Tips for Better Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is my passion, I love getting out in the fresh air and trying to capture beautiful photographs. 

There are lots of people who will give advice on getting this camera or that lens but if you haven't got the basics right, to begin with then it's a losing battle. 

Here are a few simple tips that I think will help you...

Use a tripod

It doesn't need to be an all singing all dancing one just something sturdy. Ideally get one with the clip release legs rather than a twist release...they're just easier and quicker to set up. The beauty of a tripod is that it also allows you to slow down the shutter speed. 

Hot Shoe Spirit Level

One of my big peeves with landscape photography is not having the horizon level. You can, of course, alter this in editing but it's always better to get it right when you take the photo. Some cameras tell you if it's straight, but failing that you can pick up a spirit level which simply slots into the hot shoe and you can make sure the camera is level. These are cheap to pick up at about £2 on eBay. 

Set the Aperture First

When it comes to landscape photography it's always a good idea to set you aperture first. You can either flip the camera to 'A' mode and then the camera will sort everything else for you or in 'M' mode set the aperture then adjust the shutter speed to suit. I tend to ride up ISO but you might want to adjust this too depending on how sunny or dull the scene is. 

As a rule, you should be looking for an aperture of either f/8, f/11 or f/16 for landscape photography. 

Step Away From the Crowds

If you're shooting with a group of people or it's a popular spot, try to step away from them and capture the scene from a different angle. While everyone else's photo will look similar your's will stand out as something different. This should help you catch people's eye. 

Look for Drama in the Sky

If you're including the sky in your photo, has it got enough detail and drama in it? If not then try not to include too much of it, it won't add anything to the photo. 

Look for a Subject in the Scene

Often when taking a seascape or a landscape people just shoot out and there is nothing to draw the person into the photo. Try to find something to engage them, a boat on the water, a lonely tree in the field. These things will really help lift your photo. 

Remote Shutter Release

Keeping the camera still whilst taking a landscape photo is vital. There are two ways you help this, the first is by setting your camera up to have a delay. When I press my shutter button there is a 2-second delay, this allows the camera to settle after I pressed the button. The other way is by using a remote shutter release, these are cheap and can be either wired or wireless. If you plan on doing long exposures then a shutter release is vital. 

That is my basic tips for better landscape photography, next time I shall write one with a few more advanced tips.