10 Landscape Photography Tips Every Beginner Should Know

Landscape photography is a very popular and rewarding genre of photography, but it can also be a challenging one for beginners. Being able to fully encapsulate the beauty of nature takes experience, patience, and a broad understanding of the many different techniques and types of equipment that are involved. 

Let’s take a look at some popular landscape photography tips and tricks that will take your photography game to the next level.

mountains and steaming volcano in the early morning mist

Landscape Photography Tips

There are a variety of landscape photography beginner tips that might seem to be almost common sense, but at the same time, very important to keep in mind. 

1. Always research and plan accordingly

Capturing stunning landscape images requires thorough research on the location you want to photograph. This means you’ll want to look at the upcoming weather forecasts for the dates you plan to do your photography session. If you’re wanting to capture majestic sunset landscape photography photos, then check on times that sunsets occur before you start making your way out.

If you want, visit the location you have in mind ahead of time if possible to get a sense of the area and identify potential compositions. Take note of any interesting features or elements that you may want to include in your photos. Dress appropriately for the weather and terrain you’ll be encountering. Bring snacks, water, and any other necessary supplies.

2. Make sure you have the correct gear

Having just the right gear for your landscape photography can make the entire process much easier. A camera with manual controls and a wide-angle lens can help beginners get the perfect shots of the vastness of a landscape. Get a solid tripod that’ll keep your camera steady while taking shots. 

This is especially important when you’re using slower shutter speeds or are trying to capture photos in environments with lower light. If you want to take things a step further, consider experimenting with filters so you can achieve better exposure. Filters can help you achieve creative effects with your landscape photos. Something like a polarizing filter can help you to reduce glare and increase color saturation in your photos.

3. Consider the light

Light is extremely important in landscape photography. Sometimes beginner photographers can forget about this aspect. The quality and color of light can greatly affect the mood and atmosphere of your images. 

Golden hour: If you’re wanting to get soft and warm images, then consider shooting during the golden hour. The golden hour is the hour after sunrise and before sunset, and it’s widely known as one of the best times for landscape photography. 

Direction of light: Pay attention to the direction of the light, as it can affect the mood and atmosphere of your photo. Front lighting (when the sun is behind you) can provide even lighting and reveal detail, while side lighting can create depth and texture.

Contrast: Look for areas of contrast in your scene, such as shadows and highlights, to add interest and depth to your photo. This can help create a more dynamic and engaging image.

Weather: The weather can have a big impact on the lighting in your photo. Overcast skies can create soft, diffused light that is great for capturing moody landscapes, while sunny days can provide bright, vibrant light that is ideal for capturing vivid colors.

Color temperature: The color and mood of your photo might be affected by the light’s color temperature, so pay attention to that. Cooler hues like blue and green can foster a more calm and peaceful atmosphere, while warmer hues like orange and yellow are frequently linked with sunsets.

Don’t be afraid of getting outside and having some landscape photography sessions at different times of the day amidst different weather conditions. While a gloomy sky can produce a moody and atmospheric feeling, harsh midday sunlight can produce interesting contrasts and shadows.

4. Make use of compositional techniques

The right composition is important and should be a part of any guide discussing landscape photography tips & tricks. One of the most popular composition techniques is known as the rule of thirds. This is where you divide the frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically and then place the subject along one of the lines at the intersection points. 

Using the rule of thirds can help you create more balanced compositions. You can also use this technique to create more depth and visual flow in your photos. With landscape photography, the rule of thirds can highlight the subject you’re focusing on and create more perspective in your photo. 

For example, placing the horizon along the top or bottom third of the image can create a sense of depth and emphasize the sky or foreground. Similarly, placing a tree or rock formation along one of the lines or intersections can add interest and balance to the composition.

5. Think about using leading lines

Another technique to keep in mind with landscape photography is known as leading lines. Leading lines are visual elements used in landscape photography to direct the viewer’s attention to a particular area of interest. These lines can be formed by man-made structures like bridges, fences, or buildings, or they can be found in the natural landscape like roads, trails, rivers, or tree lines.

Here are some tips to keep in mind with leading lines:

  • Look for natural lines in the landscape when you’re out scouting for landscape photos to take.
  • Pay attention to man-made structures that can create leading lines sometimes easier than the natural environment can.
  • Experiment with different angles and perspectives to find the most effective way to use the leading lines in your composition.
  • Consider the position of the leading lines in relation to other elements in the image, such as the horizon, to create a sense of balance and harmony.
  • Use leading lines to draw the viewer’s eye towards a specific point of interest, such as a focal point in the landscape.

6. Try out different perspectives

With landscape photography, perspective is everything. For that reason, you won’t want to shy away from experimenting with different perspectives in your shots. Consider shooting from a variety of different angles, distances, and heights. Situate yourself lower to the ground or even climb up on structures or hills to try and get a better view of your subject. 

Drones are also very useful for gaining perspective in your landscape photography shots. With drones, you can get stunning aerial photos of places that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to navigate to. This can be anything from mountains to waterfalls, to vast bodies of water. You can experiment with different angles and elevations and get creative with unique perspectives on the landscapes in front of you.

Consider trying out some of these perspectives in your next landscape photography session:

Low angle: Although shooting at eye level is the most typical perspective for landscape photography, switching up your vantage point can dramatically improve your pictures. Shooting at a low angle is one method for accomplishing this. To capture the image from a worm’s eye view, you might need to get on your hands and knees or even lie down on the ground. This viewpoint can give the foreground in the image a sense of scale and prominence while also giving the image depth and dimension.

