4 Tips for Breathtaking Landscape Photos

Fall foliage. Mountain vistas. Rolling hills. Landscape photography can make for some of the most pleasing images you’ll ever snap. Here’s what you need to know to shoot gorgeous outdoor panoramas.

1. Stake Out Your Spot

A great landscape shot starts with the right landscape, of course, so you’ll want to invest some time in staking out your subject before you get down to shooting. Remember, the best landscape photos are composed of more than just an amazing background; look for an interesting foreground, as well.

A shot of the forest in the distance may be lovely, but it’s only half the shot. What’s between you and the trees? Positioning yourself on the other side of a lake from your subject or in the middle of an old dirt road leading to it can make for a far more powerful picture than if you’d simply shot the forest by itself. Think of the foreground of your shot as the visual introduction to the landscape in the background—and give it just as much thought as the landscape itself.

2. Lighting Is Everything

The time of day when you shoot is crucial to landscape photos. A shot taken at noon will have a different impact than one taken at sundown. Consider the time when you’re staking out landscapes, and remember to keep the position of the sun in mind. The only time you’ll want to shoot directly into the sun is during sunrise or sunset. The rest of the time, keep the sun behind you or to one side. As with most types of outdoor photography, you’ll get the best landscape shots in the hours immediately surrounding dawn and dusk, when the light is less harsh and hard shadows are minimized.

3. Prepping Your Camera for Landscapes

For almost every landscape shot, you’ll want to shoot with a wide angle and a large depth of field. Together, these will let you capture as much of the landscape as possible, while helping to keep the entire image in focus. If you have an interchangeable lens camera, a wide-angle lens is usually a better choice than a telephoto lens.

4. Keep the Shutter Open

Unlike portrait or action shots, most landscape photos benefit from using a long (or slow) shutter speed. Part of this is necessity; a slower shutter speed will compensate for the depth of field settings discussed above by letting in more light. But artistry plays a role as well. A slow shutter will give a sense of motion to elements in a picture that aren’t completely still. This is especially effective if there is water or fog in a scene. A lake photographed with a long exposure will look fluid and alive; waterfalls will be spectacular. One caveat: Use a tripod when shooting with a slow shutter speed, as even a slight hand movement can ruin your shot with blur.

Photo Credits: Samsung

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