Seeking the perfect sunset shot? Keen to capture that countryside view in all its glory? If you want to learn how to take great landscape photos, we’ve put together some top tips to help get you started. After all, there’s a whole world of wonderful scenery out there just waiting to be photographed, and the best thing is that wherever you live or wherever you’re travelling, you’re sure to find a beautiful view to point your camera at.
How to take better landscape photos
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a high-end camera or lots of advanced kit. By following some basic rules of photography, training your eye and working on your composition, you can take better landscape photos using any camera.
Once you’ve found a picturesque spot to take that shot, there are one or two things you can keep in mind to help you get that perfect photo. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite landscape photography tips below.
The rule of thirds
The rule of thirds forms the basis of a well balanced photo, and is key to successful landscape photography. It’s a simple rule, but one that can make a big difference to the quality of your pictures.
Imagine that your image is divided by two horizontal lines and two vertical lines, creating a 3×3 grid. Position important elements near to these lines, or close to one of the four intersections of the grid.
If the horizon is present in your image, place it above or below the centre of the frame, along either of the horizontal lines. This looks much more natural than placing it in the centre of the shot.
For a quick guide to this technique, take a look at our blog post on the rule of thirds.
Loch Linnhe at Onich, Twilight – Christopher Gallagher
You can emphasise the subject or focal point of your photo by carefully framing the shot. When it comes to taking landscape photos, look out for natural frames in your photo – for example a tree branch or archway will emphasise your subject and add depth to the image.
Get a little closer to your subject or zoom in to crop out anything distracting in the background, and make sure your image has an interesting focal point. You can lead the viewer’s eye towards the focal point by using natural lines in your photo. For example, look for fences, paths and other lines to guide the eye towards the main focus of your image.
Autumn Frame – Ceri Jones
Add interest and depth to your shots by including something in the foreground of your landscape photo. To find a more interesting viewpoint, change your perspective. Get low and shoot upwards, or climb up higher to shoot down onto your subject.
You could also try your hand at forced perspective. With the right positioning, you can give the impression that an object is larger, smaller, closer or further away than it actually is.
Beached – Alan Humphries
Shoot in RAW
Shooting in RAW gives you much more creative control when it comes to editing, which is particularly useful if you want to achieve better landscape photography.
RAW is a file format that captures all image data recorded when you take a photo. When shooting in JPEG format, image information is compressed and lost. Because no information is compressed when shooting with RAW, you can produce higher quality images, and there’s more to work with if you take an image which needs some editing.
RAW format records many greater levels of light than JPEG, which means you can edit your image without affecting the quality. If you are shooting a sunrise or sunset with a lot of contrast between dark and light, you’ll have more freedom to make adjustments to your photo in post-production if the balance isn’t quite right.
Bonus tip: Captured the ideal shot and edited it to perfection? Many photographers like to turn their favourite images into a photo book. Showcase your best landscape shots to maximum effect by choosing a photo book with Layflat binding – this allows you to display your photos across a double-page spread without losing any of the details in the seam between the pages.
Landscape photography tips from our award winners
“To my mind there are two things that make a great landscape photo: light and location.”Stephan Gimpel
Stephan Gimpel was a previous year’s UK winner of CEWE’s Our World is Beautiful photography competition with his stunning photo of elephants in the Serengeti, and he’s continued to wow us with his work ever since – picking up another prize with this beautiful shot of sunlight streaming into a sandstone slot canyon. He shares some of the secrets behind his award winning landscape photos.
Over to Stephan for his landscape photography tips…
“Clearly you need to get the basics right with regards to composition and focus and so on, but in today’s world where millions of photos are taken and shared each day, I think what makes people look twice is a particularly interesting mood or atmosphere created by unique lighting.”
“Ultimately the human eye is much better at resolving contrast than a camera will ever be and I think that’s an opportunity for a photographer to capture scenes that can surprise people.”
“The second point about location is probably quite obvious, but also implies that sometimes a bit of effort is needed to get a different shot. Whether that means being out in the rain or cold, getting up early to have a place to yourself, or playing with aerial photography (as I have done recently with some of these shots), you always need to try to get a different angle on things.”
The more you practise, the better you’ll get!Joyce James
Last year, Joyce James had two of her photos ranked very highly in the final competition results, and her entries this year have already caught our eye! Here she offers her three top tips for better landscape photography.
“Take it seriously. Get to grips with your camera and get off auto! My advice is to get yourself a tutor or mentor to teach you the basics. My tutor Alan Ranger is based in Coventry and offers a series of workshops and courses which I highly recommend.”
“Get out and about – the more you practise the better you’ll get! As my images demonstrate I find opportunities to shoot around sunrise and sunset – and enjoy driving around the country in search of good images – it’s great fun!”
“Don’t confuse snaps with images. My best images have always come as a result of taking my time, really looking and thinking about how I want to compose my shot – and using a tripod.”
You can see the results of Joyce’s landscape photography technique in the stunning images above and below – proof that all that practice has really paid off!
Enter our latest landscape photography competition.
Now you’ve picked up a few new landscape photography tips, it’s time to get out there with your camera and take that special shot. Captured something extraordinary? Why not share it with the world, by entering it into our CEWE Photo Award 2019 competition?
It’s the world’s largest photo competition, with ten categories for entries, including Landscapes. As well as cash prizes for the winners, we’re also donating money to children’s charity SOS Children’s Villages for every entry received. There are so many reasons to submit your photo!
Good luck, and happy snapping!