6 Expert Tips for Improving Your Landscape Photography
Everyone likes a great landscape image. Landscape photography is one of the core genres of photography, in art in general actually, and as artists of the photographic medium, we like presenting to others our good landscape images.
Landscape photography tips are all over the internet, we have several on our own web community, so I want to take a slightly different approach and look at the art of the image in addition to expert landscape photography tips and some photography gear ideas.
Discussing art is a huge part of the fun of photography for me. Some of the same principles that have been used in painting since the Renaissance apply fantastically to photography. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Composition - Fibonacci Sequence
- Exposure - Be Careful with Highlights
- Color - Use Exposure to Enhance Colors
- Focus - Deep or Shallow Depth of Field
- Filters - Polarizers and Neutral Density Are Essential
- Post-Processing - Keep It Natural
Composition - Fibonacci Sequence
Whenever someone talks about composition in a discussion of expert landscape photography tips, our minds tend to automatically go to the Rule of Thirds. Which is fine, that’s a good rule of composition, very useful to know and adapt to your own ideas.
The Fibonacci Sequence is one of the most important of the other rules of composition to learn for how to improve landscape photos. Also known as the Golden Spiral, the Fibonacci Sequence is a mathematical concept that describes a real world phenomenon.
There are other photography tips articles that explain it in technical terms, but to put it simply, it’s a relationship among objects that tends to spiral in or out and gives a pleasing perspective. On a small scale, we can easily see it in a sunflower, large scale man made examples can be found in classic architecture and bridges.
Large scale natural scenes with the Golden Spiral can be found in forests, mountain ranges, rolling fields, and so on. Once you know what the Fibonacci Sequence is, you will see it everywhere. All that’s needed to employ it in our landscape photography is good lens choice, proper camera position, and maybe some judicious scene cropping.
Exposure - Be Careful with Highlights
Our cameras have amazing exposure meters, but total reliance on them can cause us to miss out on creating the best photograph for a particular scene. This is especially true when the scene we’re imaging has a large range of exposure values in it.
Exposure meters, even our super advanced modern matrix metering cameras, tend to see the world in what photography experts call 18 Percent Grey. Again, this is a fascinating concept on its own that has been covered by many articles, but it is important to the art of landscape photography because Middle Grey does not usually cover our creative vision.
Relying on our meter can result in good mid range exposure but the extremes of the scale, highlights and deep shadow, will likely be misrepresented. I like to skew my landscape photography exposure towards lots of shadow detail, but there is a danger to be aware of. Exposing primarily for shadow will cause the highlights to block up.