Sunday, November 16, 2014

How to take stunning Landscape Photos

I figured that I haven't done a tutorial in a while, and while this post isn't strictly a tutorial, but more a list of rules for how to take stunning landscape photos, I still think it will be of use to you. These are the guidelines I go by.


You know these stunning landscape photos you see all over the internet? The ones that are perfectly framed, have great color and look like a painting? Well, there are a few tips and tricks how you can achieve this specific type of landscape shot.

click on the images for a bigger view

Take your Landscape Photos at the right time

The first thing that should be on your mind when taking landscape photos is time. This is sort of a known rule, but it's the most important one. Take your landscape photos 20 minutes before the sun sets or 20 minutes after the sun sets during sunset. It also works the other way around. Take your shots 20 minutes before the sun rises and 20 minutes after. I usually go with the sunset, since I rarely have time to get up so early, but here are two examplels of landscape shots, taken at sunset and sunrise.

Photo taken a couple of minutes before sunset

Landscape photo taken 10 minutes before sunrise

Framing your Landscape Photos

There is the rule of thirds, which you probably have heard of before. Divide the image into three parts and make it 1 part land and 2 parts sky, or 2 parts land and 1 part sky. But you can (and should) play with this rule. Also, when you think about landscape photos, you also think about landscape mode (shooting horizontally). That doesn't have to be the case. Shoot vertically sometimes. It can make your shot much more interesting. Take a look at the landscape photos below:

A Landscape taken Vertically

Playing with the Rule of Thirds, and giving more impact to the water.

Bring your Tripod with you

This is an essential tool that divides Pro Shots from others. When you shoot at these times of the day, sometimes, your shots can come out slightly blurry because the light will start to go. Bring your tripod with you and use a remote clicker to take the shot, or set your camera up that it takes the shot 5 or 10 seconds after you press the shutter button.

 

Shoot in Aperture Priority Mode

If you have a dslr camera, this is a must. Often times, people will tell you that you have to shoot in Manual mode (and you certainly can). But I have found that the easiest solution is to shoot in Aperture Priority Mode. You will find it on your camera's dial. On a Canon camera it's called "Av", and on a Nikon camera it's called "A". This controles the depth of field for your landscape photo. You want the foreground and background (most of the times, unless you are playing with this) to be sharp. So dial your switch to Av or A and choose a high aperture number, starting from f22 for maximum sharpness.


 

Make Moody Weather your Friend

So it's overcast outside, or maybe the clouds are rolling in, and you think: Oh the sun will not come out today, I'm not going to shoot any landscapes. You could be wrong there. Make use of the moody weather and incorporate it into your shots. Also, fog can be your friend as well. All of them will create interesting landscape photos. Just make sure to protect your photo gear in bad weather!



 

Shoot Extremely Wide or Zoom into one Detail

I know that the title sounds contradictory, but let me explain. For stunning landscape photos, you have the choice from the two. Either go all out, all wide as much as you can and capture it all, or zoom into one detail that can suggest the rest of the scene and stay with it. Here are two examples:

A Zoom into the Mountain and Big Cloud hanging above it

A Wide shot of the Valley

Let your Landscape Photos have a Subject

Make your landscape about something. Most of the times, a landscape shot won't work because there is no clear focus to it. Make your shot about something and let the rest of the landscape work its way into the shot. Also make sure to get rid of unwanted objects and clutter in your image. Simplicity is the way to go. You will see what I mean in the example below:

The fortress in the bay is the clear subject of this photo, and leads the eye right to it.

~

I hope I have helped you out a bit if you were in need for some tips and tricks. If you have any further questions, let me know in the comments below.

Feel free to share this post with other who might need it.


59 comments:

  1. Great photos, clear colors, and good instructions. How many of your photos have you enlarged, framed and hang in your house/apartment?

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    1. I have yet to do that, believe it or not. :) Thank you for visiting and for your comment.

