By Scott Robarge: For those of you like me who are fans of taking landscape shots, here’s a set of tips to help you capture that perfect shot. While perfect is of course in the eye of the beholder, these suggestions should allow you to at least capture what you want others to see.
Plan Ahead – Take your time to scout out a location, and then plan to be there at different times of the day. Capturing that perfect shot is not something you want to rush through. You want to take your time experimenting with different angles, perspectives, lighting, etc.
Tripod –With landscape photography you’re often using a smaller aperture, with slower shutter speeds to compensate for the lack of light hitting the lens. Using a tripod will ensure your camera is completely motionless resulting in much sharper photos.
Mirror lock-up – Since you want to avoid any movement, make sure to use mirror lock up. The mirror inside your DSLR can and will cause vibration, so make sure to utilize the mirror lock-up setting. This is especially critical with long exposures.
Aperture Priority or ManualMode – Since you want to control depth of field, you’ll want to shoot in the aperture priorityor fully manual mode.
Maximize depth of field – Typically with landscapes you’ll want to maximize your depth of field to make sure that everything in the shot is in focus. You’ll achieve this by utilizing a small aperture, which you’ll recall is the high number. Now, if there’s something unique in the foreground that you want to capture with a more blurred background you’ll want to open up the aperture for a shallower depth of field.
Light – The ideal time for shooting landscape shots is what many refer to as the golden hours. This timeframe is roughly speaking a half an hour before and after sunrise, and a half an hour before and after sunset.
Filters – Ideally you want to photograph when the lighting is perfect, but when that’s not possible, you’re going to need filters. There are many filters out there that can help you control the light, but you may want to start with a polarizing filter and/or a neutral density filter.
Composition – The right composition is what allows you to convey your message through the photo. A lot can go in to the composition of the shot, but the most basic is the “rule of thirds”. The idea behind the rule is to split your frame into thirds by using two lines to split the frame horizontally and two lines to split the frame vertically creating nine sections. Aligning your object or point of reference, such as a horizon at one of these intersections or lines creates more energy and interest. While utilizing this rule it’s important to think about foregrounds and the sky to see where things should be aligned.
Also, try multiple points of view. Once you’ve captured the picture the way you originally envisioned, take some time to take the shot from different vantage points. Look to see if you can take it from a different angle or walk closer to the object. You’ll be surprised what a little exploration can turn up. I hope these tips help – have fun.
About Scott Robarge
Scott Robarge is an amateur photographer and outdoor sports enthusiast. Scott Robarge is also the founder of Another8 Solutions, a leading technology recruiting consultancy working with early and mid-stage companies on talent acquisition and retention.