shutter release alongside.
With so much going on in a photo, choosing the right subject to ensure your entire shot is in focus can be tricky. The trick here is to ensure no matter what landscape you are trying to capture, there should be at least 1 main focal point (think a cliff in a seaside shot or a house in sprawling lands). This also ensures your viewer’s eye doesn’t end up wandering all over the photo. Once you’ve determined this object, manually focus with your focus ring, then use your digital screen to zoom in all the way to ensure it is sharp. Tip: if your foreground is sharp but not the background, set the focus further back (and vice versa).
Filters aren’t just for Instagram! Polarising and ND filters are essential in your landscape photography kit, as they help to deepen blue skies, remove glare, reduce reflections and increase colour saturation. Check out our article on the different filters, and which you should get.
Don’t forget blue hour
Most people know of the golden hour – that hour or so just before sunset where the world is bathed in a beautiful, golden light, helping you to achieve that dreamy, ethereal glow in your photos. But what about blue hour? Basically twilight (after the golden hour has passed), this time of the day is dominated by blue and violet wavelengths, lending your photo a wonderfully cool blue light. Depending on your scene, this could add much needed “mood lighting” to your shot.
Lines are especially important in landscape photography, as scenes can be so vast sometimes it’s hard for the eye to know where to look. Lines in your photo helps to guide the viewers eye towards a particular point, lend an image depth and scale or create interesting patterns.
When you are shooting, look out for naturally occurring lines in the scene and see how to best incorporate them.
When you think of landscape photos, what comes to mind? Is it a still sunset scene of mountain ranges, or a forest reflected in a calm lake? These shots can be beautiful, and we’ve taken plenty of them in our career, but adding movement into such a scene can make your shot dramatically more interesting. For example, a flock of birds flying over the lake or fast moving cloud behind the mountain range. What about water flowing over a water fall, or the sea rushing over sandy shores? Mother nature is rarely (if ever), completely still, so don’t be afraid to add some little touches of movement in your shot.
Work with the weather
So you’ve planned to capture a beautiful sunrise at the beach but just as you’ve finished your set up, it begins to storm. What do you do? Well, ideally you would have already prepared for all weather conditions, so in this case, we would whip out our protective covers and continue shooting, but this time attempting to capture lightning, fierce waves and ominous clouds. Bad weather doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your shoot – it just means you’ll have to change your expectations and get creative (although do leave if it’s dangerous).