Beginners who pick up their first camera like to take pictures of nature and landscapes. There is something special in getting out of town and capturing the amazing beauty that surrounds. There is something beckoning in the silence and stillness of waiting for the ideal moment to release the camera shutter, in search of a better point of view, in observing how light changes the surrounding space.
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Here are some tips for novice photographers regarding landscape photography that are sure to come in handy. We have no doubt about that.
Maximize Depth of Field
Of course, there may be times when you want to show a little creativity and experiment, however, the normal approach is to focus as much of your scene as possible. The easiest way to do this is to cover the diaphragm as much as possible. The smaller the aperture value, the greater the depth of field of pictures. Remember that a smaller aperture means that less light enters the image sensor, so you need to compensate for this by increasing the ISO, or increasing the shutter speed, or both of these options.
Use a tripod
Due to the longer shutter speed that you will have to choose to compensate for the small aperture, you will need to find a way to keep the camera stationary during exposure, for example, mount the camera on a tripod . But even if you shoot at high shutter speeds, it’s still useful to use a tripod for good quality shots. In addition, for greater stillness of the camera, you can use the shutter release mechanism using a cable or wireless network so that even the movement of the hand pressing the shutter button does not affect the picture.
Look for a focal point
All pictures need some kind of focus, and landscapes are no exception. Unfocused landscape photos look pretty empty and make viewers pass by without catching their eye. Focal points in landscapes can take various forms and can vary from a building or structure to a remarkable tree, boulder or rock formation, silhouette, etc. Think not only about what is in the center of the focus, but also about where you place it, this focus. Use the following rule: the most optimal focus point is the line along which the border of a third of the distance to the horizon passes. Those. if, for example, your camera is 900 meters from the horizon, set focus on a line 300 meters from the camera.
There is an element that can highlight your landscape shots in a special way – this is a carefully thought-out foreground. It seems to provide the viewer with a path into the image and creates a feeling of the depth of space.
Mind the sky
Another important element of the landscape is the sky. Most landscapes will have a dominant foreground or sky. If you don’t have either of these, your picture can be quite boring. If the sky is dull and dull, do not let it dominate the photo, place the horizon in the upper third of the image (however, make sure that the foreground looks interesting). In the case when the sky is filled with drama, colors and interesting cloud formations, you can put a lower horizon in the frame. Think about how to improve the sky – using post-processing in a graphics editor, or using filters (for example, a polarizing filter adds color and contrast).
One of the questions you need to ask yourself when you take landscape shots is, “How do I drive the viewer’s eye”? There are several ways to do this, one of the best ways is to show the audience the lines that will lead them to the image, to place in the foreground some element that will create such a leading line of sight. The lines give depth to the image , scale, and can be interesting on their own, creating patterns and drawings in the picture.
Catch the movement
When most people think of landscapes, they think of a calm, serene, and passive environment. However, landscapes are rarely completely still, and the transmission of this natural movement adds drama and mood to the picture. The wind is swaying the trees, the waves are rolling on the beach, the waterfall, the flight of birds , the movement of the clouds – these are examples of natural movements in the landscape. Capturing this movement usually means you need to use a slower shutter speed (sometimes quite a few seconds). Of course, this means that more light will reach the sensor and you should use either a small aperture or some kind of filter, or even shoot at the beginning or end of the day when there is less light.
Work with the weather
The scene can change dramatically at any time depending on the weather. Of great importance is the choice of the right time for taking pictures. Many novice photographers see a sunny day and think that this is the best time for walking with a camera. But a cloudy day that threatens with rain can provide a much better opportunity to create an image with a real mood and ominous overtones. Look for storms, wind, fog, dramatic clouds, and the sun shining through the dark sky, rainbow, sunsets and sunrises. And work with these weather changes, and not just expect the next sunny day with a simple blue sky.
Work with the Golden Hour
There are experienced landscape photographers who never take landscapes during the day. Their only time of shooting is dawn and twilight, the “golden” clock, when the best light and landscapes come to life as if. Another reason is the angle of inclination of the rays of light and how light can affect the scene, creating interesting patterns, volumes and textures.
About the skyline
This is old advice, but good – always take a look at the horizon line before taking a landscape shot.
- Two control questions that you should always keep in mind:
- Skyline without tilt? Although you can always straighten the image later in post-processing, it will be easier if you do it right when shooting;
Where is the horizon line in the composition? According to the rules of composition, the horizon line is on one of the lines of a third of the image (either upper or lower), and not clearly in the middle. Of course, the rules are designed to be broken, but the “rule of thirds” usually works. You can read more about this in our article “How to apply the Rule of Thirds in portrait and street photography . ”
Change the shooting point
You can even lie down on the ground to take pictures from a low point or find a higher point of view for shooting. Feel free to experiment. Not everyone is taking pictures at eye level and only what is right in front of the nose. Explore the environment, try new things, then you can find something really unique.
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