Common Landscape Photography Problems (and Their Solutions)
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If you're discouraged by the quality of the landscape photos that you take, don't be!
One of the greatest things about photography is that there are plenty of tips, tricks, and techniques that you can use to improve the results you get.
You can also strive to minimize common landscape photography problems, which will help you create photos that are eye-catching.
Here's a few landscape photography tips that will help you learn how to take better landscape photos.
Common Landscape Photography Problem #1: Boring Composition
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If you just don't get all that excited looking at your landscape photos, it's time to find ways to amp up the visual interest.
One of the easiest ways to do that is to alter the perspective from which you shoot.
Consider this - a photo taken of a landscape from your eye level isn't anything new. Everyone sees landscapes from their eye level, but seldom do we get up above or get down low to see how landscapes change based on the difference in perspective.
That means that if you find ways to photograph landscapes by getting up high on a hill (or using a drone) or laying down on the ground, you'll instantly provide your compositions with an infusion of visual appeal.
Common Landscape Photography Problem #2: Uneven Exposure
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When photographing a landscape, it's easy to have an uneven exposure because the sky is so much brighter than the sky.
That means that you'll often end up with a photo that either has a sky that looks great but a landscape that's too dark, or a landscape that looks great but a sky that's too bright.
To fix this issue, all you need is a graduated neutral density filter.
As you can see above, these filters are darker on the top than they are on the bottom.
This serves the purpose of limiting the light that enters the camera from the sky, that way you end up with a photo that's better-exposed throughout.
There are different types of graduated ND filters for different situations.
For example, when there's a definite horizon (as shown below), a hard edge graduated ND filter is the ideal choice because the transition from the dark area of the filter to the light area of the filter is abrupt.
On the other hand, if you're photographing a scene in which features like trees or mountains or buildings are peaking above the horizon, a soft edge graduated ND filter is a better choice.
Since the transition between the filtered and non-filtered area is much broader, it allows you to create an image that has a much more gradual transition from dark to light to account for those elements that extend into the bright sky.
When shopping for graduated ND filters, don't just buy the first cheap thing you find because cheap filters won't do you any favors.
I've used Formatt-Hitech hard edge ND filters and soft edge ND filters for a long time now, and I can tell you by experience that they are not just durable and easy to use, but because they're finely crafted, they produce excellent results, too.
Common Landscape Photography Problem #3: Empty Skies
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I appreciate a clear, blue sky as much as the next guy, but when you're after dynamic and interesting landscape photos, a clear, blue sky doesn't really fit the bill.
Of course, you can't exactly control the presence or absence of clouds when you're out shooting...
An easy solution is to adjust the horizon line of your shot.
When the skies are boring find a scene that has lots of foreground interest and shift the horizon upward, as shown above.
Not only does this trick help eliminate the boring sky problem, but it also helps you introduce interesting elements into the foreground, which invites viewers to take a deeper look at the photo.
Common Landscape Photography Problem #4: Flat Photos
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One of the challenges of photography is trying to make a two-dimensional image feel like it's three-dimensional.
Of course, many photographers fail in this regard, so their photos are flat and lack dimension.
A surefire way to combat this landscape photography mistake is to include elements that extend from the foreground to the midground and background of the shot.
This can be done with any kind of leading line - a pathway, a highway, or a jetty on a lake, for example.
Our eyes naturally like lines, so using them as a tool to create the illusion of depth and connectedness between the different areas of your photos will do your images a ton of good.
Give these landscape photography tips a try and see how much better your photos are as a result!