Landscape Photography


Tips for capturing that perfect landscape scene.

The job of a landscape photographer is far from easy, and he often has the elements of the weather against him, but for those who have mastered the art of creating excellent images, the outdoors are a perfect place to do a days work.

Landscape photography is one of the toughest forms of photography; it demands a great deal of care when selecting a location to shoot. One of the biggest mistakes amateur photographers make when arriving at a scene is to start shooting straight away. They end up shooting dull, lifeless images that lack colour and impact.

When arriving at a scene the first thing a photographer should do is to walk the scene with your camera and a compass. The compass is used to see where light will rise in the morning and set in the evening. I bring my camera just in case I arrive at a perfect moment.

I start by recording the scene. I record the best time to return so the morning light will bring out the best in the area. I also try to record how the evening light will embrace the scene. Low morning light usually brings out the best in any landscape setting and adds mood and impact to a scene.

When I return to the area that I have selected, I try to arrive as early as possible. I don’t leave home without a good tripod, a cable release, and a few photography filters. A polarizing filter is very handy for side lit scenes and a warm-up filter is very useful for a scene that seems cold and dull.

Composition for landscape photography depends on a range of things. There are many different types of composition that can be used; one that normally works with most landscape scenes is the Rule of Thirds.

The Rule of Thirds is pretty straightforward and is based on where you place the focal point of your landscape scene. The law behind it is that when you draw two vertical lines on your scene and two horizontal lines across your scene, you should have nine rectangles of equal size. The four points where the vertical and horizontal lines meet mark the area where you place the focal point of your image.

You may use any of these points – it’s up to you. If you are unsure take four shots of your scene. Compare the results when you return home. This will also help to develop your eye. Once you are happy with the composition you will need to calculate the correct exposure.

To get the correct exposure, you should invest in an exposure meter and a grey card. Take a light reading from the sky and if possible take some readings from the ground in front of you. The chances are that if you are shooting a low light scene you may need to add an ND filter to compensate for the light difference between the foreground and the sky.

When shooting landscapes you should remember that the weather will plays a very important part in your day to day activities, and you should be always be prepared for the worst.

TJ Tierney is an award winning photographer and a freelance writer. To find out more information visit his free photography and digital photography site.