How to Improve Your Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is indubitably one of the most popular sectors of photography. But from beautiful to stunning, jaw-dropping landscape images is a long run. Wonder how to shoot astonishing landscapes? Check out our tips and tricks addressed both to amateurs and professional photographers wishing to improve their skills in this area.

1. Useful Equipment for Landscape Photography

Apart from a good digital camera, you should also consider taking some lenses and a tripod with you. You don’t need to spend a fortune on your gear, but there are a few basic things to consider.

To keep it short, here are the tools you need in order to enhance your landscape shooting:

  • Angle lenses

High quality landscape photography requires using wide angle lenses. Lenses in the 24-70mm range should help you reveal a broader perspective. Also, as more light gets through your lenses, a faster exposure time can be set, which will result in sharper images.

  • Tripods

We know that sturdy tripods are hard to carry, but if you want to better control the composition of your shots, these are essential tools to have them handy. Tripods are extremely useful when it comes to shooting long exposed images, as well as panoramas, as they help you keep the camera steady and align the pieces perfectly.

2. Basic Rules of Photography

There are rules of composition that need to be respected, many professionals say. We totally agree, but there also rules that can be creatively broken. Let’s have a look at what you can and what you cannot do when it comes to breaking rules in photography.

  • Rule of Thirds

The ‘Rule of Thirds’ refers to the process of composing images. According to this rule, you need to mentally divide the image into thirds and decide how your subject will fill each third of your photo in order to achieve more tension and interest in the composition. Basically, according to the Rule of Thirds, you shouldn’t just center your subject.

rule of thirds in landscape photography

  • Symmetry

You can either create or break symmetry in your landscape pictures depending on the effect you want to achieve. Yes, symmetry rules can be successfully broken sometimes.

  • Framing

Framing is important for pleasing the eye. Use natural frames such as trees, holes or archways. This will help the viewer focus more on the central subject or dominant elements in your picture.

3. Best Photography Techniques for Landscape Pictures

 

  • Depth of Field Techniques

Create more depth in your landscape images by using a small aperture (from F10 to F22) and ISO (100, 200, depending on light conditions). Also, set a longer exposure time for a greater sense of depth.

depth of field Landscape photography

  • Shutter Speed Techniques

Learn how to use the shutter speed function of your camera for amazing long exposed landscape images. Long exposures are great for shooting waterfalls and rivers. If you want to capture a sense of movement, set your camera on Shutter Speed Priority Mode and choose a long exposure time, preferably exceeding 2 seconds. Don’t forget to use a tripod!

long-exposed water landscape photography

  • Post-processing Techniques

Post-processing is really important in achieving quality results, and, why not, mind-blowing effects. For more useful info on how to enhance your photos from the post-processing perspective, check out our post on Editing Tips and Tricks for Landscape Photography, ranging from how to blend raw exposures to adding a surreal touch or element.

4. Looking for Creative Ideas?

Many brilliant projects are born not only of experience, but of experimentation as well. That is why we encourage both hobbyists and pros to experiment and play with settings and techniques as much as possible. You never know when a genial trick or idea hits you. Here are a few creative ideas for stunning landscape shots.

  • Add a magical touch to your landscape pictures, by profiting from the golden hour. Check out our post on Useful Golden Hour Photography Tips as we have already discussed how these few minutes after sunshine or before sunset can enhance your landscape photographs.

golden hour landscape photography example

  • Create a story by shooting the same landscape in different periods of the year. Shoot a seasonal calendar if you have the chance to go back to your perfect location.

landscape photography through seasons

  • Make a time-lapse video. For more inspiration watch Dustin Farrell’s video composed with raw images taken with a Canon 5D2 DSLR and processed with Adobe software. These beautiful landscapes are located in Arizona and Utah. Enjoy!

 

5. Search for New Gripping Ideas

There are so many extraordinary websites and portfolios of landscape photographers across the web! To drop just a few names, you should definitely take a look at the work of Randall Sanger, Daniel Kordan, Zach Schnepf, and Danny Seidman. And, just for fun, you can drop an eye on National Geographic Photos of the Day in the Landscape category from time to time.

Great landscape photography is not only about being technically correct. It involves creativity and emotion. Always convey a story or a feeling to your images.

Image Sources: 1,2,3,4,5

Useful Golden Hour Photography Tips

Regardless of the type of photography you choose, the golden hour will add magic to your shots. I hope this article will inspire you to go outdoors and capture this unique moment with enthusiasm. Try out one or more of the photographic techniques listed below and let us know how it went.

