20 Things crucial in landscape photography

Hey guys!

How is it going? I would like to share with everyone my new topic – top most important things to consider when taking landscape photographs.
I hope you will enjoy it and if I forget about something feel free to give me a nudge 🙂


1. Research your location – if you picked a place you like or have heard or have seen on others website and would like to try and make your own shot, go and scout it before you turn up with all your gear. This way you wont panic and run around (as I used to do sometimes), possibly losing the perfect shot.

2. Prepare your gear and yourself – get all your gear ready for the journey, clean it, pack it, recharge it.
Also get yourself ready especially if you live in a cold country or are traveling a long distance. Always pack plenty of water, an energy bar or some other nutritious food and dress warmly. The last thing you need is to wish to be home with a warm cup of tea. Dont worry about fashion either.

3. Consider the time of day – think about the time of day you would like to get your shot. For example most of  the successful landscape photographers prefer not to shoot in the middle of the day when the sun is high in the sky. Best time of the day for landscapes are without a doubt, sunrise, sunset, golden hour, dawn or dusk.


4. When you arrive at your location Stop and look around take a deep breath and think

5. Put your creative face on, frame your shot

6. Look up – look at the clouds and make the decision – do I want more of the sky? Or do I like the foreground more? How iteresting the sky is?

7. Include foreground interest – for example with seascapes, try to include some rocks,a large stick, a shell or even some seaweed… if there is nothing you can see infront of you,  go and look for a foreground subject nearby

8. Think about rule of thirds

9. Dont get wonky horizon! – they are not cool! Unless they are intentional

10. Use a tripod – a tripod is an akward, wierd looking thing but no landscape photographer should be without one. The stronger and steadier they are the better. Some of the pro brands are manfrotto, gitzo, vanguard etc. If you dont have one, buy one and you can thank me later 🙂


11. Lens  choice – is depending on what kind of landscape shot you are going for? Some people would use a nice wide angle lens to sqeeze in as much scenery as possible. Nice 8 or 10mm wide angle would do the job (crop sensor) or 14 – 16mm wide angle for full frame cameras. Panoramic shots require a different focal length, the wide angle would not do it justice here. Instead the 50mm focal lengh would be a better choice.

12. Deph of field – its very important to know your lenses. To get the best out of them you need to test them and learn what F stop gives you the sharpest, crispest photograph. When I go out I like to use F 11, F13 and these days i never go above F16.

13. Focus manualy – this is something i started to do not long ago after reading about in digital photography magazine. So if you are serious about making the most out of your photos find a deph of field calculator somewhere on the internet to work out your hypofocal distance and get your camera off autofocus. Now this can be a tiny bit stressful (points at me) but you will get use to it and eventually it gets easier. And why use it? Basically if you want to include as much DoF as possible in your landscape, so you want your foreground sharp as well as your background.

14. ISO – is not a heartbraker, little bit of noise never hurt anybody 🙂 – but maybe you wont even need to use high iso, all depends what kind of shot you are after and what is the light situation. Worry about your iso last

15. Image stabiliser – dont forget to switch it off. We are using a tripod instead.

16. Get the right exposure – getting the right exposure is sometimes extremely tricky. When shooting at sunset or sunrise sometimes the the skies are all blown out while the foreground is correct and other times its the other way round. Or when we shoot into deep gorges or from inside the gorges we shoot upwards its hard to get the correct exposure. The ND and Grad filters are essential to help our camera get it right. Another popular method we can do is by shooting our subject with 3 different exposures by moving the exposure compensation up and down by 1 stop. This method is called HDR (high dynamic range)

17. Check your histogram – dont forget to check exposure by viewing the histogram and do you best to expose to the right without blowing out the highlights. More information is held in the highlights therefore its better to push the histogram to the right hand side.

18. Use filters – filters are crucial tools of landscape photographers. Its best not to cheap out on this small quirky things and buy a good brand (for example hoya) Be careful what you put infront of your expensive lens. They come in different sizes, forms and densities.

19.White Balance  – with landscape photography correct white balance is not always prefered. Its more about the feel of different colors and tones the landscape can offer. I would suggest to always try a few different white balance options in your camera and go with your preferences.

20. Use photo editing software – yeeey ! number 20 🙂 last thing on our list is to polish off our photograph in photo editing software by doing some small adjustments…..for example exposure, contrast, clarity, remove any blemish or distractions, saturation….etc. I am not saying you will need to make all this changes they are just an example of things you may consider tweaking 🙂 Its still very important to get things right in your camera otherwise you may end up saving a photograph not really worth saving.

Bonus tip – shoot in raw. Most popular file format among the pro’s. Please follow this link which explains what raw file is and the differences between raw and jpeg : www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/u-raw-files.shtml


I really hope you have learned something  from this post or at least brushed up on some old memories. I make mistakes all the time so this post definately helps me too.  All the informations above I have heard and learned are mainly from magazines, podcasts and books.

Happy clicking guys!

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst”
Henri Cartier-Bresson



~ by soniamasarova on February 6, 2011.

4 Responses to “20 Things crucial in landscape photography”

  1. nice blog – found it over your introduction in the forum! Also an amazing website!

  2. Great post.

    The two tips I don’t like are:

    8) Rule of thirds – rules are made to be broken!!!:) Although it is something to think about, it does need not be followed if you can get a more dynamic or better shot by breaking it. So use that rule as a general guideline to base common sense and creativity off of.

    11) Lens Choice – Any and all focal lengths should be explored in landscape photography. Totally different views and “feels” are accomplished by using different focal lengths…

    Just two gripes. Sorry, couldn’t help myself – still a great post. Keep em’ comin.

  3. SkP – thanks glad you liked it 🙂

    happypoppeye – I agree with you – especialy with the rule of thirds. I should really write more about it, not sure why I left it bare 🙂 anyways, thanks for adding in.

  4. hi!
    wonderful fotoblog u have here !
    thanks for the tips – hope to see more of ur pictures soon
    keep it up!

    cheers 😉

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