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Landscape photography is easy, right? Just point your camera at something pretty and you're good to go!
Creating epic landscape photos like the one above takes a lot of time, practice, and patience.
Having a few landscape photography tricks up your sleeve helps, too.
With that in mind, here are a few tried-and-true landscape photography tricks you should be using to get more impactful images.
Compose the Shot With a Focal Point in Mind
Image Credit: bluejayphoto via iStock
One of the things that separates professional landscape photos from amateur landscape photos is the presence of a strong subject.
Professional images have something that anchors the shot and immediately catches the viewer's attention.
And this doesn't have to be a big landscape feature like a mountain, either.
Instead, a strong focal point can be a color, a bright area of light, a building (as shown above), or even a person (people work very well with landscapes!).
So, when composing your landscapes, think about what you can use as an anchor in the shot. More than that, think about where you'll place that anchor.
Bear in mind the rule of thirds to help you create something that's visually balanced, and try using tricks like leading lines to help make the focal point of the shot even more obvious.
If you do these things, you'll end up with an image that takes people on a journey rather than one that looks and feels empty.
Use a Polarizing Filter
Image Credit: Koldunova_Anna via iStock
I have to admit that I didn't start using filters of any kind for several years after I got my first camera.
I think that I was just intimidated by having yet another thing to account for in my workflow. I was having enough trouble learning camera settings at that point!
But to set aside filters as not being a crucial part of creating landscape photos is a huge mistake. That's especially true of a polarizing filter because it can do so much for your photos.
Consider the benefits of polarizing filters:
So, as you can see, when you're shooting landscapes, learning how to use a circular polarizer can do a lot to help you get the shot as close to perfect in-camera as possible.
That means more time out in the field shooting and less time in front of your camera trying to correct things. That sounds like a deal to me!
Of course, not all filters are made alike, so be careful when you invest in one for your kit.
Personally, I'm a big fan of Kenko polarizing filters because they offer a nice balance between excellent build quality and price.
Kenko is the largest filter company in Japan, and they have fine-tuned the process of making filters over many, many years.
Editor's Tip: Get Kenko’s latest updates and access to promos for discounted gear. Click here to sign up.
The result - particularly with their Puro Line of filters - is a tool that maximizes performance, protects your lens, reduced vignetting when shooting with a wide-angle lens, and has multiple coatings to prevent water, dust, and oils from damaging the filter surface.
Best of all, these filters are reasonably priced, so you can add one to your kit without feeling like you need to take out a loan.
It's a win-win!
Give Viewers Something to See by Maximizing the Depth of Field
Typically, when shooting landscapes, you want to have a deep depth of field, meaning, have as much of the shot in focus as possible.
By having clear, sharp features from foreground to background, you're able to create an image that has a ton of dimension. Besides, it's the way we see landscapes with our own eyes!
The easiest way to get a large depth of field is to use a smaller aperture opening, like f/16, because the smaller the aperture opening, the greater the depth of field.
Of course, you don't have to use the smallest aperture to get great depth of field. In fact, because lenses are often sharpest in the f/8-f/11 range, choosing an aperture between those values will often get you the best results.
If you're not sure how to manipulate aperture, shooting in aperture priority mode is a great way to start taking more control over your camera.
For a comprehensive discussion of depth of field, have a look at the video above by Professional Photography Tips.
And there you have it - three tried-and-true landscape photography tricks that will help you improve the quality of your photos.