7 Landscape Photography Tips For Beginners (2023)

A lot of beginners start by shooting landscapes. It’s a great way to learn your camera because you never have to worry about the subject getting bored while you figure out the settings.

Landscape photography can also be fun, peaceful, and relaxing. It can push you to visit exotic locations and try adventures outside of your comfort zone.

But you have to start somewhere. So if you’re just getting started, these landscape photography tips for beginners will get you going on the right path.

1. Light Is Everything

When it comes to landscape photography, the light is what makes or breaks the photo.

Finding a great location and composition for your photo only gets you part of the way to a compelling photograph. Interesting, unique, or dramatic light is what seperates a great photo from a snapshot.

But you also don’t have any control over the sun or the weather.

There are a few things you can do to give yourself the best chance to capture great light when shooting landscapes.

Shoot At Golden Hour

The time around sunrise and sunset is ideal for finding interesting and dramatic light.

Don’t Give Up Quickly

Natural light can change…sometimes quickly. So don’t give up if it isn’t exactly what you had min mind. Sometimes you can spend hours waiting and then all of a sudden, you’ll get a few minutes of spectacular light. Then it goes away as fast as it arrived. So be patient.

Shoot Before And After Storms

A little hack for finding interesting natural light is to track the edge of a storm system. Very often this means the sun will still be out but there will be dramtic clouds in the sky.

Plan Ahead

Expert landscape photographers are also pretty decent meterologists by necessity. They keep an eye on the weather and plan their outings accordingly. This is a skill that comes with practice so start paying attention to the weather now.

(Video) 7 Great BEGINNER Landscape Photography Tips | Mark Houde Photography |

Use Lens Filters To Control The Light

Filters like polarizing filters and neutral density filters are essential pieces of gear when shooting landscapes.

CLICK HERE to check out my breakdown of the Best Lens Filters.

7 Landscape Photography Tips For Beginners (1)

2. Try The Rule Of Thirds (then break the rule)

The rule of thirds is very common in photography and you’ll likely hear it often while you are learning.

In short, the “rule” says that you should divide your frame into three parts (both vertically and horizontally and try to place the subjects or most interesting parts of the image on one of those lines.

The idea is that avoiding placing the subject right in the middle will make the image more interesting or more compelling. Very often that is true.

Most people just naturally place the subject in the middle when they are taking a snapshot. We’ve grown accustomed to that over many years so when you see an image that uses the rule of thirds…it looks different and unique.

So as a beginner, you should practice using the rule of thirds (mostly to break the habit you might have of automatically putting everything in the middle).

But then you should break the rule. Because there are no actual rules in landscape photography.

The only reason the rule of thirds exists is to give photographers a way to break from the norm and create a compelling photograph. But there are unlimited ways you can create a compelling photograph.

Try different things. Experiment. Landscape photography is all about using the landscape creatively.

(Video) Landscape Photography - 7 Most Important Things I've Learned

3. Get A Good Tripod

The tripod is the second most essential piece of gear to a landscape photographer (next to the camera itself).

Many new photographers make the mistake of getting a cheap tripod. Very often a camera store will bundle one in with the camera to get a bigger profit on the sale. Don’t fall for this.

A quality tripod can last a very long time if it is well cared for (perhaps even decades). A cheap tripod can mean buying a new one every year or more…and they don’t work as well either.

4. Go Wide Then Get Small

Part of making creative or compelling images is using focal lengths that are different from what a person sees with their eyes.

Wide angle lenses are perfect for beginners getting started with landscape photography.

Wider lanses make it easier to get focus and the perspective is often more compelling than a more standard lens like a 50mm. A great place to start is around 18-24mm.

Now do the opposite of what I just said.

Look for the small details in a landscape. The leaves of a tree, the petals of a flower, patterns in a rock, or even the way a river bends around a corner.

A landscape is more than just the massive vistas. There are details right at your feet that also tell the story of that location. In many instances, the most compelling images aren’t what you expect.

