Sep 21, 2004

Top Ten Landscape Photography Tips

1) Try and have some foreground interest. This sets it apart and gives more depth and freedom for the eye to explore.

2) Seek out and take advantage of unique lighting situations. Flat noon shots are often too contrasty and dull. Longer shadows can be achieved by taking early morning shots and evening shots. Watch your exposure carefully, as the light changes very fast! You also may need to adjust your ISO if you are staying within a certain exposure range.

3) You don't have to have clouds in a sunset or sunrise for a nice effect. Watch for the "golden hour," that magical time early in the morning and late in the day. turn around....look all around you, because often behind you or off to your side will be some of the best lighting you'll see all day.

4) Shoot at lower angles to get a fresh point of view. As for snow, shoot for highlight detail so the snow has detail. Blown out (over-exposed) snow looks cheap.

5) Don't center objects of interest!

6) As seen with some of my other examples, use strong contrast to show off unique shapes. Shadow is fine as long as there is light to define the shape around it.

7) Overcast days are not always blown days for shooting. Especially after a rain or storm, you can get some great lighting shots. With the sun peeking through some areas and blanketing shadow in others. Shooting on a gloomy day can often yield great results; the mist, the fog, the rain, the snow. gloomy day shots respond well to post processing techniques, too so don't stay in, get out!

8) Gear: tripod and remote is a must. polarizer will be very helpful in many cases. if in doubt, use it, and then take another shot without it. ND (neutral density) filters are quite useful in managing exposures, too.

9) Make sure your filters and lens are clean..don't forget to use your lens hood! while most landscapes you want max dof, try some interesting shots with a selective focus - for example the leaves of a tree out of focus while the main subject in the distance is sharp, and framed by the leaves of that tree.

10) My parting advice: print your shots! there's nothing more satisfying than a 11x14 or 16x20 of your lovely landscape hanging on your wall.