With smartphones always in hand and Instagram feeds constantly being thumbed through, it's no wonder that a lot of people have dabbled in photography. While it's easy to point and shoot with your iPhone or Pixel, there are simple tips budding photographers can use in order to perfect their landscape shots.
1. Include a Focal Point
In person, landscapes often feel vast, which is why the idea of capturing them on camera is so appealing. However, a landscape without a focal point or subject just leaves your viewer's eyes wandering aimlessly through the photo. A focal point or subject gives the viewer a place to rest their eyes after they take in the whole image. A focal point can also provide scale to show the vastness of the landscapes. Subjects used as a focal point can be people, animals, cars, trees, or any object you want.
2. Bring a Small Lightweight Tripod
Some landscapes are more dynamic when taken in time-lapse or with a slow shutter speed (there's an app for smartphones). This method is difficult to achieve if you try to hold your phone for an extended period of time. Why? Movement of course. Enter: the tripod. A small, packable tripod will keep your landscape photos steady when you want to go for that long exposure effect.
3. Find Minimalist Landscapes
Ever heard the saying that "less is more"? Landscapes can often feel as though they are bursting with colors and textures, but there's a case to make for the minimalist landscape. Whether it's finding a lone tree or rock, the negative space surrounding the subject can be impactful with the void created. The "rule of thirds" frequently plays a part in minimalist landscapes. This is a composition technique that encourages the photographer to divide the picture into three, and to have the subject off-centered—creating a more visually intriguing composition.
4. Catch the “Blue Hour”
You've heard of the golden hour, right? It's the moment right before sunset when the sunlight is a soft warm golden hue. Many photographers seek the golden hour to set the perfect mood for their photos. But there's another hour that's worth waiting for and that's the "blue hour". This is the moment after the sun goes down, also known as twilight, when hues of blue and purple saturate the scenery.
5. Get a Good Sense of the Place
When you get to a place you want to shoot, it's easy to take pictures from the first spot you setup your tripod. Resist. Hiking or walking around to explore different vantage points will enable you to find the most unique perspectives. You might find a place to setup your camera where you least expected.