Landscape Photography Tips

Written by:

In support of this month’s photo challenge subject, here are five tips to improve upon your landscape photography.

One – Find your focal point. While the landscape itself may be the subject of your photograph, the viewer still needs a point upon which they can rest their eyes. Placing a point of focus within the photograph (remember your rule of thirds!) helps the picture to avoid feeling empty or expressionless.

Two – Add a point of perspective. Vistas can become more dramatic if there is something within the photograph that demonstrates differences in size and distance. In the shot above of the Upper Falls in Yellowstone National Park, the tiny people standing on the ledge of to the right provide a better understanding of just how big these falls are.

Three – Dawn and dusk are premium photography times, but high noon can work just as well. Shoot at dawn and dusk to get contrast and shadow. However, if you’re going for bold colors and blue skies, noon can also be a good time of day for photography. Consider this shot above of the Portland Head Light in Maine. It was shot at high noon, almost on the dot. The shot works because of the clean, white lines of the lighthouse and the contrast of the red roof against the blue sky. Of course, this is also in keeping with my personal believe that it’s just hard to take a BAD shot of this particular landmark.

Four – Keep an eye on the horizon. For the most part, unless you’re shooting for something unique or horizon-less, make sure the horizon is straight. Compose it along the lines of thirds (one-third up from the bottom of the frame, or one-third down from the top of the frame), rather than centering it straight across. Composing the shot in this manner draws the viewer’s eye with emphasis upon the sky or the ground. Centering the horizon give the view nothing for the eye to follow along. Alternately, you can use converging lines in an interesting framing effect, in place of a horizon, as demonstrated in the shot above.

Five – Vary your depth of field. Try taking multiple shots of a landscape, but varying the depth of field to offer changes in perspective. A wide depth of field brings the entire area into focus and give an impression of space. A shallow depth of field brings foreground items into focus and blurs the background, which gives a sense of intimacy within a vast area.

What are your landscape photography tips? Please feel free to share them in the comments!

Photo credits (in order of appearance):
- “Lost in the Landscape” by RichardO on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Even Flow” by Tiffany Joyce
- “Portland Head Light” by Tiffany Joyce.
- “HDR Landscape” by Paul Stevenson on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Rail’s Perspective” by Chef Randen on Flickr Creative Commons.

Previous Post:

  • Barbara

    If I’d follow this advice, I’d be taking a sunset shot with a main subject in the middle and composed in thirds. That means I’d end up with a generic and bland looking shot that’s been done countless times before.

  • Barbara

    If I'd follow this advice, I'd be taking a sunset shot with a main subject in the middle and composed in thirds. That means I'd end up with a generic and bland looking shot that's been done countless times before.