How to Take Great Pictures of Landscapes

If you’re ike most camera owners and have a digital compact, this is your camera’s time to shine. For most serious photographers, an SLR or DSLR is the obvious camera choice, but when it comes to landscapes, compact cameras rule because they offer a much better depth of field. All you need to do to get some great landscape photos is to set your compact to landscape mode and follow these tips. And before you know it you’ll be hanging your landscape pictures in gallery picture frames on the wall for all your friends and family to admire.

Remember one of the most important keys to taking good pictures is the quality of light.

  • For lighting that is soft, even and has a touch of warmth, take your landscape photos during the Golden Hours: the first hour after dawn and the last hour before sunset (unless you’re taking sunset pictures).
  • For bright colors and subdued highlights, take pictures under an overcast sky.
  • If you want dramatic shadows, take pictures under a cloudy sky.
  • Enhance the quality of your image and add drama by photographing a landscape scene with contrast; for example, red and gold autumn leafed trees against a strong blue sky.
  • To get an ultra soft effect, almost ethereal effect, shoot on a foggy day.

The next most important element is composition. Here are some tips for composing perfect landscape pictures.

  • Always compose your landscape photos so that the horizon looks straight. When taking a horizon, don’t get creative and try different angles as they need to be straight or your picture won’t look right.
  • Fill two-thirds of your frame with the subject of most interest, whether it be a dramatic sky or an interesting foreground.
  • Look for lines. Lines could be anything from the obvious river or road to a shadow running along the sand dunes. If your image has lines, try framing your shot so that the major lines lead the eye toward the main point of interest, for example, a road winding its way to the mountains that are the subject of your photograph.
  • Compose your photo with a point of interest in the foreground. This focal point could be a road or other line as mentioned above, a tree, person, animal, house, etc. Although the focal point won’t be the main subject, it adds depth and draws the viewer into the picture so they’ll look at the picture longer. In short, a focal point makes your landscape photo more interesting and more enjoyable to view.
  • Look out for clutter. In a landscape photo, clutter could be a power line or a branch in the way or garbage on the ground. If you can’t get the shot you want without the clutter, use a decent photo editor like Photoshop to remove it.

And another tip for mastering landscape photography is to properly frame your picture in a picture frame that complements your image. In most cases, landscape pictures look best in frames with clean lines like simple metal frames or a classic wood picture frame.

There is always more to learn, but by just following these tips you can take even better pictures of your favorite landscapes.