When you want to shoot landscapes, sometimes you’ll go to a gorgeous location, have high expectations, but the photos just won’t turn out as you want. Kai Wong shares ten tips to help you get your landscape shots on a higher level and return home with plenty of wonderful images.
1. Location is everything
Location is everything in landscape photography because, well, it’s your subject. So, explore it, do a research, and don’t forget that location scouting will help you take your landscape photography to a higher level.
You might need to walk, drive or cycle a lot to find the ideal location, but it’s the part of the adventure, and the reward is worth the effort.
Even if you’ve shot some location before, it’s good to return there several times. Different seasons and parts of the day, different angles – they will give you different photos even if you’ve shot the same place before.
2. Plan your shots
Don’t just arrive at the location a few minutes before the golden hour. Plan ahead and arrive earlier. Give yourself time to set up the tripod and the camera, to look for interesting scenes and plan the angles. Also, count in the unexpected events that might occur on your way to the location.
A part of planning is knowing what you want in terms of light. Do you want to shoot during blue hour, golden hour, twilight… Think about it when planning your trip to the location, and arrive earlier so you have the time to set everything up.
3. Bring filters
There are some pieces of gear you shouldn’t forget when you go out taking landscape photos, and Kai emphasizes variable ND filters. They let you slow down the shutter speed and add cloud or wave motion to your shots.
4. Get a good tripod
Invest in a solid tripod that won’t wobble while you’re taking long exposure photos. Add extra stability to your tripod by adding weight. This will make the tripod even more stable, but also prevent accidents like this.
5. Wide angle lenses
Kai suggests bringing wide angle lenses for landscape shots, and that’s the most common choice of many landscape photographers. Keep in mind though that you can get some interesting landscape shots even with telephoto lenses.
6. Leading lines
Think of the leading lines to direct your viewers to the subject of your shot.
7. Foreground interest
Sometimes landscape shots can look dull no matter how beautiful the scenery is. So, look for foreground elements to add more interest to your shots.
8. More D.O.F.
With landscape photos, it’s often desirable that you get the entire scene in focus. Using the smallest possible aperture isn’t the solution, because it will cause diffraction. f/16 is a popular choice to keep everything in focus and avoid diffraction. Think about hyperfocal distance for getting both foreground and background sufficiently sharp.
9. Aerial landscapes
If you want something a bit different and that hasn’t been shot so many times before (yet), try aerial landscapes. Although, you’ll need to buy a drone for that if you already don’t own one.
Kai adds a composition tip here too: don’t use the Rule of Thirds as a rule. Use it as a guide, but don’t let it limit you.
10. Don’t be a quitter
Last but not least: don’t be a quitter. It will happen that things don’t go as planned, but you should always try to turn the situation to your advantage. Even if the weather becomes bad, if you arrive later than you planned, still do take some shots. You might be surprised with the results.
[10 Tips for Better Landscape Photos! |Kai Wong]