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  2. Beautiful images and great tips! :)

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    1. Thanks Lois. I hope they can be of use.

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  3. I really need to improve at landscape photography. These are GREAT tips and examples!

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    1. I hope that these will be useful to you then!

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  4. Such stunning landscapes can't but look great through your lens!

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  5. Beautiful photos, Mersad, and GREAT advice!

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  6. thanks for this tutorial, your landscapes are always beautiful.. I love the photo of the tripod.. my favorite of all the landscapes.. i like the beauty behind and the focus of the tripod ready to grab that view...

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    1. I like that shot as well. I was on those slopes for the first time when I took it, and I think the shot really does represent the feeling of being there well.

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  7. I will take the advice in account on my next shhot, great advice.

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  8. Great tutorial Mersad, and your images/examples are stunning.
    But I must confess I rarely use a tripod.. I have a very steady hand.
    Super post!

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    1. Thanks Laura. I have a very steady hand as well. But when you zoom into a handheld image and a tripod one, there is a difference. :)

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  9. Wunderschöne Bilder. Das erste scheint mir ein bißchen unnatürlich, zu viel mit Farben bearbeitet zu sein. Mein Liebling ist das große stehende Bild mit dem gelben Getreide. Liebe Grüße

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    1. Ehrlich gesagt ist am ersten Bild nicht viel gemacht. Es entstand 10 minuten nach Sonnenuntergang an einem Sommerabend, wie in Tipp 1 erklärt.
      Danke für deinen Besuch.

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  10. I like this tutorial. I never seem to have that tripod ready when I do shoot. It is always with me it is the spontaneity of seeing that specific image that grabs you.

    That last post with the virgo streaming out of the clouds always makes me run for the camera. We used to say it was angels coming from heaven as children.

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  11. Awesome captures and a great tutorial indeed! Seeing your pics is a wonderful way to start my day! I do appreciate the beauty you share with us well as the great photography tips/info!! Have a great new week, Mersad!! Enjoy!!

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  12. Mersad, I can't fault your results but I tackle it a different way. At least for working shots. I do go out and click the majority of the time.
    For working or promotional stuff I rarely go above f11 and try and keep to f9. I shoot at ISO 160 as that is the native speed of a Canon sensor. I then take three shots focussed at close, a third in and Infinity. I never even bother checking the first two It's about a meter on the lens, then 4m then I focus on infinity as the marker on Canon lenses isn't reliable. I then focus stack with masks. I have got Zerene but have never used it for landscapes. I don't use mirror lock up but I do use cable release and a tripod and lace it down with one of those corkscrew things for tethering dogs and a bungy cord. I tried a bag full of rocks but it just swings about and makes things worse. I don't have a preference for time of day as an interesting sky can happen at any time and colour temperature can be adjusted in zones with the adjustment brush.
    The beauty of photography is the number of different ways of achieving a result.

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    1. Thanks Adrian for your detailed comment. I'm sure it will be of good use to others. I my post I didn't want to go into sharpness as much as composition and other factors for landscape photography. What you wrote can (and should) be a subject for a future tutorial. Thanks so much for visiting and for providing us with a glimpse on how you do it.

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  13. Thank you for the helpful tips! I'm not much of a photographer but I would like to get started on it :D Your photos are breathtaking!!

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    1. Thanks so much Alejandra. I hope this can be of use to you. You can find other tutorials under the link on top of this page.

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  14. Your suggestions are very useful, good post and landscapes shots too
    Ciao
    Ste

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  15. Good tips and great pictures. Thanks!
    Happy Sunday!
    :-)
    Traci

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  16. I would love to think I might take pictures like yours one day…These tips are really helpful and I am anxious to try them….Thanks.

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  17. Pokusacu zapamtiti tvoje savjete za sljedeci put; fotke su bajkovite!

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  18. Great tips, we have plenty of moody weather in the UK and being this far North means that in the winter the sun is nearly always low on the horizon which tends to create interesting light for landscapes

    Mollyxxx

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  19. Mersad, these are wonderful tips. You certainly have a talent for this type of photography.

