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How To Take Breathtaking Landscape Photos

Shoot great landscape photos with these 7 tips!

Are you a fan of landscape photos? Landscapes are a lot of fun to take - from pictures of mountains and rivers to peaceful shots of the setting sun. Whenever I’m on vacation, I always try to look for creative ways to shoot the landscape. 

Better yet, if you have the time and means, landscapes give you an opportunity to stitch pictures together to create a panorama. So let’s take a look at some tips for shooting great landscape photos:

  1. Use a tripod - Always bring a tripod if you plan on shooting landscapes. Even if the day is sunny, you may need to use a small aperture to achieve a great depth of field.

    In such cases, you may be using a low shutter speed – which leads to camera shake if you can’t hold the camera stable in your hands. Hence the need for a tripod. If you need a good travel tripod, I recommend the Vanguard Tourist-2 – I’ve used it for years and it functions very well.
  2. Use a cable release - One good tip is to always carry a cable release with you. Instead of using the timer function on the camera, use the cable release. This ensures that you can trigger the shutter at precisely the right timing. In turn, this leads to reduced camera shake and a more beautiful photo.
  3. Use the correct filters - Filters are important when taking landscape photos. There are different types of filters that I use – polarizers, neutral density filters and graduated neutral density filters.

    Polarizers are useful for reducing glare from water and other reflective surfaces. These create a more well-balanced and beautiful picture.

    Neutral density filters will stop a specified amount of light entering the camera. I tend to use these for shooting waterfalls on a sunny day.

    Graduated neutral density filters are a slight variation of this – they are dark on top and clear on the bottom, creating a ‘gradual transition’ from the dark to clear area. These filters are good for blocking out bright parts of a scene (say the sky) to create a more evenly exposed picture.
  4. Research the landscape before your go there - One thing to do before taking landscape photos is to do some background research on the landscape. If you’re taking pictures of the Niagara Falls, or the Grand Canyon, try to do some background study on what the most scenic spots are.

    It is also a good idea to check out the weather conditions of the place. Check up the papers – if the weather doesn’t look good, you may want to try shooting another day.
  5. Have a selection of lenses - For shooting landscape photos, it’s usually best to bring wide-angle lenses. I also bring along a telephoto lens in case I want to shot some creative, zoomed-in shots.
  6. Consider the composition of the scene - Another thing to remember is that composition rules are still important in landscape photos. Make sure you have something in the foreground, mid-ground and background.
  7. Shoot at the right time - For landscape photography, one thing I realize is that you should avoid shooting during mid-day. There is a lot of harsh lighting and bad shadow effects during that period. Early morning or late afternoon tends to be best.

As you can see, landscape photography poses its own challenges. However, bear the above tips in mind the next time you’re taking these photos, and I’m sure you’ll be much happier with your prints!

About the Author:

Gary Hendricks is the editor of Basic-Digital-Photography.com, a hobby site providing tips and tricks on buying the best digital cameras, as well as shooting great photos.

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