High angle: On the other hand, taking shots at a high angle can also result in intriguing and distinctive images. This can entail scaling a hilltop or looking for a high structure to shoot from. For abstract or minimalist compositions, this viewpoint can make the landscape appear flatter and more two-dimensional.

Wide angle: Another technique for altering perspective in landscape photography is to use a wide-angle lens. Wide-angle lenses allow you to capture more of the scene in a single image since they have a broader field of view than standard or telephoto lenses. This can be advantageous for illustrating a landscape’s immensity or for producing a warped or surreal look.

Telephoto: On the other side of the spectrum, using a telephoto lens when photographing landscapes can also produce unique viewpoints. When compared to wide-angle lenses, telephoto lenses have a smaller field of vision, which can be used to isolate and emphasize certain aspects of the image. This can help capture distant subjects like mountains or wildlife or for giving a flat area a sense of depth.

Reflections: Reflections are a popular element in landscape photography, and they may be a fantastic way to give your images more depth and interest. Search for still water, such as lakes or ponds, and try to get a picture of the scenery reflecting in the water. This can offer a sense of serenity and calmness as well as harmony and proportion to the image.

7. Use RAW format

It’s important to get as much information and detail as you can while photographing landscapes. You can achieve this by shooting in RAW format, which captures all of the data from the camera’s sensor without processing or compression. As a result, you’ll have more freedom to modify your images later on.

Shooting in RAW format has other advantages, such as:

More flexibility in post-processing: Brightness, color, and detail are all captured by the camera’s sensor and are all included in the RAW files. As a result, you have greater freedom to change these settings in post-processing without compromising quality. This is especially helpful when photographing landscapes because you might want to change the exposure, contrast, and color balance to create a particular feel or atmosphere.

More experimentation: RAW files enable non-destructive editing, which enables you to change the settings of the photo without permanently altering the original file. This provides you more freedom to experiment with various editing methods and aesthetics without compromising the quality of the source image.

Adjusting white balance and exposure: After the photo has been taken, you can change the white balance of the RAW files. This can be especially helpful when photographing landscapes because the lighting conditions might change suddenly and abruptly. By adjusting the exposure and white balance settings in RAW files to account for these changes, you can produce better final images.

8. Include human elements

Including human elements in landscape photography can introduce an entirely new concept to your photos. There are a variety of positive things that including human elements in your landscape photography can do.

Perspective and scale:  A viewer can get a better and more realistic feeling of scale and perspective by seeing a person in a landscape image. Giving the spectator a clearer sense of the scene’s size and scope might communicate the vastness of the landscape behind the human subject. You can give an image depth and visual interest by placing a subject or item in the foreground.

Telling a story: Landscape photography can be enhanced with human elements and objects to help convey a story and provide context for the viewer. It can help demonstrate how individuals interact with their surroundings. An image of someone standing on a rocky cliff overlooking the ocean, for instance, can evoke feelings of adventure, freedom, and amazement.

Emotion: Similar to telling a story, including a human element in a photo can instill an emotional connection with a viewer. An image of a lone individual strolling along a foggy beach, for instance, can evoke feelings of solitude, introspection, and contemplation.

Originality: Including human elements in your landscape photos can create a sense of originality and creativity. 

9. Keep practicing

Landscape photography is a rewarding and difficult photography genre that can be mastered with effort, perseverance, and originality. There are many ways to practice and hone your landscape photography skills, whether you’re a novice or a seasoned photographer.

Study and analyze other photographers’ work: Studying other photographers’ work is one of the best methods to improve your skills in landscape photography. Analyze the compositions, lighting, and post-processing methods used by photographers whose work inspires you. 

Experiment: Experimenting with various methods and styles is another way to get better at landscape photography. Consider experimenting with different lenses, filters, and camera settings. Try shooting in various lighting situations, such as the golden hour, the blue hour, and at night. If you want to capture the beauty of landscapes in various moods, try taking photos in various seasons and weather conditions.

Work on your post-processing: The use of post-processing in landscape photography is crucial. Learn how to use editing programs like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop to enhance your post-processing skills. Try various editing methods, such as changing exposure, contrast, and the color balance of your photos, and try to come up with your own distinctive look.

Local workshops: You can improve your ability to take landscape photos by using the many resources that are available in and around your community. Join a club or group for photographers, go to seminars and workshops, and use online resources like forums and tutorials. You can also ask other photographers for their opinions to help you figure out where you can improve.

10. Symmetry

The final thing on this list of landscape photography beginner tips is symmetry. Symmetry can add a sense of harmony and balance to an image.  An image is said to be symmetrical when its elements are arranged in a way that is both balanced and appealing to the eye. This can help grab the viewer’s attention and foster a sense of calmness and order in the image.

Symmetry can be created by using reflective surfaces and taking advantage of the landscape in images. For example, a line of rocks, beside a row of trees and a mountain range can create an overall sense of balance and symmetry. 

Start using these tips today

These top 10 landscape photography tips & tricks are essential to capturing stunning and impactful images of the natural world. By following these tips, beginners and seasoned photographers can improve their skills and develop their own unique style. 

As you continue to practice and develop your skills, consider the Format portfolio builder to showcase your best work and create a professional online presence. With dedication and practice, anyone can become a skilled landscape photographer and capture the beauty of the natural world for all to see.

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