5 Tips to Make Your Landscape Photography Come Alive
Ever wonder how is it that some landscape photos look like they were not taken on this planet? We have all attempted to shoot landscapes, and more often than not we are disappointed once we look at the back of the camera. Is it just that the camera can’t capture what our eyes are seeing, or is it something else? Lament no more, for these 5 simple tips will be the difference maker on your next landscape shoot.
1. When in doubt GO WIDE! Really wide!
This goes without saying, but short of going as wide as a fish-eye lens every time you are faced with selecting a lens for landscape photography, make sure to use the widest lens in your glass arsenal. You can always crop the final shot to what you think will look best. Wide lenses will make your landscape photos look epic, and will do justice to what your eyes are actually seeing.
2. Shoot early or shoot late!
The best conditions for landscape photography are either at sunrise or at sunset. That is when you get the magic light which will transform your shot. Light is the most important component of photography no matter what you are shooting, but when it comes to landscape photography, after dawn and before dusk are the only times you are going to be guaranteed to have the best lighting conditions.
3. Don’t shoot from the same place tourists do.
If you take your shots from the same platform as all the other tourists do, then you are not shooting anything special. As Scott Kelby says, “It only proves that you’ve been there.” It’s going to be hard, but the difference is vantage point. You may need to rough it out, and finagle your way to a spot that mountain goats are more comfortable going, but that is going to be the difference maker.
4. Focus on everything! Literally and figuratively.
Your aperture needs to be at high numbers so that you can get the longest and deepest depth of field. You want everything to be in focus, down to the tiny bits and pieces, as far as eye can see. I’m not going to venture to say that you need to shoot at f22, but close. You definitely want the sharpest part of your lens to be at work when you want to capture that much detail in such a wide shot.
5. Tripod it, even if you can stand still as a statue.
You are going to be shooting in low light conditions if you are observing tip number two. So you HAVE TO have your camera on a tripod, and even shoot remote if you can. To make sure everything is as sharp as it can be, you don’t want even the slightest movement when capturing your shot. You will not notice it on the back of your camera, but when you blow that image up on your 5K screen you’ll see the difference a tripod makes.
Bonus Tip: Contrast is your friend.
Once you’ve shot your gorgeous RAW landscape image, then it’s post-production time. Don’t be shy about adding as much contrast as your image can handle. Contrast is literally the difference between what you are actually seeing and what your camera captures. So pull that dial to the right and keep on going.
Of course a lot of post-production goes into the landscape photos you see on the Internet, but most often, if you observe these simple tips you will have a great shot to start with. How you decide to enhance it Lightroom or Photoshop is going to be up to you.
If you have tips of your own that have been the difference maker in your landscape shots, do share them with us via the comments below.