Landscape photography is something for romantics. You'll get the best landscape shots when you slow down and spend some time in a natural landscape. Come with us on a journey into untouched nature. Learn a few useful tips on landscape photography along the way.
Beginners tend to take all their equipment with them on a photography trip. After all, if you're photographing in remote landscapes, you want to be prepared for anything. However, this is unnecessary. The most important tip right at the beginning: less is more, especially as a beginner. Take only what you really need: a small, flexible tripod; a backpack with food; and a good photo bag for your camera with interchangeable lenses. The second most important tip: don't take on too much, and plan for breaks.
Landscape photography tips: camera, lenses and settings.
System cameras with interchangeable lenses (DSLMs) have one key disadvantage over single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras: you may need to change lenses outdoors. You can be as careful as you want; if just a speck of dust gets on the lens, you probably won't notice it until you get home and look at the big screen.
With system cameras, ideally opt for a lens with a flexible focal length, such as 18-55 mm. This way, with 18 mm you have a good focal length for panoramic photos, but with 55 mm you can also focus on interesting objects at a closer distance. Even better for panoramas are wide-angle lenses with fixed focal lengths of 12-16 mm. A flexible telephoto lens to photograph distant objects should be able to set focal lengths of 70-200 mm.
Speaking of settings: Use mainly manual settings on your camera. This will ensure that the stone positioned in the foreground is in focus and not the forest in the background. Experiment with depth of field and try long exposures to make water look like a soft carpet. Finally, have your photographs output in RAW format. This gives you a lot more options when it comes to post-processing. The images can become sharper, more contrasty, and more colorful.
Nature photography techniques: aperture, shutter speed and ISO
The best landscape shots require a basic technical understanding of your camera's capabilities. You can capture stunning landscapes if you have sufficient experience setting aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. When it comes to ISO, the rule is that the higher the number, the less ambient light is needed. At the same time, the amount of image information decreases. This means the photography becomes grainier. You will usually get the best landscape shots at ISO 100, and up to ISO 200 at twilight.
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The aperture controls the depth of field of your landscape photography. Settings from F8 to F11 are ideal. The aperture will then be less wide open than, for example, the F2 setting, which is ideal for portrait photography. With the higher f-number, not only will your foreground subject be sharp, but more distant objects will be as well. You shouldn't set the aperture any higher than F16, or you'll get unsightly diffraction blur that will affect the entire image. Exposure time depends on how dark or light your environment is and what effects you want to achieve. If water is involved, for example a waterfall or a rushing mountain stream, higher exposure times will soften the water. Motion blur, of course, also affects larger moving objects. If you want to photograph a flying butterfly or a flock of birds, set a lower exposure time.
When photographing sunsets, water surfaces, and other sharp horizon lines, gray graduated filters are a great tool for capturing the best landscape shots right on camera. For longer exposures, the gray filter will prevent you from overexposing your image.
Landscape photography composition: thirds, framing and light.
Meanwhile, the best landscape photography tips integrate format. Landscape format is our view of the world in the wild. Wide panoramas are aesthetically beautiful and soothing to the eye. With the smartphone, portrait format entered our everyday lives. Depending on the media you are photographing for, you first choose your format. Overall, however, the portrait format looks more restless and cropped.
Nevertheless, change your perspective often. Stand on a rock; get down on your knees; climb a hill. Look for and find an interesting object in the foreground and play with the background. You don't necessarily need a tripod and level to get a straight horizon. Instead, use the grid view in your camera's preview or rest the camera on a pole, stone, or railing. Finally, activate the delayed-action shutter release. That way, nothing is guaranteed to blur.
The golden ratio can be explained in a roundabout way. You can rewrite it more simply as the rule of thirds. Or imagine a snail shell that you mentally place over your intended image section. Ultimately, it's about viewing your image in nine equal parts and placing their contents in an aesthetically coherent relationship to the overall image. With the golden section, your landscape shot no longer looks like a picture detail, but develops a detached life of its own as a coherent whole. How do you achieve this?
With an appealing landscape photography composition. Incorporate a natural frame into your photograph through branches of a tree, a mountain range, a layer of fog or cloud cover. A prominent tree in the foreground should never be centered, but should be mainly in the outer thirds of an image. The sky usually comprises the top two-thirds, sometimes only the top third, depending on how interesting your foreground is.
On the other hand, symmetry is not always a bad thing. If you use reflections in the water, you can capture equally stunning landscapes, such as of a row of houses, a mountainous landscape, or cloud architecture. However, less is always more: put a specific object in the foreground. If it is further away, work with the telephoto lens.
In landscape photography, the golden and blue hours of a day are the most productive. The golden hour refers to the time just after sunrise and just before sunset; the blue hour refers to the time just before sunrise and just after sunset. Because of the flat sunlight, the light flows, appearing softer and not as contrasty as at midday.
The best way to learn nature photography techniques is through regular practice. Get out and let nature inspire you.