When it comes to capturing the beauty of landscapes, there's a lot to keep in mind.
You have to think not just about the camera settings you're using, but you also have to be mindful of how you compose the shot as well.
With so much to think about, it can make landscape photography a little overwhelming, especially if you're a beginner.
But there are simple steps you can take that will have an immediate, positive impact on your photos.
Let's examine what you can do to improve your landscape photography.
Use a Camera Remote
Using a camera remote for landscape photography might not sound necessary, but trust me, it will improve your photos.
For starters, by using a camera remote, you can minimize camera shake and get sharper shots.
The sharper your photos, the clearer they will be and the more pleasing the final image will look.
Additionally, a camera remote allows you to step away from your camera.
This is advantageous for a couple of reasons...
First, you can actually be in the photo instead of just behind the lens.
Second, by taking a few steps back, you might discover a better vantage point or perspective from which to take the shot.
In other words, it can open up new creative possibilities for your photography.
But depending on the remote you get, your creative boundaries can be widely expanded.
Take Pulse by Alpine Labs as an ideal example.
This little gadget mounts to the hot-shoe on your camera and gives you total control over your camera using your smartphone.
That means you can be up to 100 feet away and still control things like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.
Even better, Pulse gives you the power to create stunning time-lapse videos, real-time videos, and long exposures, too.
So rather than just living in the world of still photography, this camera remote on steroids takes you to an entirely other creative space!
Get Those Horizons Straight
There's plenty that can go wrong in a landscape photo, but there's nothing quite as simple as a wonky horizon that can have such a negative impact on the overall shot.
You can have everything else about the photo perfect - the framing, the lighting, the focus, the composition - but if the horizon isn't perfectly straight, guess what people will notice?
The uneven horizon...
It's a simple problem to fix, too.
You can get a tripod with a bubble level to help you keep those horizons straight.
You can also use a hot-shoe mounted level if you already have a tripod that doesn't have a built-in level.
When shooting handheld, use live view and enable the rule of thirds grid to use as a guide for getting your horizons level.
Just align one of the two horizontal gridlines with the horizon, and you're good to go!
Slow Down and Compose With Purpose
I fully understand the excitement of being in a place that's so beautiful that you want to photograph as much of it from as many different viewpoints as possible.
But rushing around isn't going to do your landscape photos any favors.
Instead, if you want to improve the quality of your images, slow things down and focus on composing the best possible shot.
One way to slow yourself down is to use a camera remote and a tripod.
It takes a few seconds to get these accessories setup, and in those few seconds, you can more thoroughly examine your surroundings and think about how you want to frame the shot.
Then, once you have your gear set up, you can use what you've learned about the landscape to make better decisions about composition.
For example, you might notice a distracting element in the foreground - like a downed tree - that you want to frame out of the shot.
You can then take measures to move your rig nearer your subject to crop the tree out of the image, or you can use a zoom lens to do the same thing.
The point is that rather than pointing and shooting very quickly, by taking a more measured approach, you can actually compose images that are much more pleasing while saving yourself a little time in post-processing because you won't have to do as much cropping or straightening.
That's not a bad deal if you ask me!
Bonus: Think About How the Landscape Will Look at a Different Time
As a bonus tip, I'd suggest that you envision what the landscape will look like earlier or later in the day.
For example, if you're shooting a mountain scene in the afternoon, think about how that scene will be different - and perhaps better - at sunset.
If you find that your photos of a dense forest lack impact, think about times of day that the impact will be ramped up - early morning, perhaps, when there's a chance that fog might form and roll in between the trees.
Also consider the season and how it will affect the landscape.
Visiting a forest in the fall will get you gorgeous colors.
Photographing a mountain in late spring might get you a nice shot of a snow-dusted peak.
The point is that to improve your landscape photography, you need to do more than just randomly fire the shutter.
Instead, get outfitted with gear like Pulse that will help you be more creative. Pay attention to the horizon and how you compose your images. Go back to your favorite spots over and over again to see how they change over the course of the day and the year.
If you can do even just one of these things, you'll find that the images you create have more impact!