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Landscape photography is one of the favorite categories among our readers and because of that we give it special attention. With new people taking up photography and discovering a new passion every year, knowledge is becoming increasingly valuable.
With that said, in order to be a successful landscape photographer, or better said take impressive photographs, you need to learn a thing or two about this type of photography. It isn't the hardest but if you're serious about it, it will make you sweat a little.
All the tips that we are going to give you are essential for understanding landscape photography. However no amount of reading or acquiring of theoretical knowledge will turn you into a good landscape shooter without enough practice. So get out there and shoot as quickly as possible, but before you do, take a few minutes to read these essential tips.
Let's start with the gear. The camera isn't really that important, but the lens is. Most landscape photographs are taken using a wide angle or ultra-wide lens. You want to be able to capture as much of a beautiful scene as you want. You also want everything to be sharp, from foreground to infinity. In order to achieve that, use an f-stop range between f/8-f/11.
But a clean, sharp image is nothing without a focal point. You need to have something in your frame that will draw attention to it and make the picture interesting. Without that you will just have a photo of nothing. The focal point can be pretty much anything: a river, some tree or even rocks. Balance and composition are very important and it pays off to turn to the classic composition rules like the rule of thirds and the golden ratio.
Regarding weather, many beginners make the mistake of believing that only sunny days are good for shooting landscapes. It's actually completely opposite. Cloudy skies often produce the best natural light.
Filters are indispensable tools for the landscape photographer. You don't need a separate bag for them, but there are a few that have to be in your kit at all times. The first one is the Gradual Neutral Density filter. You've probably took photos with white skies and dark land before. The GND is designed specifically to deal with that problem and balance exposure.
Next, you're going to need a circular polarizer. It is the only filter the effect of which cannot be replicated using post processing. It enhances contrast and color, making blue skies a pleasure to look at, but even more importantly, it reduces reflections.
Finally, the simple Neutral Density filter will allow you to take long exposures in broad daylight because it reduces exposures by a number of stops. Some filters will even cut down exposure by ten stops.
Speaking of long exposure, the item you're going to need almost as much as your camera is the tripod. You can't take any long exposures without it and ultimately it is a great creative tool.
Finally, the best way to become good at landscape photography is to apply these tips and shoot as much as possible.
Photographer Doug McKinlay from AdoramaTV also has some tips for you in this short video. Enjoy!