Wonder what the golden hour means? Also known as the magic hour in photography, this unique moment in time has no definite duration. All we know is that it occurs a few minutes after sunrise and before sunset. Check the times of sunrise and sunset in your area and make sure you are not late. Let the sun charm you!

Golden Hour Landscape Photography Tips

Here’s how you can benefit from the golden hour for astonishing landscape shots:

1. Control Light, Enhance Colors, and Profit from the Reduced Contrast

Golden Hour photography

The greatest factors that affect the quality of landscape photographs are light conditions. But don’t worry! The golden hour is a photographer’s best friend.

During these particular moments of the day the colors you can capture are softer and more pronounced, but diffused at the same time. In terms of color temperatures, they are warmer, which means are more red/yellow toned because the daylight is redder compared to when the sun in high in the sky.

As regards contrast, the golden hour is also preferred by landscape photographers because the contrast is naturally reduced, so highlights are less likely to be overexposed.

2. Experiment with Backlighting into Your Pictures

Sun plays an important role in golden hour photography as it adds more dimension to the scenes you shoot. When the sun is low at the horizon everything into your image will look more dramatic. The light is less harsh than in plain daylight and shadows are less dark.

Now is the perfect moment to easily capture sun flares and add a spectacular effect to your landscape photos.

3. Play with Settings

Whether you have a professional device or a semi-professional DSLR, manual settings are essential. For stunning effects use a wide aperture and make sure you don’t overexpose your pictures. You can adjust ISO depending on how much light you work with (the lower the better) and set your exposure time under 1/8000ths of a second. Try the macro function as well to take some sharp amazing close-up snaps.

Golden Hour Photography

Golden Hour Urban Photography

Technically, the tips for landscape photography apply for urban photography too. But I hope city lover photographers will find these a few more tips useful:

1. Finding the Perfect Perspective

When it comes to urban photography as compared to landscape photography you add a special character into the story: the city with its streets, lights and diverse architectural styles. If you are looking for impressive, powerful shots during sunset, the city will offer you numberless favorable perspectives.

Whether you choose a wide angle or more focused detail, pay careful attention to lines and shapes as they are very important elements of the photographical composition. Each and every line has an impact on the viewer.

2. The Role of Shadows: Capturing Dynamic Scenes

The city during the golden hour is ideal for adding a dynamic effect to your shots. Shadows and silhouettes play a vital role. For astonishing results, try to take multiple shots and observe how light changes as the sun moves and how this affects the atmosphere you want to create.

 Golden Hour Portrait Photography

Portraits can greatly benefit from the magic hour as well. In portrait photography it is crucial to balance lighting across the subject’s face. That is why harsh lighting in the middle day is undesirable and photographers need special equipment to fill in strong shadows. Here’s what you should do to capture stunning golden hour portraits:

1. Play with Shadows and Rim Lighting

First, you can experiment with facing your models into and out of the shade for diverse and remarkable results. For instance, glowing effects such as rim lighting can be achieved naturally, by using the sun’s light as a foreground instrument.

Second, to capture the dreamy effect of light during the magic hour you can switch on a wide aperture.

2. Catch the Light in Your Subject’s Eyes

Make your subjects look more expressive by locking the focus on them and blurring the foreground. This will add depth and power to your pictures. Golden hour portraits have the power to steal smiles.

Golden Hour Wedding Photography

maldives-698501_1280

Wedding photographers have all the reasons to shoot during the golden hour. What other moment of the day can help you take breathtaking photographs for such romantic events?

Your artistic approach to wedding photography plays an essential role, but more important is your technical skill as the light will do all the necessary artistic tricks.

What I love at magic hour wedding photography is that particular golden feeling dim light adds to it. In order to achieve this warm, dreamy effect, place your subjects in front of the sun.

But if variety is your target, you can try both front lighting and back lighting. Make your subjects face the sun and you will get more pronounced colors and expressions.

Image sources: depositphotos.com, pixabay

4 Photo-Editing Tricks & Tips for Landscape Photography

Planet Earth is incredibly beautiful and diverse. There is always something to see, some new miracle to uncover and, hopefully, capture on camera. Landscape and travel photographers are among the luckiest in the world. Although in-camera technique is essential for photography, excellent Photo-editing and rendering skills can turn the dullest of images into an awe-inspiring capture. The prowess of photographers in the digital darkroom is becoming increasingly crucial for the success of images. It is even more important for landscape photography, for which a bit of contrast and luminance tricks could completely redefine the overall appearance.

