Tips  to Capture Landscape Images

Sunset on Song Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan

Everyone loves beautiful landscape images and being photographer we really want to create some stunning landscape images. Here today I am going to talk about some golden rules to help you make good landscape images.

So here you go with:

Pack your backpack with right gears: We prepare for so many things before the shoot but many times you don’t need too many things to pack to make some nice images but when I travel some of the equipment are on my must list and here are they.

  • Full Frame Camera body
  • Wide Angle Lens
  • Mid-range Telephoto Lens
  • Super Telephoto Lens (Travel to waste landscape area, e.g.  Ladakh)
  • ND /GND Filters
  • Enough Batteries
  • Extra Memory Cards
  • Rain / Snow Cover
  • Shutter Release Cable / Remote

Tripod: Tripod is one of the essential parts of landscape photography and one must have a good sturdy tripod which is good for listed kind of weather conditions.

  • Windy
  • Cold
  • Dusty
  • Can take a good load of camera and lenses.
  • Tripod Height

Why tripod? Tripod will help you to keep your equipment stable especially when you are shooting at low light and shutter speed goes beyond the handheld capacity to hold and shoot. This will avoid any kind of shake. And it’s very much useful when you have attached multiple filters systems.

Wait for the Golden Hours: Everyone is talking about golden hours, what is that? Basically, dawn and dusk hours are golden hours to shoot especially landscape images. During this time light is coming from the side and creates beautiful shadows and also the angle of light creates beautiful patterns and texture.  During golden hours light is soft and colours are really vivid and warm.

Sunrise over Anjanadri Hills, Hampi
Sunrise over Anjanadri Hills, Hampi

Look for Foreground: One of the important element for landscape images is foreground which is going with your composition. The composition can set apart your landscape image is to think carefully about the foreground of your shots and by placing points of interest in them makes an image really beautiful. This will add a sense of depth to your shot.

Tungabhadra River & Coracles
Tungabhadra River & Coracles

Look for Focal Point / Point of Interest: All images need some sort of focal point to them and landscapes are no different. This will help you to lead your viewers to lead in specific directions rather allow them to wonder nowhere in an image and lose interest. Point of Interest is very important for landscape image, without this it looks really empty or cultured.

Points of interest can take many forms in landscapes and could range from a building, structure, tree or tree line, a boulder or rock formation, a silhouette etc. But it is also important to think about composition under the rule of third and that will help to make your image stand out.

Snow Field, Ladakh Photographer at frozen Pangong Tso
Snow Field, Ladakh Photographer at frozen Pangong Tso

Consider Sky & Leading Lines: When we talk about landscape photography, Sky is another element to consider, we can’t forget beautiful clouds and sky. Sky can be a major dominating element for foreground in many images, otherwise clear blue sky might be just boring. When you get into a situation of the just blue boring sky, make sure you avoid it and try to find interesting foreground. Oh yes, don’t forget the rule of third to apply. If you have beautiful dramatic sky consider to add in the foreground and let add more sky, here filters can be used to add more colours to the sky to add contrast and colours.

One important thing to keep in mind in landscape image how to lead viewers eyes There are many ways to achieve this and one of the best ways into a shot is to provide viewers with lines that lead them into an image. Lines give an image depth, scale and can be a point of interest in and of themselves by creating patterns in your shot.

Sunrise in Ladakh
Sunrise in Ladakh
Sunrise near Anjanadri Hills, Hampi
Sunrise near Anjanadri Hills, Hampi

Work with Weather: Weather is one of the most important factors when you are making landscape image, study well before you heading with a camera on location. But in most of whether you can make nice images provided if you are open to it and not looking for something particular.

Landscape image making sometimes becomes tough when the weather changes rapidly and dramatically. So right weather windows is an important part of landscape image making.

