Feb 07

9 Great Landscape Photography Tips

9 Great Landscape Photography Tips

The Contest

A couple of days ago I entered into a photography contest through the Arlington Museum of Art called Image as Art. The winners get a decent sum of money ($1,000 for first place) and the top 100 entries get the honor of being displayed in an exhibit which takes place at the same time as their Ansel Adams exhibit. If you do not know who Ansel Adams is, I strongly suggest you look up some of his work. He is quite famous for his work, and he has especially great landscapes. In hopes of having the opportunity to display my work in an art museum and winning some extra cash, I entered in the contest. The theme was “the landscape.” Now, landscapes can be tricky. Not just any landscape will do, but here are some tips on how to create that awesome landscape photo that you’ve been looking for.

Tips & Tricks

Keep in mind that not all landscape photos should follow these “rules.”  As some would say, rules are meant to be broken. But for most cases, here are a couple of things you can do to make landscapes more intriguing.

1. The Rule of Thirds. See my previous post The Rule of Thirds for more specifics. The idea here is to split the photograph into three horizontal areas and three vertical areas (each with equal space). With landscapes, you can improve the look by making the horizon line near the horizontal lines. This means that instead of putting the horizon line in the center of the shot, try moving it up or down. (If you’re using a horizon, don’t forget to make sure it’s straight in your photo).

2. Depth of Field. Be sure to consider your depth of field when composing your photo. Most of the time landscapes call for a maximized depth of field.

3. Focal Point. Every landscape photo needs that eye catching thing (whether it be a building, a tree, a person, a big rock, etc.). Also consider the rule of thirds when placing your focal point in your shot.

4. Don’t forget about your foreground. Foregrounds add depth and make the shot more dynamic and interesting.

5. Leading Lines. See my other post on Leading Lines and how to use them in your shots.

6. Change your angle. The easiest shot is the one where you stand straight up and snap a picture. But if you have the time, experiment by laying down on the ground, or finding higher ground to take the shot from above.

7. Time of Day. There’s this thing called the Golden Hours (sometimes known as the Magic Hours). This is the hours before sunset and after sunrise where the lighting creates more dynamic and colorful photos. If those times of day aren’t as convenient as the middle of the day, don’t worry, for there are plenty of photography opportunities during the daytime.

8. Movement. Whether it’s the trees, the grass, or some water, adjusting your aperture makes more a smoother shot.

9. The Weather. We can’t always control when we’re out taking photos (a prime example is on vacations, where there is usually time restraints). But if you can control the day you go, try and pick a day that is partly cloudy. Blues skies create more light, but this can create harsh shadows. A day that is too cloudy can hurt clarity if there’s not enough light outside. Also, the clouds make the shot that much more interesting.

Keep in mind that there are exceptions to the tips. Look for the embodiment of some of these tips in my photos below.

My Entires

Here are my entires for the Image as Art photo contest:

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