TutorialsLandscape photographyLandscape Photography Tips for Beginners

Landscape Photography Tips for Beginners

Watching beautiful landscape photos is one of the most enjoyable pastimes of people. Scenery photography is one of the oldest and most popular styles of photography. I hope discussing landscape photography tips for beginners will be helpful for all fans. We usually have pictures of nature on the walls of our house. Or we set these pictures for our desktop on the monitor or screen of our phones.

Nature often calms the mind and relieves our tiredness. Images taken from nature subconsciously remind us of our desires.

Shooting from forests, lakes, rivers, mountains, beaches, plains, or deserts can produce an endless variety of images. People are inspired by watching them and wish to see those places with their own eyes one day.

Each season has its charm. Spring with its light green color, autumn with its yellow leaves, and winter with snow-white are attractive and impressive.

What kind of landscape does your portfolio consist of?

The answer is, in what region and climate do you live? Or where can you travel for scenery photography?

Most of your photos are taken from the climate you live in because this environment is available to you. Sometimes the interest in photography makes you bear the pain and cost of travel and spend a few days of your daily work and travel to other areas for more variety in photography.

Most beautiful images are taken on social networks in green and humid environments. Photographing lakes, forests, beaches, and waterfalls,  is gorgeous and captivating. Visit the 7 Creative Landscape Photo Ideas post to see amazing photos of the landscapes.

Unfortunately, I was not very lucky in this regard. There are few waterfalls in my area, and these waterfalls are tiny, and there is little water flowing in them. We had a lake that was salty but amazing.

For several years, due to climate change, the area of this lake has been drastically reduced and is close to the drying stage. I’m talking about Urmia Lake.

Rivers that were once full of water are now either completely dry or only have water for a few months of the year.

There is no forest at all in this area. Basically, in Iran, forests form a small area of the country. If I want to go to the nearest forest, I have to drive hundreds of kilometers. And because there are few forest areas in the country, rich people have come to the woods of other regions and destroyed the forest in the parts along the road and built villas.

Well, that makes my job more difficult. I can no longer access the forest on the side of the road, and I have to go to the depths of nature with my backpack and on foot with the camera and lenses. I like this, but it is not very compatible with my physical condition.

I hope you are luckier than me. At first, this situation made me very upset. Later, when I saw what exciting pictures some people take of the desert and share them, I changed my mind.

I realized that I could take exciting pictures of dry mountains, fields, and almost empty plains.

Decide where you want to shoot and get there

Whether you go by car or on foot, you will find sights worth photographing while traveling.

There will be times when you will find an exciting scene to photograph. But you will notice that the angle of the sunlight is not suitable for this. So next time at another time you need to go back there.

The last thing I want to say is do not be afraid of cloudy and rainy weather. Such weather will make your job harder, but great images will be created. All in all, it’s worth it.

Do not get tired of repeating shooting of a scene

As I said before, not only will you have to return to one location due to the light and weather conditions, but it is better to repeat the shooting from different angles and different compositions each time. So that you can get closer to the best.

For example, you will find a view of a mountain with several trees. You see, it is interesting. You want to take a picture, so you get out of the car, but you find that the trees near you limit your horizons. So you go lower to get past them. You finally take the photo.

But when you look at it on a computer monitor, you find that it is not satisfying. And only then do you realize that the secret to taking a good photo of the mountain is to climb the hill in front of it and take a picture. Then the obstacles on the ground are removed from the scene. And shooting from a lower altitude was not a good idea.

Techniques for landscape photography

Landscape photography lens

If you have a DSLR camera, I recommend having a wide-angle, telephoto, and standard lens with you. Because the views that catch your eye will be at different distances from you, sometimes from the point where you stand, you can cover the entire front view and create a spectacular image with a wide-angle lens.

Sometimes the subject is far away from you, for example, there are some trees on a hill, maybe there are animals. In this case, the telephoto lens will help you.

And sometimes, you will find grasses and trees near you disrupt the composition of the image. A wide lens is not suitable for such conditions; it is better to use a standard lens.