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  20. Mersad, these are rocking cool landscape photographs. The colors of mountains and sky are spectacular.

    Would you please tell me what head ball you use for you tripod? It would be very, very helpful for me. Thank you for sharing some tips to us. That is very good also.

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    1. Thanks Kaya. I use a pan/tilt head ball on my tripod.

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  21. Great,informative post. I have much to learn in the field of photography,but that's what makes it interesting.always something new to learn.

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  22. Good tips! I rarely use a tripod because they are awkward to lug around, although I have several.

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  23. Beautiful landscape shot; I need a new tripod I can never hold my camera straight free hand. =0(

    My Phlog

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  24. It was interesting to read your approach. I would have two comments. First, I don't think one needs to be as limited in time of day . . . there can be great light at many other times of the day. A steady diet of sunrise and sunset photos becomes a bit bland, to my eye. Second, I usually look to include something with interest in the scene, as you did with the tripod. A person or animal? A building? A tree? Again, a steady diet of landscapes without a focus becomes a bit bland to my eye.

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    1. Thank you Jack for your input. It's much appreciated. This post was about a certain type of landscape shot. Of course you will find yourself at other times in the day when you simply have to take the shot because you won't be there for sunset. These guidelines are there for people who need to know the basic postulates. As always playing with the rules is what differentiates us from each other. In regards to your second point, I have stated in the last part that your landscapes should have a subject. Maybe it skipped by you. Again, thank you very much for your great comment.

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  25. Great tips and much appreciated. I love that you gave settings because I always struggle with that choice and often take several at different settings because I am not sure of myself. This is very helpful and I must say, your pictures are a testiment to your ability. Thank you, Mersad ...

    Andrea @ From The Sol

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  26. You certainly have some wonderful landscapes!!! I think it is easier when you have such hilly terrain, rather than the relative flat lands around here!

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  27. great tips Mersad. Thanks for taking the time to share.

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  28. Mersad, would you please tell what type pan/tilt head ball do you use? I mean what brand and who makes it. There are so many of them. I am looking for a new head ball and I appreciate if you give me this details.

    Thank you very much for answering my question.

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  29. I enjoyed the info and your shots. I am new learning about taking photos and I can not even master copyrighting my own stuff. Thank you for sharing.

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  30. Most informative, as ever. I actually had a look at my camera to find that 'A' setting. Bingo, it was there. Thanks again!

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  31. Thanks for the tutorial...very helpful...your postcard shots are proof♪ http://lauriekazmierczak.com/cityscape/

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  32. hello Mersad, thank you for giving us this great tutorial with many useful tips! I surely will try the Aperture Priority Mode. But to take a beautiful sunrise that will be difficult, because I am such a sleeper and can't get out of bed so early in the morning ;-)

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    1. You can always go for the sunset, and it'll be perfect. I hope you will find these tips useful.

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  33. I learned a lot as a painter. I have an "artist's eye" for composition, etc. I love the golden light of late day also. It's so soft. But, a photographer I am not! :-) It's the mechanics of the "machine" I don't understand. I liked your advice about the Aperture setting and I'm going to try that. LOVE the vertical shot, by the way, with the crisp, perfectly focused elements of the hills and sky. Amazing!

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  34. Espectacular este reportaje, lleno de fotografías con una gran belleza.-
    Magnifico trabajo.-
    Saludos.-

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  35. Great tutorial! Though I've come across most of this information in one place or another you did a great job of putting it all together in one place and presented it quite nicely.

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  36. Excellent tips, I learned a few things and the photos worked as great examples.

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  37. Thanks for sharing those excellent advices, illustrated with so beautiful pictures. It is so neat of you...

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  38. Interesting and practical tips for amazingly beautiful results...like your own! Thanks for sharing!

    Poppy

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  39. This is wonderful! I needed this :)

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  40. Avery informative post!

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