Landscape Photography Tips

3 Simple Landscape Photography Tips to Help Improve Your Images

Have you noticed how when you get home from a walk your photographs recording the day  just seem to be lacking something?

You look at the images and they are not exciting anymore.

They don’t quite capture the magical “tingle down the spin” you were experiencing whilst you were there.

The trees seem small and the hills never seem to convey how vast they really are. Or the sky just bleaches out the rest of the scenery and you have a flat, dark landscape image that really doesn’t inspire you to go back or show off your photos to fellow walkers.

Never fear The Ninja is here!

the walking ninja logo

” It doesn’t matter if you use a phone camera or have a top-of-the-range, all-whistles, mega expensive DSLR “

By following these 3 simple steps to better landscape photography you will see all the beauty captured in your images as if you were there in person again.

Don’t waste another holiday or day trip out by coming back with useless photos.

Capture them like a professional.

Here’s how.

It doesn’t matter if you use a phone camera or have a top-of-the-range, all-whistles, mega expensive DSLR – if you don’t know the basics of image creation you will never end up with fabulous landscape images.

Using these 3 simple steps you will learn to see your landscape photography in a different way and will end up with some great images.

  1. Frame Properly
  2. Using Light
  3. Find Your Focus

This video from Apple demonstrates how to shoot a horizon on your iPhone, but it could be any camera really, it just shows the principles behind great landscape photography.

How To Frame An Image

Composition is key when you want to create beautiful landscapes.

When you look through your viewfinder or at your digital screen, imagine it split into thirds, both horizontally and vertically.

Now move your camera up or down so the horizon sits on either the top third or lower third.

If you want more sky in your final image, put the horizon on the lower third of the screen. If you want more land then let the sky finish at the upper third.

All this up and down will help balance out your landscape photos.

rule-of-thirds-snow-scene
Using the "rule of thirds", this image shows the horizon on the bottom third and the tree on the right third. A nicely balanced photograph.

The same goes with the vertical thirds.

Place an object of interest, like a rock or tree, on the right or left hand third. This will help frame your images and again balance everything out nicely.

Alternatively, use a near by tree to frame the side and top of an image. Again, this will help with balance and convey a depth of field to your image, meaning people will get a feel for how vast the landscape actually is. You have done this by showing the tree in close-up by using it to frame your shot and without having it stuck in the middle of the photo.

Clever you. Now congratulate yourself!

How To Use Light To Sculpture Your Images

Look at the proposed site of your photo and decide what needs to be seen.

Now focus on that point and adapt your exposure using either the cameraphone on-screen adjustments or your DSLR exposure controls.

If you want to show the details in the hills and mountains, focus on them and adjust the exposure. If there is a massive difference in light between the sky and land you will never be able to show both off at the same time unless you use professional lens filters – but that’s another story all together.

sky-focused-image-scotland
Focusing on the sky means the foreground is under exposed and the horizon is on the bottom third of the image.

Again, using framing should help because you can adjust the exposure for the hills and use the tree frame from lesson one to help darken and frame the sky.

Don’t forget, if you are photographing reflective surfaces like a river, the same rule applies. Decide what you want to show most of. The river reflects the light from the sky, so it will always be brighter than the surrounding land.

So, look, study and expose for the area you want to see most of in your photography.

How To Use Focus Points To Draw Attention In Your Photography

As far as I’m concerned a photograph should stop you in your tracks and make you comment on something.

Using points of interest in your photography will also help you with your image framing and exposure decisions.

If a tree is particularly interesting, align it in one of the imaginary thirds of your screen and adjust the exposure for that part of your image. Rather than putting the tree in the middle of the shot, which is what most people do, place it in the thirds and this will draw attention to it more.

It’s the same with mountain ranges.

If you want to show off the vastness of a scene, focus and expose for the mountain ranges. Leave everything in the foreground blurred or under-exposed and concentrate on the beauty of the mountains.

Again, don’t forget to arrange them on the thirds.

If you have a particularly interesting rock, tree or other point of interest, try lowering your camera and shooting upwards at it to give a more interesting angle and a depth of how huge it is.

All these quick little fixes will definitely improve your landscape photography and help you create more memorable images of your hiking trips.

Next time you are out with your camera/phone think before you press click!

I hope you have enjoyed learning these 3 simple but effective photography tips and let me know how you get on. Show us your images and tell us how you feel the lessons here have helped you improve your photography.

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