Personally, I like to shoot in the rainy, cloudy or overcast day which gives you more drama in the scene and better opportunities to shoot variety. So looking for rain, storm or sunset sunrise with clouds and mist is good for making landscape image than just a sunny blue sky.

Landscape in Himalayas
Landscape in the Himalayas

Maximum use of depth of filed: Everyone wants to see landscape image end to end sharp, in other words, every corner of an image must be sharp to get the good look of an image unless some artistic blur of with depth of field. How do we achieve this? We have to keep F stop on the higher number.

While there may be times that you want to get a little more creative and experiment with narrow depth of fields in your Landscape Photography – the normal approach is to ensure that as much of your scene is in focus as possible. The simplest way to do this is to choose a small Aperture setting (a large number F14, 18, 22 ) as the smaller your aperture the greater the depth of field in your shots.

Do keep in mind that smaller apertures mean less light is hitting your image sensor at any point in time so they will mean you need to compensate either by increasing your ISO or lengthening your shutter speed (or both) and tripod will help you to stabilize camera and lens which gives sharp image without blur.

Tungabhadra River & Coracles
Tungabhadra River & Coracles

Vantage Point: Meaning of vantage is a position, condition, or place affording some advantage or a commanding view and take it to make you image uniquely looking than others.

Look for a viewpoint which helps to see the entire scene differently, there is nothing wrong you drive up to the scenic lookout if no drive, climbs a hill. Also get out of the vehicle, grab your camera or without camera look around, walk up to the barrier, raise the camera to your eye, rotate left and right a little, zoom a little and take your shot before getting back in the car to go to the next scenic lookout. Basically, explore the environment around you and experiment with different viewpoints and you could find something truly unique.

Rider under the shade of sun and clouds near to Song Kul Kake, Kyrgyzstan
Rider under the shade of sun and clouds near to Song Kul Kake, Kyrgyzstan

Shoot in “RAW”: RAW, I consider as negative of the digital image and regardless of the type of photography you should shoot in raw, which gives you better control on your image data while doing post-processing.

When shooting in a format like JPEG image information is compressed and lost. Because no information is compressed with RAW you’re able to produce higher quality images, as well as correct problem images that would be unrecoverable if shot in the JPEG format.

Get Filters: A filter is nothing but a piece of glass which fits in between your camera and scene which you are shooting.

There can be detailed discussed on a filter can that we will talk in next topic but general terms you should consider listed filters in your landscape photography.

  • Neutral Density Filters (ND) – To reduce light to enter into your camera sensor and can be used to frizzes moment of a waterfall to give a soothing effect.
  • Graduated Neutral Density (GND)  – A Graduated Neutral Density Filter is one made of two parts; a completely transparent area and other one is a darker section. By setting the darkest part of the filter to correspond with the brightest portion of the scene, you can reduce the exposure difference (dynamic range) in the frame. This filter helps to capture clouds or mountains.
  • Polarizing Filter – This filter to helps you to enhance contrast ratio and colours. And keep in mind polarizing filter change exposure so before careful while using it.

Do Post Processing: There is nothing wrong doing post-processing on an image as it gives you an opportunity to make your image better and helps to do correction in terms of contrast, colours, cropping an image to get help on missed composition during the shoot.

Earlier days there was darkroom to handle these all and in the digital world, we have software to handle such request, software such as Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop are the great example of it. Use them carefully to make you image standout in the crowd.

Thank you and happy clicking, hope you will like this. Let me know what topic you would like to cover here in the comment.


2 thoughts on Tips  to Capture Landscape Images

    • Thank you for your suggestion Uma, Yes, it can be but everyone has a budget to invest. It is so vast discussion it can’t be justified in one blog post. Everyone has a different need to shoot and shooting style and preferences as well. If I say something for landscape, might not go with street or portrait. Good equipment is costly and most of us can’t invest in one go. If you have a basic idea what kind of your photography interest you have, shall be able to guide with specifications. I will try to cover a bit, but I’m not sure how to make it general.

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