Landscape photography tips: Aperture and depth of field

Try to use a small aperture in scenery photography, such as f / 22 to f / 16. These numbers are inversely proportional to the opening of the diaphragm.

The narrower aperture allows you to increase the depth of field, which is essential in scenery photography. It will enable components located farther away from the camera to be seen clearly in the image.

But one of the disadvantages of using f / 16 to f / 22 is that the light is dim, and you have to slow down the shutter speed.

Tripod, and ISO

Slow shutter speed can cause the image to blur due to hand-shake. Therefore, if the ambient light is low, you will have to use a tripod.

The tripod I have is cheap, with not-so-strong bases. But this feature makes it valuable to me! Because it is easier to carry because it is light!

The following solution is to increase the ISO. You can use ISO 200, 400, or 800 depending on the amount of light. But I do not recommend values higher than that. Because it causes tiny colored spots in the image, removing them in Photoshop is not easy.

A small aperture, using a tripod, and, if necessary, using high Iso are the best settings for landscape photography.

Filters

The use of filters has been more common in the past. With the development of graphic software, their use has decreased. But there are still people who insist on using filters.

Polarize Filter

The Polarize filter removes reflected light from glass, river water, sea, and snow. A small knob next to it allows you to remove excess reflected light by changing the angle.

In my personal experience, shooting clouds with a Polarize filter makes them appear more precise and sharper in the image.

Neutral Density Filter

The neutral-density filter is dark in color and reduces all wavelengths of visible light. There are times when you want to photograph the flow of river water in a blurred state. On the other hand, the ambient light is high. So you will have to increase the shutter speed.

As a result, you will get an accurate and sharp image of water waves. This matter may not be in line with your intentions. The ND filter works here because you can slow down the shutter speed by reducing light. Therefore, fast-flowing water waves will be recorded as blurred.

The blurring of the water waves can give a special effect to the image.

Soft Graduated Neutral Density Filter

In scene photography, it sometimes happens that too much light in the sky prevents proper shooting of components on the ground. In these cases, a type of ND filter is used, half of which is transparent, and the other half is dark like an ND filter. The photographer places the sky in the dark while composing and reduces the amount of light.

Soft Graduated Neutral Density Filter
Soft Graduated Neutral Density Filter
Hard Graduated Neutral Density Filter

In this sub-branch of the ND filter, the border between the dark and transparent parts is prominent, and the darkness from the border between the two areas has started completely.

Conversely, in the soft types of graduated Nd filter, the darkness starts slowly from the middle and gradually intensifies.

Hard Graduated Neutral Density Filter
Hard Graduated Neutral Density Filter
Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

In this type of ND filter, on the contrary, the darkness starts with the maximum amount from the middle and reaches the minimum at the edge of the filter.

This version is used to photograph the sunset and sunrise to reduce the effect of high sunlight.

Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter
Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Skylight filter

The skylight filter reduces the effect of excessive blue light on the rocks, soil, and other components in the picture. Some people even carry it with them in scenery photography and use it as a lens protector, Unlike other photographers who use a UV filter as a lens protector.

Night photography

You will need a tripod for night photography. It is better to find a place where human beings live. The goal is for the lights to create a view from a distance in the dark of night.

The shooting location can be a remote village. Or a view of the city that fills the whole area of the picture, or a street. The camera must be completely fixed on a tripod because the exposure time will be too long.

Do not increase the ISO level; otherwise, dark areas will be recorded as daylight. If cars or trains pass through long shots, their effect will remain as light lines in the image, which will be interesting.

And the last thing, make sure you use a small, narrow aperture, such as f / 16 to f / 22. These aperture settings will allow the lights to be recorded clearly at a distance from you. Otherwise, they will look dull.

Of course, using a narrow aperture will extend the shooting time.

Nature photography tips and techniques

Nature is a natural place for landscape photography and varies depending on the climate of each region.

Clouds

Clouds play an important role in beautifying images. That’s why I told you before that cloudy or rainy weather should not cancel your trip.

