Landscape photography is one of the charm in photography in creating pictures with a good depth, in this case a blurry background to differentiate the main focus with its background or a clear focus of the background. A camera can only focus it’s lenses on a single point, thus making objects far apart from the focus point distance appears shallow or blurry. Depth of field refers to the range of distance that appears acceptably sharp. It may vary depending on the camera,  focusing distance and aperture. In this case, camera aperture plays an important role in creating a good depth of field (DOF). Large aperture leads more light into the camera, while small aperture lets in less light. DOF has an impact on both the aesthetic and technical quality of a picture. A good example is when you’re photographing a landscape, where generally the most desirable outcome is to capture detail from the background to the horizon. In order for camera to create a shallow DOF, a large aperture is needed. When using large aperture, photographer has to bear in mind that the more light that come into the camera, the more blurry or bright it can get. Assume that the photographer trying to get most of the details in, he will need to use a small aperture, thus creating a deep DOF. 

Setting The Right Aperture For Landscape Photography

Most of the time, you can simply hold the camera in your hand, as it gives you a  much quicker time to grab a shot. But sometimes, a little shake of hand can leave your picture blurry. Serious camera shake leaves everything streaked in the direction you moved the camera, usually vertically. Hence, you will need a tripod to support your camera. In landscape photography, especially night landscape, a long exposure shot is needed in order to give enough time for light to enter the camera. A long exposure is when you set your camera shutter speed into a slower speed, usually around one second or more, in order to get enough light in the night. The thing is, during a long exposure shot, the camera must not be allowed to shake even a little, or else it will ruin the photo. Thus, there is the needs of using tripod when taking night landscape photography. Tripod will make sure  the camera stays still during the exposure. The longer the shutter speed, means more light will get in the camera and thus ensuring you would get a clearer and sharper image.

Landscape Photography Tripod

Most people would set their focal point in the middle of the picture, or even at the horizon. However it might not be the ideal place to focus your camera. A photo should include a main object or point of interest. This focal point offers the viewer a place to rest their eyes, and it also gives your photo meaning. Without a focal point your image is unlikely to hold the viewer’s attention for long. When it comes to landscape photography, the first thing that you need is to search out an interesting subjects to include in your scene. There are variety of subjects that would make the landscape photo looks more interesting, such as building, silhouette, striking tree and even rock formation. Once you have identified your point of interest, then you can build your composition around that focal point to draw attention to it.

Landscape photography focal point

Creating a good composition is the key of making great photo. Including foreground objects is a great way of adding interest to your photos. It also gives an image more depth, helping to lead the eye from the front to the back of the photo. Gives your viewer a way into the image, so that they have something of interest to really hold it. Without it you’ll find people will simply glance at your shots and then move on to the next one. Shooting from a lower angle often makes it easier to include objects in the foreground.

Landscape photography foreground focus

Always consider the horizon when shooting. The rule of thirds is all about where you position the main elements in a scene. The rule which is really just a guideline suggests that an image will look more balanced and aesthetically pleasing if you position important parts of the scene off-center. The rule of thirds suggest that the most important lines in a photo, both horizontal and vertical, should be placed along the grid lines. You will need to make sure the line is straight, hence there would be no tilting. By using this rule, one can split the image into thirds, so the horizon should fall on either the upper third or the lower third.

Landscape photography horizon line

Always keep an eye on the sky. Landscape can change even by a little breeze blowing, clouds drifting around, or even the sun setting down. As a photographer, you will need to consider what is the thing that interest you in within the sky. It could be the cumulonimbus clouds arrangement, a ray of sunlight passing through the gap of cloud or even an airplane passing through. As the sky are constantly changing, there is a need in considering how to compo a good landscape image by taking the sky into consideration. If there is a clear sky with nothing in particular that can catch the eye of viewers, place the horizon on the upper third line. This will cut the empty space in your composition, hence focusing more on the subject at the ground but still retaining the depth of picture. Same goes when the sky gets more dramatic, place the horizon on the lower third line. This will include more of the sky into the main composition, giving the viewers something interesting to see within the sky.

Landscape photography sky

Including lines in your composition is a great way of leading the eye into the image. Ideally the lines should lead towards the main subject, and they usually work better if they run diagonally rather than horizontally or vertically. Roads, paths, railway tracks, bridges and rivers are commonly used as leading lines. Used correctly, leading lines are one of the most powerful ways to create an image with a really strong visual impact that will get your photos noticed. Lines can also give the image depth as your eyes follows them from the front to the back of the photo.

Landscape photography lines

Capturing movements into your landscape photo might be a tricky part, so often people worry about wind movement of trees and grasses spoiling their photos. Subtle movements in your picture can create a drama, a story that tells the viewer about the particular photo itself. That ghostly appearance of the ocean, or cotton candy look of a waterfall, is simply the result of a long exposure. The shutter staying open an extended amount of time while making the picture. Thus photographer would use a longer shutter speed to capture movement, usually longer than 0.5 seconds and with the support of tripod. Subtle movements of water and grasses can create a point of interest, or even use to lead the viewer eyes to the main focus. Freezing a movement is also a key point in creating a good photo, especially when taking a fast-moving subjects. Fast exposure photo can freeze action that happen in the blink of an eye. Capturing a bird in mid-flight, or horse jumping over a fence could create a breathtaking picture.

Landscape photography movement

Always go for the golden hour, sunset gives photo dynamic patterns, dimension and textures. When it comes to sunset, people mostly took photos of the sun itself. While it may look nice but most of the vibrant colours are usually appears after the sun’s gone from view. While sometimes wonderful sunrise and sunset shots can be taken spontaneously without any forethought it’s often the case that the best ones come out of planning. Scope out places that might be good for sunsets in the day or two before your shoot. Look for interesting places where you might not only be able to see the sun track all the way down but where there will be opportunities for shots that include foreground elements and silhouettes. Keep an eye on the weather also. There are many different types of sunsets that produce a range of different types of lights and patterns in the sky. Sunsets only take half an hour or so, you might want to think about these elements before they start or you could miss the shots you’re after.

Landscape photography golden hour

Time of the day plays an important part in deciding the photo attractiveness. In a research conducted by collecting 552,000 photos, about 11.4 million people was asked which photo that look best for them. From the result, it can be concluded that people find that photos are much more interesting in between the time of sunrise and sunset. Apparently, there are many people finds that night photos looks far more attractive than during the day. And the least favourite time are during the 10 in the morning, and after the sun set down at 8 in the evening. The data shows clearly that photo attractiveness peaks during the golden hour, sunrise and sunset. It can be concluded that capturing a beautiful, colourful sunrise or sunset is one of the most favourite landscape subjects. In the end, photography is an art, not a science. There are no strict rule on what you can and cannot do. A landscape is always changing, even the smallest breeze can alter how you perceive it. By keeping these tips in your camera bag, you’ll be photographing like a pro.

Landscape photography fun facts