Whether starkly beautiful, bursting with colour or magnificently minimal, no other type of photography offers more potential for stunning imagery than landscape.

 (Source: www.digitalcameraworld.com)

There is always something to see, even if you look past your back-window. In this guide we will provide you with much needed tricks & tips for landscape photography. They are fundamental for highlighting the natural beauty of the landscape you have captured. Approaches to landscape shooting may have changed in the past few years, but the main rules remain the same: creating an interesting composition with the help of quality lenses, getting the time right, and enhancing a photo via post-processing tools.

1. Blending Raw Exposures

3. Virtual Photography 1

Photo cameras struggle to present scenes in high-contrast (it cannot record everything that our eyes see). With the Raw files you can create incredible results, because they contain an enormous amount of information. The Raw tonal controls now surpass those of Photoshop (especially when working only with RAW files). Here’s how you can blend raw exposures to add more depth and contrast to your landscape:

  • Processing for Shadows: Insert your RAW image in Photoshop. From the basic panel set exposure to +.63, shadows to +63 and clarity to +55 (or a setting that looks good for your scene). Shift+Click the open object button to make it a smart object.
  • Processing for the highlights: go to your layers panel and choose a New Smart Object via copy. Send the thumbnail back to Camera Raw. Now go to the Exposure, Shadows and Clarity menu and reset the values to -0.20 exposure, -50 highlights, and -19 whites.
  • Blending Layers: Go to the Add Layer mask icon, and then grab the Brush tool. Choose the black color and set opacity to 30%. You can now paint the foreground to hide parts of the darker layer and reveal the light treatment bellow. Press X and paint with white to reveal the top layer more.

2. Lightroom Adjustment Brush

Lightroom adjustments are vital for color landscape images. No matter how hard you try to get details using ND grads during the shoot, there are still areas of the foreground and background that are shadowed or not very powerful (especially at sunsets or sunrises). With the Adjustment Brush you can lighten shadowed areas, and add warmth. It is particularly effective for lightening mountains and trees that can be found above the horizon. It can also be used to fine-tune and color the sky.

3. Creating Panoramas

3. Virtual Photography 2

Landscape photography can sometimes result in majestic panoramic scenes. If your lens isn’t wide enough to fit your entire scene into one frame, you can take multiple photos of the same scene and blend them together into a panorama. This can easily be done in Photoshop by overlapping frames and then sticking them together. The best thing about post-processing panorama building is the fact that resolution will be 4-5 times better than a camera panorama.

Use a tripod to take the shots). Go to your Adobe Bridge menu, hold down Shift+Click and select your desired images. Go to Tools->Photoshop->Photomerge and click OK. The results may not be perfect, but if you experience with different layout options in the photomerge box it will turn out well. Get rid of messy edges, and edit your image for contrast, saturation, luminance etc.

4. Surreal Landscape Editing

3. Virtual Photography 3

Surreal Landscape photography has become the next best thing. If you are interested in such projects you should definitely follow this advice. Using a simple landscape base image can make your surreal photo look a lot better. In this example we have concrete, clouds and a funny looking plant. Add some moody sky effect to it, a hazy horizon, sepia colors and burnt shadows and you get an interesting surreal image.

3. Virtual Photography 4

To make magic happen you simply have to add the photos one on top of the other. Add a Layer Mask and plot a black to white gradient to blend the land and sky together. Plot a white to transparent reflected gradient on the horizon to create the misty effect, lower the opacity of the element and drop any other element you would like. Desaturate it and make proper adjustments so that it becomes part of the photo.

How Photographers Use Etsy

Ready to sell your images as fine art? Want to step beyond stock photography, and actually make a name for yourself in the fine art world? Why not start with Etsy.

People describe Etsy in a lot of ways. Yes, it may be a “Popsicle stick and yarn” kind of site, but its also a way for you to get recognized for your artwork. There are great artists on Etsy that are pulling in full time incomes with their artwork. Etsy is more than just a place to put up a few trinkets; its also a place to gain some serious traction, and use the advertising and leverage Etsy has built up over the years.

Etsy attracts members from over 150 countries around the world. Top categories are jewelry, clothing, crafting supplies, accessories, and art – which is where photography is listed.

If you don’t have an Etsy account yet, start by choosing a name. Mirror your business name as much as you can – its important to brand yourself from site to site. Then completely fill out your profile. People often short themselves by putting up a photo, a link to their website, and a sentence or two about their business. Don’t skimp here. Fill it with as much as you can. Even change it from time to time to share your interests with people.

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