When you visit a location, instead of just getting the one “money shot” that everyone visiting that spot gets…try to tell a story. Document your journey if you had to hike to the location. Find details that are unique to that location.

Would you rather have 100 frames of the same big vista and end up with 1 photo after you choose the best OR have that one big image PLUS another 100 that tell a story from the location?

(Video) 7 PHOTOGRAPHY MISTAKES I see all the time

Another benefit of finding the small details in a landscape is that you are probably finding something unique that has not been photographed before.

5. Get A Different Angle

A lot of new landscape photographers find a spot, set up their tripod at eye level, attach the camera, and start snapping away.

Don’t be like most new photographers.

Look for a unique angle.

If you are using a wide angle lens, try getting really low to the ground and finding something interesting to include in the foreground. With a wide angle, you can still capture the wide scene as the background, but having an interesting foreground element will make your image all that much better.

6. Move Around

This goes along with No. 5. Don’t set up your tripod in one spot and get so involved in camera settings that you never move it.

A good way to avoid this is to leave the tripod in your bag when you first arrive at a location.

Then take your camera (or even your phone) and start moving around testing different spots and compositions. Don’t worry about focus and exposure at this point…just experiment with different looks.

Make note of a few spots that you like the best.

Then you can break out the tripod and start focusing in on each of those spots one at a time. Because you’ve planned ahead, you now have a plan to “work the scene” and not get bogged down on one spot.

(Video) 7 PHOTO COMPOSITION MISTAKES I See Beginner Photographers Make

7. Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is equally about creating amazing images and keeping yourself safe. Planning ahead will help you with both.

First the safety stuff.

If you are traveling somewhere remote you either need to take a friend with you, let others know exactly where you are headed, or both.

Do some research on the area you are visiting. Find out if there are safety concerns. Things like difficult terrain or dangerous wildlife are really important to know about ahead of time.

If you are shooting at a beach (especially rocky coastlines) then be familiar with the times of the tides. You could end up going into a shoreline cave and discovering that your exit has filled with water as the tide rises. Don’t be caught off guard.

Finally, know the weather and dress accordingly. Also make sure your gear is prepared for the weather. Rain hoods and other protective gear are inexpensive and can save you the cost of a new camera.

Preparing also can help you make better images.

Use a planner to identify where the light is coming from and where the sun will be rising and setting. Photo Pills is an amazing app that does this (and a lot more).

Use google maps and google earth to do some advance scouting to get a basic idea of that you’ll encounter when you get there. This can save you a lot of time and often reveals great photo opportunities that you wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.

If you can, visit the location a few times. Very often, you’ll get your best images only after you are familiar with a spot and can plan for specific light direction or times of year.

FAQs

What is the 7 tips for good photographs? ›

7 Tips For Taking Better Photos
  • How To Compose Great Photos. Great photos start with great composition: how you frame the shot and where you position different elements within the scene. ...
  • Keep It Simple. ...
  • Change Your Perspective. ...
  • Add Depth To Your Images. ...
  • Use The Sun To Create A Silhouette. ...
  • Look For Reflections. ...
  • Find Symmetry.

What is the best beginner camera for landscape photography? ›

The Canon EOS 80D is one of the best cameras for landscape photography if you're a beginner. It's an excellent entry-level DSLR camera. And the results encourage you to keep shooting landscapes. The 24.2 MP sensor is the standard resolution for a camera at this level.

What are the 7 elements of photography? ›

There are seven basic elements of photographic art: line, shape, form, texture, color, size, and depth. As a photographic artist, your knowledge and awareness of these different elements can be vital to the success of your composition and help convey the meaning of your photograph.

What are the 7 common photography mistakes made most often? ›

7 Common Photography Mistakes to Avoid
  • Shooting in JPEG.
  • Poor Image Composition.
  • Shooting in Auto Mode.
  • Not Giving Importance to Background.
  • Wrong White Balance Settings.
  • Blaming Camera for Blurry Images.
  • Using Auto ISO Mode.
18 Nov 2021

What 3 elements make a great photo? ›

The three variables that matter the most in photography are simple: light, subject, and composition.