Any cloud helps shape the sky in the image. For example, cumulus clouds, with their puffy shapes that look like domes, are stacked on top of each other, giving the image a kind of grandeur.

Cirrus clouds, located at higher altitudes and scattered in the sky, provide a more subtle image.

The completely cloudy sky, especially before or when it rains, covers the tops of the mountains and mysteries the valleys. All of these situations make this image romantic.

Sunlight during sunrise and sunset over the clouds will be unique when the sun is hidden behind an obstacle.

As mentioned above, water on the earth’s surface, such as a lake or a river, increases the image’s attractiveness many times over.

The mountains

How high are you able to climb? The more you can do, the more valuable it will be. This topic is not very true of me. Due to my heavyweight and physical condition, I use a car to climb heights. And so, I am limited to the distance and altitude that the vehicle can climb.

I remember about 20 years ago; I could barely walk from a height of 1400 meters above sea level to an altitude of 3500 meters with a group of people I was with them.

A photo taken from a height of a view is unique. All the mountains, hills, and valleys below you will be visible. And of course, the plain in front will be beautifully seen.

Usually, photography of the plain will be more attractive if done from a higher altitude.

Snow mountains are also great subjects for scenery photography. Of course, it is best to use a wide-angle lens for photography, but this is not always possible. For example, if you want to take a picture of a snowy mountain far away from you in the summer, you will need to have a telephoto lens.

Taking wildlife pictures in the mountains would be great, but you need a little luck.

Water! Sea, lakes, rivers, waterfalls

All of the above are among the best for nature photography. Especially the reflection of other components of the picture in water makes it extraordinary, like the reflection of sunlight, clouds, trees, or mountains.

The view of the beach with rocks or palm trees, the waves of the sea or the twists, turns of a river in its path, and most of all the amazing views of the waterfalls are great for photography.

Jungle

In a dense forest, if you lie on the ground and look at the sky with the camera, while the trunks of the trees surround you, and the clear sky can be seen through their leaves, you will be able to create a fantastic image.

Or, when you are wandering in the forest, you may find a dirt or country road, for which the branches of thick trees seem to have built a roof.

Finding a bridge in the forest or a cottage is possible, all suitable subjects.

For example, it will be heartwarming if a mountain forest is photographed from a higher altitude.

Finally, if finding a forest is difficult, take pictures of the trees alone. I have the same problem exactly. The tree is lonely, as its name implies.

A plain or mountain surrounds it. Although the tree in such circumstances is a reminder of endurance and hope for life, it is entirely romantic.

Minimalism

Usually, the subject is tried to be distinctive, prominent, and noticeable in the image.

In minimalism, the opposite is true. For example, suppose someone is sitting at the end of a pier and is watching the sea. He is the main subject of our photo. But the photographer uses a wide-angle lens, distances himself from the subject, goes to the pier first, and takes a picture of him.

In the image, the main subject is small, and its main details are not precise. We also see the entire length of the pier and the sea surrounding the topic in the picture. Now the question arises, what was the main subject from the beginning?

Another way is to take pictures of boats in the sea from a distance. Or a few people who seem to be walking in the snowy mountains from a great distance. They look like black dots in snow white.

Conclusion

Excellent images can be created by photographing forests, rivers, plains, and mountains.

Most people enjoy watching such scenes. You just have to be familiar with some of the basics, such as composition and exposure.

You will get better results if you are familiar with editing images in graphic software.

If like me, you live in an area that is relatively dry and does not have a lot of greenery, the black and white and monotonous version will help you.

All you have to do is leave the house and look for the subject.

Good Luck!

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Babak Siminzar
Babak Siminzarhttps://www.bsiminzar.com
I am a general practitioner and work in a health center. In previous years, my place of work was rural areas in the northwest of Iran. In addition to medicine in those areas, I also did photography, which was my hobby. I am very interested in macro photography, so most of my portfolio photos are about it. I also visit and photograph historical sites on my travels.

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