landscape photography tips

Started Apr 15, 2004 | Discussions thread
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Andy Williams
Andy Williams Forum Pro • Posts: 24,506
landscape photography tips

i was asked to start a thread of some landscape tips and techniques, so here goes. please, would everyone in the stf please add your favorite tip or technique, and an example to support it? let's fill this thread up!

ok, some basics... always be hunting for a new scene - carry a notebook or journal with you so you can note the lighting of a particular scene you like, the direction of the sunlight at certain times of the day, and also how it changes by season. make a note in your calendar to go back at a certain time, for example when the leaves are changing or something like that. my journal is full of shots that i've yet to take

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 filters are quite useful in managing exposures, too.

general: 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 oof while the main subject in the distance is sharp, and framed by the leaves of that tree.

regarding exposure: early and late in the day you must watch your exposure carefully, as the light changes very fast! you also may need to nudge your iso if you are staying within a certain exposure range. learn to shoot in manual mode if you can, taking control over the camera vs it having control over you. at a minimum, use either aperture or shutter priority.

camera settings: when shooting jpg, i prefer to set the in-camera sharpening, contrast, and saturation to low, on the 7x7 and 828. i'd rather do these adjustments in post. don't forget to watch your iso...

try to include some foreground interest and bracket your exposures if shooting jpg. shoot raw if you have an 828. raw will allow you the most flexibility in post to squeeze every last bit of good exposure out of your shots. you can develop multiple images, to come up with good dynamic range shots like these:

remember, 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!

you can also shoot in ir for a whole new look:

where do you put the horizon? many folks say don't put it dead center. well, i say, rules, schmules! i think it works in these two shots:

but if the sky is the main event, then give the sky a bigger portion of the image (closer to 2/3s of the image frame)

keep an eye out for reflections, too

i made the lake the main event here, because i wanted to feature the colors of the sky reflected in the wavelets:

try to compose so that the viewer has a "path to follow"

look for interesting ways to frame your scene:

give the viewer a lot of bang for their buck... multiple elements such as this statue, the boats, and the interesting building far off keep the viewer engaged:

be prepared for anything. and almost anything can be a 'scape. i was on my way into dinner, and took five minutes here at the two georges, shot off about 6 or 7 shots, and ended up with this one, which the owner was happy to buy from me:

watch for the "sweet light," that magical half-hour to hour 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. that's how i got this shot:

this is not to say that you can't get good landscapes in the middle of the day. you can - it's just harder. in fact, there was just an article in one of the photog mags this month talking about this. remember - rules are made to be broken! there are no rules! except when there are, heheheheh.....

sorry for all the winter-ish shots but now that spring is here, i can shoot these locations again and get a whole new look! and remember, please contribute your tips here, we can all learn from each other!

my parting advice: print your shots! there's nothing more satisfying than a 11x14 or 16x20 of your lovely landscape hanging on your walls

enjoy (landscape) photography, -- galleries

 Andy Williams's gear list:Andy Williams's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a9 Sony a7R III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Sony FE 70-200 F4 +4 more
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