Today we will continue our review of landscape photography tips and techniques. Add these ideas to your landscape and cityscape photos and you will start winning photo contests! It’s almost a given!
Yesterday we talked about light.
First we discussed the color of light… You need to get up early in the morning and start shooting in the 20 or so minutes before dawn. AND you need to keep shooting for about 20 minutes or so past sunset.
At those times there is a phenomenon we will call a “false” sunrise and sunset that can produce some absolutely stunning colors in your landscape and cityscape photos.
Next we talked about the angle of the light… Think of bodybuilder photos. The light is coming from about 90 degrees to the subject. This creates a lot of shadows that accent and define their muscles.
At dawn and dusk, the glancing light from the sun is at the perfect angle to create a lot of defining shadows. This will add a lot of third dimensionality to your photos and make them come alive!
Try shooting the same scene at both dawn and dusk, then compare the results to the same scene shot at noon. You will never sleep in again!
Next we mentioned shooting when there are clouds in the sky. This will add a lot of visual interest to the scene – as well as a lot of color. Now the rising or setting sun has something to bounce off of! When the weather is bad… Get out there! That is the time you will get the best shots.
Today, let’s add a couple more landscape photography tips and techniques.
Use a tripod! When shooting landscapes, particularly in the predawn and post sunset times – you will need a long exposure! (Creating an acceptable depth of field requires shooting at minimal apertures – which means long shutter speeds.) Don’t even think of trying to get a contest winner by shooting handheld. It won’t happen.
Then, use the mirror lockup feature if your camera has one. Most of the better DSLR cameras do.
For the ultimate in photo sharpness – in addition to locking up the mirror, use a timed shutter release. It may seem like a bit of overkill, but these sharpness techniques can and do make a big difference.
As far as composition is concerned, pay attention to the foreground! Use it to draw the viewer’s eye into the photo. Use leading lines, framing, diagonals and so on.
Another compositional element to consider is the horizon, make it level! What is the most important element in your landscape or cityscape photo? Is it the sky? If so, put the horizon on the lower third of the shot. Is it the ground? Put the horizon in the upper third.
While there are times that placing the horizon in the middle is the right call, they are rare. Make sure you have a specific reason to do so!
Last but not least… Make sure your photo has a “star”. What attracted you to the scene? Make sure you accent that feature and drive the viewer’s attention to it. Don’t make the mistake of trying to make the entire scene equally important. You need a star.
I hope this review of landscape photography tips and techniques will help you start getting contest winning landscape and cityscape photos!
In the excitement of the moment, it is easy to forget to do some of these admittedly basic but essential landscape photography tips and techniques (there are more coming tomorrow)…
Here is your assignment – start to make up a checklist (of these and any other landscape photography tips and techniques you can think of), have it laminated and stick it in the side pocket of your camera bag.
Every time you are shooting, you can pull out your landscape photography tips and techniques checklist and won’t forget anything! Finally you will have the landscape photography techniques needed to let your artistic side shine through!