How to Get Better at Landscape Photography

Landscape photography can be one of the most compelling art forms in all of photography, since unlike portraits or events, a landscape image can make anyone feel as though it is accessible to them. This is one of the key elements in how to get better at landscape photography, making people feel as though they are there in the image.

Technical prowess is vital for all great art, but for these landscape photography tips we’re going to focus a lot on landscape photography techniques that bring the viewer into the image. So the discussion will be both about those technical skills you’ve worked hard to achieve and the art behind great imagery.

Forget the Gear for a Minute

To improve landscape photography, we look beyond merely thinking about what landscape photography gear we are using, though the gear does help us capture the picture we want, especially when used properly. 

A good place to start is simply to enjoy the view before you. Now, your photographer's mind is already working on how to capture that view and that’s fine, that’s what we do. But what is it about the view that has you thinking that way. Take in the entire scene and then also look at interesting details. In other words, we’re going to train ourselves to see the forest AND the trees. 

Do all this before you take your camera out of the bag. Two quotes I enjoy about landscape photography are from Yann Arthus-Bertrand: “The earth is art, the photographer is only,” and Ansel Adams: “A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”

Understand what it is about what you are seeing that compels you to share that with others. In cliche words, feel the moment. Now we can get into the landscape photography techniques and gear.

Composition That Draws Viewers In - Leading Lines

One of the first things beginner photographers learn is the Rule of Thirds for composition. It’s an important guideline and it really does work well most of the time. For compelling landscape photography, something more than the balance of thirds is often needed.

Leading lines is a composition technique that automatically draws a viewer into the scene. Even while still maintaining the rule of thirds, we can place ourselves so that there is something leading from us or near our position. Shorelines, rivers, paths, a clump of trees, or a fence can all serve well to lead the viewer from where you are into the image.

You can vary the way you include the leading lines by leading in from one side and then the other, or the leading lines can be mostly centred. If you can, take pictures of several orientations and then decide when reviewing which images to post-process to completion.

Learn To Use Lens Filters

One of the top gear choices to improve landscape photography is a good set of lens filters, including circular polarizer (C-POL), neutral density (ND), and graduated neutral density (GND) filters. 

Using filters for landscape photography is a good way to make the final image captured match up with the thoughts we came up with in our first step. Sometimes we simply need the proper tool to make our photograph work.

In digital photography, we don’t need to use filters to balance out colour temperatures of the light or change colour contrast for black and white, those things are done in camera or during post-processing. The three filters described above, C-POL, ND, and GND, are used to remove reflections, deepen contrast in sky and clouds, or balance out exposure values.

An excellent choice of landscape photography filters is the M10 filter system from Haida which combines high quality optics with convenience of filter use and placement. Your landscape photography deserves high quality filters to preserve the detail and beauty you’re working hard to capture, so you don’t want to skimp on your landscape photography filters.