3 Big Tips to improve your Landscape Photography

Getting good landscape photographs is a real art form. Many people have some good luck with getting lovely snapshots with their cameras because they are at the right place at the right time. While these snapshots have their merit, yet they really don’t stack up to a well planned and well timed professional photo.

a photo of a sunset at milford sound and mitre peak

So what does it take to move your photographs from a lucky snap shot to a beautiful piece of art that people will want to buy to put on their wall? There are a few elements and luck really does play a big part in the perfect photograph but you can increase your chances of capturing that magic photograph by good planning and leaving yourself plenty of time to get the photo. So here are three tips.

1, You can improve your landscape photography by planning your photo shoot well.

It sounds like a simple tip but it really is the most important part of getting that magic photograph. Most people would rather be spontaneous with their photography and get those great little snap shots as they see the action unfold. Just a little planning can make a big difference if details are not your thing. You can plan your light so photographing first thing in the morning or photographing in the evening just before the sun goes down can really give you interesting light.

a Church at dusk with clouds and sunset

If you are more into details (details can be the difference between an ok photograph and an epic one.) you can plan your location, the best time to be there. The best vantage spot to take your photo from and finally what sort of composition you are after.

a photo of a waterfall panorama

2, You can improve your landscape photography by not being in a rush.

Another simple tip but it also makes a huge difference. This does not mean that you can take your time while taking your photos. For example, you have to work very fast while photographing a sunset. If you are not in a rush to get to your location and set up, the you have time to work out what the best vantage point is and then you wait for the goodness. Also give yourself lots of time to view what is going on. Time to get the clouds in the right place. Time for the tide to be right, or time for the wind to calm down. Time can be the thing that gets you that perfect composition.

a foggy beach with a cow in a spot of sunlight

3, You can improve your landscape photography owning a good tripod.

There are a few reasons why a good tripod is a real investment in your photography. You can compose your image with the camera on the tripod and then wait for the right moment, or several best moments to take your photo. This is a big help if you are stitching images together later on the computer. Everything is nicely lined up and easier to edit. The computer aside, if your camera is all set up on a tripod and is ready to go, all you have to do is check your exposure and click away. You don’t waste time recomposing and refocusing.

a photo of an deserted and rugged beach with rocky cliffs
Also if you are photographing in the early or later parts of the day, the tripod will mean that you can take longer exposures and not worry about camera shake. This is a big help when photographing at dawn or dusk.

a photo of a rocky island in the evening

Now you have the tips and you know the best way to get the best landscape photos, get out there and practice! Just to let you know that we are all human, here is a story about how I almost lost a great photographic opportunity because I didn’t fully follow tips one and two.

the remains of a wharf at dusk

I had some free time and I had been wanting to photograph the remains of a wharf as a long exposure for some time. I checked a few things and all of the elements added up which meant that I could possibly get the photograph that I had been after.

  • The wind was right for this location.
  • The tide was right for this location. (at the wrong tide there is nothing there but mud.)
  • Even the moon was right which meant that if it was dark, I could get some nice moonlight to illuminate the photograph.
  • The weather was not the best but I was willing to take a punt.

The thing that I neglected to double check was the traveling time to the destination which took quite a bit of time longer than I expected. This means that as soon as I arrived, it was all happening. I had to rush around setting up and I hurriedly managed to get a few photos before the sun went down. If I was another 5 minutes later, I would have missed it all. Although I was lucky this time, hopefully I have learned from this and I won’t repeat the mistake.


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