If you have a digital compact camera, then taking landscape pictures 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.
Remember that the quality of light is one of the most important elements of photography.
- For lighting that is soft with a touch of warmth, take your landscape photos during the “Golden Hours” which is the hour after dawn and the last hour before sunset.
- For intensified colors and subdued highlights, shoot under an overcast sky.
- If you want dramatic shadows, take pictures under a cloudy sky.
- You can add drama and interest to your landscape scene by adding contrast. For example, you could have red and gold autumn leaves against a brilliant blue sky.
- To get an ultra soft effect, almost ethereal effect, shoot on a foggy day.
The next most important element of any good picture is composition. Here are some tips for composing perfect landscape pictures.
- Always compose your landscape photos so that the horizon looks straight. Creative, fun angles have their place in photography, but not when you’re taking a horizon.
- Fill two thirds of your viewfinder with the landscape you want to be the subject of your photo.
- Look for distinct 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 could be anything like a tree, person, animal or house. The focal point won’t be the main subject (the landscape is),but it adds depth, draws the viewer into the image and gives the eyes a place to rest, thus engaging the viewer longer with your photograph. In short, a focal point makes your landscape photo more interesting and more enjoyable to view.
- Watch 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.
There’s always more to learn with photography, but just by following the tips above you can start taking great pictures of your favorite landscapes.