7 Fundamental Tips for Photographing Landscapes

Landscape photography is one big subject

And there's no one place that can ever hold all the knowledge about it. For that very reason, it's most likely that you have a tip or two of your own on landscape photography that haven't listed here or that I just plain donít know anything about. If that is the case, please send it along with an image that illustrates the tip so that I may share with our readers. If it's used here on my site, you'll get credit for the tip and image. ✓

Stockton Marina Sunset

For the photographer, drawn to a dramatic scene that is colorful or tranquil, photographing landscapes is a subject which most often promises satisfactory results. Landscapes provide unlimited deductions as the photographer may have many very influential aspects to assist him or her.

There are a few fundamental rules to help interpret the issues most often are seen in photographing landscapes.

Time of The Year

A major aspect, as every season puts special feelings forward. There's renewal in the spring, plethora in summer time, sadness in the fall and drabness in the winter time, etc.

Fall leaves after a rain

Time of The Day

Very influential, as the landscape mood constantly shifts between the hours of dawn to dusk, even more so if weather conditions are changing. Add in space, lighting, extraordinary or varied topography, natural occurrences, a commanding building or object aspects, and it's real easy to grasp why landscape becomes a subject most often photographed.

Click a Photo for larger view
Stucco Fence photo in February
Stucco fence

Long Narrow Porch
Long Narrow Porch

Brookside Landscaping Photo

Micke Grove

So why are so landscape photographs frequently disappointing. For example, an awesome panoramic view,, that you shot fails to express the landscape scene as you saw it. it all seemed so perfect, there was adequate light to provide ample depth of field, dazzling color, beautiful trees, rolling hills, a flowing river, luminous clouds - even an ivy covered castle. So What happened?

Select and Concentrate on a Small Section

By doing this, your images will turn out more successful than just pointing your camera at the broad stretch and hope to take in the entire scene. Concentrate on the outstanding feature when thinking of a landscape from an image point of view, The emphasis should be placed on a single area of the scene to establish a structure and help guide the eye of the viewer, keeping them from otherwise wandering around searching for something to land on. Your aim should be a central feature, allowing other elements to be subordinate to it.

Landscape Space is Best Described in Perspective Terms

Linear perspective is when lines lessen and converge in the horizon direction ; Aerial perspective is the dimensions of space amid the viewer and a far off horizon which becomes separated by tonal areas, where colors leave behind their strength as they withdraw into the distance, and objects leave their definition behind. Perspective could also include the foreground, the distance in the middle and the background, however a wide-open landscape space shot will be leave viewers unconvinced if you do not capture the relation to the foreground with the distant horizon by employing the distance in the middle. You can do this by embracing a stone wall, or a cluster of bushes.

Worst Time of Day

A midday scene, when the sun is directly above is the absolute worst possible photography lighting, as it totally destroys form and devalues texture. Just imagine the landscape as a huge still life, think of the sun being a bright spotlight and you're photographing the form texture. Select the time of day, either dawn or sunset as the sun is hanging low in the sky

Middle Distance

It is most common to place the main subject within the middle distance, the trick is to choose a location with an angle that will keep the foreground of interest, but the move the eye into the middle distance. A lot of skill goes into putting a picture together with a declining of shapes, hues and forms to create a harmonious balance, generating order from the disorder in nature. Rule of Thirds Just remember the rule of thirds, especially photographing landscapes. The rule of thirds is an imagined tic-tac-toe drawing placed over an image to split it into nine identical sized squares. The strongest focal points are the four intersections where those lines come together . The actual lines become the number two strongest focal points. Supporters of the technique contend that a subject aligned within these points delivers more tension, oomph and interest into your composition than simply aligning the subject in the middle

Rule of Thirds

Just remember the rule of thirds, especially photographing landscapes. The rule of thirds is an imagined tic-tac-toe drawing placed over an image to split it into nine identical sized squares. The strongest focal points are the four intersections where those lines come together . The actual lines become the number two strongest focal points. Supporters of the technique contend that a subject aligned within these points dellivers more tension, oomph and interest into your composition than simply aligning the subject in the middle

New Hampshire flaa leaves at a lake

If you are serious about landscapes, architecture photography, long telephoto shots or low light and night photography, a quality tripod and an even better tripod head may represent your best digital camera accessory. The importance of a good tripod can not be underestimated when you demand the ultimate image quality.

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See my article on selecting a landscape lens. updated article Apr 8, 2011

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