More Tips and Tricks for Better Landscape Photography (Part 2)

With summer upon us and travel plans in the making, wouldn’t it be great if you had a few tricks in your bag for bringing home better digital memories of your trip?  In our last post, we covered a few tips for better landscape photography.  If you missed our first post on improving your landscape photography, check it out here:


And now for part 2…

Reach for the Sky

In most landscape photography, the sky will likely be featured somehow in your image.  If you have a bland, boring sky – don’t let it dominate your shot.  Consider placing the horizon in the upper third of your shot (like the Lone Cypress image on the previous post, or the San Francisco skyline above).

However if your sky is dramatic with interesting cloud formations and colors, emphasize it by placing the horizon lower (as in on the lower third line of the frame using our “rule of thirds” guide). Consider the Philadelphia skyline image below with dramatic, angry-looking clouds.

If you have access to post processing software (e.g., Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, Aperture, etc.), you may want to enhance contrast in interesting skies.  Alternatively, if your camera permits attachment of filters to the lens, you can use a circular polarizing filter to increase the drama and color saturation of the sky.

Take Me to Your Leading Lines

One of the questions to ask yourself as you make landscape photographs is how to direct your viewer to look where you want them to in your image. There are a number of ways of doing this (having a well-defined subject / focal point is one) but one of the best ways to guide your viewers is to compose your photograph with lines that lead them into an image. Lines, like the diagonal lines of the bridge roadway and vertical lines of the towers in the Golden Gate Bridge image above also give the image depth, scale and can be a point of interest in and of themselves by creating patterns in your shot.

Move that Landscape

We tend to think of landscape photography as images of stationary subjects: mountains, trees, the Grand Canyon.  But if you observe for a few moments, you’ll generally find that things are seldom completely still.  Watch for the effect of wind in the trees, flowing water, crashing waves, birds in flight, clouds scudding across the sky…

Capturing this movement usually requires a slower shutter speed, so camera stability (i.e., a tripod or other support) is critical to eliminate camera shake.  If your camera allows attachment of filters over the lens, this would be a good opportunity to use a neutral density and/or circular polarizer filter to allow you to use slower shutter speeds to capture that motion.

Check back soon for more landscape photography tips and tricks and feel free to chime in with your own in the comments.

More to come…



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