Whether you like to take travel shots on vacations or just wander around the areas close to your home, landscape photography is more than just point and shoot. As with any other type of photography, a little knowledge and a lot of practice will make your landscape photography much better. The practice is up to you, but this article will give several tips for taking your landscape photography to the next level.
Learn About Focal Points and Depth of Field
Most landscape photography covers a lot of territory from close to the photographer to the far distance. There can also be a wide variety of subjects in the shot, such as architecture, trees, mountains, etc. The first thing you need to decide is what is the main subject? This will be your focal point. Learn how to choose the focal point for your camera and make sure the main subject is in sharp focus. Depth of field refers to how much of the image is in focus. For most landscape photographs, this will be almost everything in sight. To achieve this, you will need to shoot a small aperture. In many circumstances, this will cause you to slow the shutter speed below what can be handled hand-held. This will lead to ....
Use a Tripod
You will never, ever see a professional photographer take a landscape shot that they are going to use in their portfolio without a tripod. This piece of equipment is more than just a gimmick or expensive toy. Using a tripod serves one main purpose and provides a side benefit you may not know about. The main advantage most people are aware of is that the tripod eliminates camera shake from hand holding your camera. This is especially important with the small aperture needed for the depth of field desired in most landscape shots.
Another advantage to the tripod is it forces you to think about the shot a bit more. It's easy to walk around, raise the camera, snap a few frames and then move to a new spot. The tripod takes a bit more time to set up and get in the right position. This will slow you down and force you to think about what is in the viewfinder. And this leads to ....
Think About the Composition
As you look through the viewfinder, think about what is and what is not in the frame. Are there things in the frame you don't want that a few steps to the left will eliminate? Are there things that aren't in the frame you want that backing up a bit would include? Where is your main subject? Avoid putting the main subject in the centre of the frame. Placing it a bit off-centre adds more interest to the shot. How about the angle? If you have a beautiful sky, maybe tilt the camera up a bit to include more. If it is is dull or blown out, tilt the shot down and minimize the visible sky. Walk around and look at the landscape from different angles, positions and elevations.
Learn these few simple tricks and get out there and practice. Before long, you will be taking home breathtaking landscapes.