What are 5 elements of a good photograph? ›

Basically, there are five common elements that great images typically have; Good use of light, color, a captivating moment, correct composition for the given situation, and the photographer's choice of distance to their subject.

What 3 things are needed for photo? ›

Although it can seem a bit daunting at first, the exposure triangle simply refers to the three most important elements of exposure; ISO, aperture and shutter speed. When you're shooting in manual mode, you'll need to be able to balance all three of these things in order to get sharp, well-lit photos.

What lens is best for landscape? ›

Wide Angle / Ultra-Wide Angle Lens

Wide angle and ultra-wide angle lenses are the most popular lenses for landscape photography. Their focal lengths usually range from 14-35mm, though some can be as wide as 10 or 12mm.

Is landscape photography easy? ›

Landscape photography is easy.

It's just so accessible. Head out the door with your smart phone in hand and start shooting what you see. You don't need to worry about adding light like flashes or reflectors, you don't need tripods and filters to get great shots and cityscapes work just as well as landscapes.

What is the best focus for landscape photography? ›

Your focus point should be about a third of the way from the bottom of your picture. Photo by: 'Iurie Belegurschi'. If you're shooting with a wide angle lens, then your focus point should sit approximately ⅓ of the way from the bottom of your picture.

What makes a great landscape photo? ›

Piers, railroads, pathways and other leading lines create compelling landscape images that can transport the viewer deeper into the scene. Wide and super wide angle lenses emphasize big landscapes and leading lines.

Which is the most important part of landscape photography? ›

The sensitivity to light, of the medium—the film or the digital camera sensor—is important in landscape photography, especially where great detail is required.

What are the 9 rules of photography? ›

9 Essential Photo Composition Rules
  • Rule of Thirds. Chances are you are already familiar with this Rule of Thirds. ...
  • Golden Ratio. ...
  • Golden Spiral. ...
  • Simple and Clean Background. ...
  • Frame Your Subject. ...
  • Leading Lines & Straight Horizon. ...
  • Fill Your Frame. ...
  • Center Position.
17 Oct 2022

What are the golden rules of photography? ›

10 Rules of composition to follow for the best shots
  • Rule of thirds. With the rule of thirds, you have to train yourself to split your camera screen into a grid. ...
  • The Golden Ratio. ...
  • Leading lines. ...
  • Diagonals. ...
  • Frame within a frame. ...
  • Figure to ground. ...
  • Fill the frame. ...
  • Center dominant eye.

What is the number one rule in photography? ›

The most basic of all photography rules, the rule of thirds, is all about dividing your shot into nine equal sections by a set of vertical and horizontal lines. With the imaginary frame in place, you should place the most important element(s) in your shot on one of the lines or where the lines meet.

What is the 500 rule in photography? ›

Term: Description: The 500-Rule states that to obtain a clear image of stars without trails, take the number 500 and divided it by the focal length to get your exposure time. For example, a 20 mm lens would call for an exposure of about 25 seconds and theoretically, still obtain the stars without trails.

What is the 30 60 rule in photography? ›

The idea is that the 60 percent color anchors the space and also serves as a backdrop for what comes next. Your 30 percent is the secondary color. You'll be using half as much of this color as your main color.

What makes a photo beautiful? ›

They capture a personality through just the eyes. They capture (or evoke) emotion. They use leading lines, the Rule of Thirds and other framing techniques to create a compositionally strong image. Beautiful photography has the right timing, the perfect color and many are bursting with creativity.

What makes a photo powerful? ›

A powerful image is one that looks real. Remember, you are trying to evoke an emotion — a genuine feeling in the viewer that connects them to the photograph. You want your viewer to mentally put themselves in the photograph, or at least, feel like they are in the same space as they view it.

What are the four basics of photography? ›

The scope of this article is to give an introduction to the basics of the four elements of photography: light, color, composition, and subject.

