- A soft-edge graduated neutral density filter, which helps you manage the exposure differences between the bright sky and dark foreground.
- Two solid neutral density filters that help you slow down the shutter speed during daytime shooting to blur the movement of things like clouds and water.
- A circular polarizing filter, which helps reduce glare, increase contrast in the sky, and cut down on atmospheric haze.
- Working With Good Landscape Photography Lighting and Its Effect on Your Photos
- Why You Need a Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter in Your Bag
Image Credit: Andrew Code
Sure, taking photos is simple enough on the surface.
Just grab a camera and lens, point it at a beautiful landscape, and press the shutter button, right?
If you want to create beautiful landscape photos like the one shown above, you need to work for it!
In this tutorial, I go over a few critical landscape photography tips that answer the question of how to get started in landscape photography.
Help Your Camera by Spending Time on the Composition
A problem that I often see with landscape photos that are taken by beginners (like the one above) is that they aren't composed well.
You can have the most expensive camera in the world, but if you don't know how to help it record the most eye-catching scene, all the money you spent on that expensive camera will be for naught.
By focusing on things that strengthen your composition, you can help your camera capture a more beautiful scene.
One of the most important landscape photography composition tips is to use leading lines.
Image Credit: Ole Henrik Skjelstad
As you can see in this shot, the lines created by the shore and the dock help to direct our attention to the background of the photo.
By using these elements as leading lines, the photographer was able to connect the foreground, midground, and background of the shot, which results in a much more cohesive image.
What's more, these lines also serve as a visual boundary, which contains where our eyes move and keep them focused on the big features in this image - the beautiful lake, mountains, and sky full of colors.
Quick Tip: Spend time thinking about the foreground of the shot as well. A foreground with color, texture, and other details (as shown in the photo above) serves nicely as a visual "introduction" for the rest of your landscape photo.
Learn How to Get Out of Full Auto Mode
Though shooting in full auto mode is the easiest way to capture a photo, it's certainly not the most effective.
By letting the camera decide things like what aperture or shutter speed to use, you open yourself up to all kinds of problems with your photos, like motion blur that you don't want or out-of-focus backgrounds.
But getting out of full auto doesn't mean that you have to start shooting in full manual mode.
In fact, you can start to take more control over your camera by shooting in a semi-automatic mode, like aperture priority.
I've written a comprehensive guide on aperture priority mode, but for the uninitiated, aperture priority mode allows you to select the aperture the camera uses as well as the ISO.
That means that you have more control over the depth of field (discussed below) as well as how much digital noise is in the photo.
That, in turn, allows you to decide how bright or dark the image is and how much contrast is in the shot.
In other words, by setting your camera to A or Av on the dial, you can start taking more impressive photos because you're in charge of most of the exposure settings, not the camera.
Know Where to Focus
Photo Credit: Steffen Hummel
Another critical aspect of becoming a landscape photographer is being able to get tack-sharp images from front to back.
This requires an understanding of aperture and depth of field, which you can learn about in this detailed guide.
Essentially, aperture is one component of how much of the image is in focus - a smaller aperture yields a larger depth of field and a larger aperture yields a smaller depth of field.
By understanding how depth of field works, you can get a sharply focused image from foreground to background, like the one above.
But more than that, where you focus the shot is also important.
As a good rule of thumb, placing the focal point about one-third up from the bottom of the frame is best.
As Joshua Cripps of Professional Photography Tips explains in the video above, focusing at this point helps maximize the depth of field to help you get a sharp photo.
Quick Tip: Another method of perfecting the focus of your landscape photos is to use the hyperfocal distance technique.
Help Your Camera With the Right Accessories
Your camera and lens have all sorts of capabilities when it comes to capturing the beauty of a landscape.
But that doesn't mean that there aren't camera accessories that can help make those images even more eye-catching and dramatic.
Aside from a good, solid tripod to give your camera a stable base for taking photos, another must-have accessory is a good filter kit.
I've been using NiSi filters for a few months now, and I can't say enough about their quality.
With low-grade filters, you can see minimized contrast, ghosting, flare, and even color casts that diminish the quality of your photo.
But that's not the case with my NiSi filters.
That's because these filters are crafted of the finest high definition optical glass that gets me gorgeous, sharp results every time.
Additionally, if you invest in a NiSi filter kit, like the Starter Kit shown above, you get all the filters and accessories you need to take complete control over how your photos look.
Included in the starter kit is:
On top of all that, the kit comes loaded with adaptor rings, a filter holder, a carrying case, a lens cap, and even a rocket blower to help you keep dust and dirt off your filters.
In other words, getting started in landscape photography takes some know-how, lots of practice, and the right gear.
With these quick tips outlined here, you can start shooting with more confidence, and if you invest in NiSi filters, you'll find that your photos look even better!