Sometimes, getting a great landscape photo depends on perfect timing.
Other times, it's more a result of having the right kind of gear for the situation.
Yet other times, the quality of the photos you take depends more on compositional choices than anything else...
So the question is, if you want to take better landscape photos, which tips and tricks should you pay more attention to than the others?
That's a loaded question, but to help you sift through all the landscape photography tips and tricks out there, I've focused on seven recommendations that are sure to improve your photos.
I'll fully admit that there are times when I just grab my camera gear, hop in the car, and start driving to a specific location to take landscape photos.
But when I do that, it's to a location with which I'm already familiar...
In other words, I know how to get there, where to park, what traffic will be like, how light falls on the scene, and so forth.
But when I go to a new location, you better believe I put in some time ahead of time to plan things out.
By planning your landscape photography outings, you're only doing yourself a favor.
Not only will you avoid getting lost getting there, but you might also find some lesser-known vantage points or even other nearby locations to take photos of landscapes that are new to you.
I personally use Google Maps to get a bird's eye view of the place before I head out, as seen above.
It's saved me more than once, that's for sure!
There are all sorts of photography apps available today that will help you take better landscape photos, and if you ask me, few are as valuable as the Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE).
TPE gives you a leg up because it tells you where the sun will rise and fall, that way you can play your shoot accordingly.
That means no more ugly, harsh direct sunlight and no more deep, dark shadows cast on your subject.
Instead, as you can see in the screenshot above, TPE tells you everything from when the sun rises and sets to the moonrise and a lot more.
Not bad, right?
Be More Mobile
One of the greatest things about landscape photography is that you have an opportunity to be outside with the freedom to roam around and photograph the beauty of nature around you.
But an obstacle to getting the most out of your photos is not being able to access your gear quickly and efficiently.
In other words, you might be able to access your favorite landscape pretty easily, but when it comes to actually photographing it, you can't get to your gear as fast as you'd like.
I have the rig shown above, the Spider Holster SpiderPro, and it's totally changed how I work.
As you can see, with the SpiderPro, your camera is easily accessible right at your hips. That makes grabbing your camera for your landscape shots a total breeze.
The SpiderPro uses a patented ball-joint system that makes it easy to add or remove the camera from the harness, giving you hands-free movement as you wander around the landscape looking for the next shot.
It's also incredibly secure - your camera is right there within your reach, but are snug to your hips so you don't have to worry about knocking your camera around on nearby object.
The ball-joint system even allows the camera to move freely as you move and change position. That means no matter if you're standing tall, crouched down, or even squatting that the SpiderPro will keep your camera (even if it has a long lens and/or a flash!) safe and secure right on your hip.
Add to that the fact that you can shift some of the weight of your gear to your hips, and not only do you have easy access to your camera on an incredibly safe and sturdy camera carrying system, but your neck, shoulders, and back also get more freedom of movement and comfort.
What's not to like about that?
Check out the SpiderPro in action in the video above by Glyn Dewis.
Get a Good Lightweight Tripod
If you read the subheading above and thought "what's a good tripod?" then you've never had a good tripod!
Tripods are incredibly underrated, but believe me when I say that a good tripod can make all the difference in the way you work.
Since landscape photography usually requires walking or hiking around, you might want to lighten your load a little bit.
You can do that with the Vanguard Alta Pro 2 263AP, but do so without sacrificing quality, stability, and ease of use - all features of a good tripod.
You can set this thing up in a matter of seconds, which is great for shots when time is of the essence.
With a hexagonal center column, this tripod is also incredibly stable, even when there's a stiff breeze.
There's three leg sections with four position angles from 20-80 degrees as well, meaning you can get your camera nice and low for some unique angles or bring it up higher to eye level too.
With an integrated bubble level to help keep your horizons straight, a 3-way fluid pan head with dual telescopic handles, and a quick-release system, the Alta Pro 2 263AP has all the bells and whistles you need to get set up quickly and give your camera a solid base to take sharper photos.
Be Equipped for Different Conditions
With such an incredible variety of landscapes for us to photograph, there's something to be said for getting gear that helps facilitate the types of photos you want to take.
For example, I enjoy taking photos as the beach, which means I need to think about how to get the shots I want without ruining my gear.
One such item is the Sirui W-2204 Waterproof Carbon Fiber Tripod.
With its waterproof sealing system, this is a great choice for me on the days when I head to the beach.
Not only is it waterproof, but this tripod is also dust and sand proof, so I don't have to worry about legs jamming with a ton of sand.
It also holds nearly 40 pounds, so if I want to snag some shots with my Nikon D810 and a massive telephoto lens, I definitely can.
The W-2204 has four leg sections that can be adjusted individually, meaning I can get perfectly straight horizons, even if I'm working on uneven terrain.
And since there's often a breeze at the beach, the center column hook is helpful for adding ballast to keep things nice and steady.
When I want to work lean and mean, one of the legs detaches for use as a monopod, too.
That gives me even more flexibility to be equipped for changing conditions!
The challenge of landscape photography - well, any type of photography for that matter - is to capture the essence of a three-dimensional space in a two-dimensional medium.
It sounds hard to do, but there are a couple of tricks that will help you get a photo with more depth.
The first is to simply incorporate foreground interest in the shot.
By having something like rocks or plants in the foreground, viewers have something that immediately gives them context to the depth of the scene.
For example, including the boulder in the foreground of the shot above helps define the space, giving us a clue as to how much further back the waterfall and trees are in the background.
Another trick you can use is to use a leading line.
Leading lines help give images depth because they draw the viewer's eye deeper into the shot.
So, rather than their eye resting on something in the foreground or midground, a line is a visual highway that leads the eye from the foreground to the midground to the background.
In the image above, the roadway is an ideal leading line because it gives the image much greater depth.
By adding a familiar object to the landscape, we have a better idea of the size and scope of the scene relative to the size of the highway.
Alter Your Perspective
When you think of the majority of the landscape photos you've taken (or seen, for that matter), my guess is that it's a shot that was taken at or near eye level.
Am I right?
There's nothing wrong with capturing a photo from your eye level...
However, if you want to create a photo that's got an added layer of interest, try capturing the scene from a very low or a very high perspective.
In the case of the former, you can accentuate the size of a landscape element - a mountain, a waterfall, or a tree - because a low perspective makes such things appear larger.
On the other hand, you can opt to photograph a landscape from high up - maybe even from a drone as seen above.
A top-down perspective compresses the depth of the shot, making landscape elements seem smaller.
But you also get a chance to show the scale of the scene - it's breadth and depth - in a way that we're really only privy to when we fly.
Either way you do it, finding a different perspective from which to take your landscape photos will have an immediate, positive impact on the shots you take.
Combined with the previous tips outlined above, you've got all sorts of possibilities for taking better landscape photos.