What are the 12 principles of photography? ›

12 Essential Composition Guidelines That Every Photographer...
  • Use The Rule Of Thirds. ...
  • Use Symmetry In Your Photos. ...
  • Compose People Intentionally. ...
  • Combine Several Composition Principles Into One. ...
  • Compose Your Photo Using Color. ...
  • Create Panoramic Photographs. ...
  • Create Texture And Pattern Photos. ...
  • Use High And Low Angles.

What are the 8 principles of photography? ›

While these apply to any media in art, I will be using them specifically for photography.
  • Balance.
  • Harmony.
  • Pattern/Rhythm.
  • Unity.
  • Contrast.
  • Proportion.
  • Variety.
  • Movement.
16 Aug 2012

What makes a photo interesting? ›

Change Your Perspective

Use angles and objects to create intriguing perspectives that will bring more interest to the photo. If you're shooting at a popular location that has been captured a million times before, try finding an alternate view point or a different perspective that can make your photo stand out.

How can I learn photography skills? ›

A successful photographer typically possesses the following skills:
  1. Artistic skills. To excel as a photographer, you need to be artsy or creative. ...
  2. Technical skills. ...
  3. Communication skills. ...
  4. Close attention to detail. ...
  5. Organisation. ...
  6. Adaptability. ...
  7. Take photography courses. ...
  8. Practice photography that you are less familiar with.
27 Sept 2021

What is basics of photography? ›

Photography is about capturing light, and exposure is so important because it's the amount of light collected by your camera. The photography exposure basics are composed of different elements that we'll discuss below like the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

What aperture is best for landscape? ›

Best aperture setting for landscape photos.

In short, you'll want to lean more towards the higher ranges (such as f/16 to f/22.) These are narrower apertures, which means they allow less light into your camera, resulting in the need for longer shutter speeds. This combination will create the correct light exposure.

What is the best aperture for outdoor? ›

The best camera settings for outdoor photo shoots.

An aperture (or f-stop) around f/4 or lower is good for single subjects, while an f-stop around f/11 is best for group shots and landscapes.

Why is landscape photography so hard? ›

A lot of the reason photographers struggle with this is because unlike most other genres, you don't get to choose what is in the scene or where it is placed, so you need to find new ways to be creative, whether that is through your choice of focal length, creative use of techniques, or post-processing.

What is landscape photography in simple words? ›

What is Landscape Photography? Simply put, landscape photography captures the beauty of nature and the outdoors. These photographs bring the viewers into the scenery and perfectly captures the setting, mood, and feeling in the location.

How can I improve my landscape? ›

7 ways to improve landscape design
  1. Reimagine hardscape and bed lines. Serpentine lines both invoke the imagination and have a relaxing effect upon the mind. ...
  2. Repeat key elements. ...
  3. Interject an element to induce transition. ...
  4. Become reacquainted with color flow. ...
  5. Mix up your materials. ...
  6. Create different levels. ...
  7. Add a gate.
25 Sept 2013

How do you make a super sharp landscape photo? ›

10 Top Tips for Sharper Landscape Photos
  1. Use a Tripod. ...
  2. Turn Off Image Stabilisers. ...
  3. Opt for a Small Aperture. ...
  4. Calculate the Hyperfocal Distance. ...
  5. Focus via LiveView. ...
  6. Don't Physically Trigger the Shutter. ...
  7. Mirror Lock-up. ...
  8. Avoid Diffraction.

What angle should a landscape be? ›

For landscape photography nothing really beats a wide angle lens. A wide angle lens is generally considered to be around 14-24mm however there are a number of superb quality ultra wide angle lenses that are changing the game. My secret weapon of choice for all landscape shots is a 7-14mm M.

What are the 7 steps to landscape design? ›

Seven Steps to Planning Your Native Landscape
  1. Plants should match your site. This is the most important element in developing a successful landscape. ...
  2. Succession of Bloom. ...
  3. Forms and Textures. ...
  4. Interesting Lines. ...
  5. Complementary Colors. ...
  6. Intentional Plant Height. ...
  7. Perennial and annual weed control.
15 Apr 2015

What are the 7 principles of landscape design? ›

The principles of landscape design include the elements of unity, scale, balance, simplicity, variety, emphasis, and sequence as they apply to line, form, texture, and color. These elements are interconnected.

What are the 5 basic elements of landscape? ›

The Five Elements of Landscaping
  • Landscaping is comprised of five main elements: colour, line, texture, form and shape. ...
  • While all of the elements of landscaping are important, colour might be the most essential.
26 Jun 2019

What is the best time of day to shoot landscape photography? ›

The best light for landscape photography is early in the morning or late afternoon, with the midday sun offering the harshest light.

What does F Stop mean in photography? ›

The “f” in f-stop stands for the focal length of the lens. While focal length itself refers to the field of view of a lens, f-stop is about how much light you allow to hit the sensor via the aperture opening.

What are the 6 principles of landscape design? ›

You can create a visually pleasing landscape by following these six principles of design.
...
They are:
  • Balance.
  • Focalization.
  • Simplicity.
  • Rhythm and Line.
  • Proportion.
  • Unity.
5 Nov 2015

What are the 6 elements of landscape design? ›

In many design professions, including Landscape Architecture, there are elements that form the foundation of all good design. For us, those six elements are line, form, sound, fragrances, color, and texture. Lines play a major role in any garden, whether actual or implied.

What is landscape picture style? ›

The “Landscape” Picture Style changes the color respectively; blue to a vivid and deep color, green to a vivid and bright color. This style also uses a stronger sharpness setting to bring out details in mountains, trees, buildings, and other things in the distance.

What are the tips of photography? ›

  • Learn to hold your camera properly.
  • Start shooting in RAW.
  • Understand the exposure triangle.
  • Wide aperture is best for portraits.
  • Narrow aperture is best for landscapes.
  • Learn to use Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority modes.
  • Don't be afraid to raise the ISO.
  • Make a habit of checking the ISO before you start shooting.
1 Jan 2021

What are tips for taking good photographs? ›

Basic Photography Tips
  1. Get in close. Zoom decreases your photo quality, but your feet don't. ...
  2. Practice every day. ...
  3. Check for even lighting. ...
  4. Keep an eye out for composition. ...
  5. Keep your batteries charged. ...
  6. Plan out your depth of field. ...
  7. Watch for the golden hour. ...
  8. Stick to the rule of thirds.
15 Jan 2019

What are the 10 ways to make good photographs? ›

10 Tips for Taking Great Photos
  1. Improve your personal or professional portfolio. Invest in quality equipment. ...
  2. Make sure you have quality equipment. ...
  3. Pick your focal point. ...
  4. Learn the rule of thirds. ...
  5. Change your angles. ...
  6. Pay attention to framing. ...
  7. Look for ideal lighting. ...
  8. Use filters and settings.

What are the 3 most important things in photography? ›

The three variables that matter the most in photography are simple: light, subject, and composition.

How can I improve myself as a photographer? ›

11 Tips to Become a Better Photographer
  1. Buy Only the Camera Equipment You Can Afford. ...
  2. Learn Your Camera's Manual Settings. ...
  3. Learn the Rules of Photography, Then Break Them. ...
  4. Always Shoot in RAW. ...
  5. Practice Photography in Different Outdoor Lighting. ...
  6. Get Photography Studio Experience. ...
  7. Know Your Camera Lenses. ...
  8. Learn Photo Composition.
8 May 2017

What makes a photo successful? ›

Elements of a Successful Photograph

Your lighting, composition and the overall quality of the image has to be just right. If the colors aren't vibrant, the staging isn't eye-catching or the picture does not look professional, the viewer is not going to focus on the image long enough to appreciate the content.

How can I edit my photos like a pro? ›

How to edit photos like a professional:
  1. Create your style.
  2. Pick a photo editor.
  3. Shoot in raw.
  4. Try HDR photography.
  5. Remove chromatic aberration.
  6. Adjust white balance.
  7. Adjust contrast.
  8. Make colours pop.
17 Apr 2022

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