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  • Nikki Caviezel

7 Tips on how to take amazing landscape photosTips11 Mar

I have always been fascinated by the creative process of photography and how a simple click of the camera can tell a story. I love capturing a moment in time, and then sharing it with others.

Photography is an art form that has been around for centuries, but we have become so dependent on technology that we forget to look at the world through our own eyes. As a photographer, I am constantly on a search to discover what is different and unique about my surroundings. I believe that every shot should be personal and meaningful, not just taken because it looks good on paper.

That is why preparation is part of the process of taking great pictures, spending time at the location, checking for the perfect view. So here are seven tips on how to take amazing landscape picture, which will transport you back into the moment you were on location.

1 Understanding your camera

The first step to becoming a great photographer is to understand how your camera works. If you are using a DSLR, I recommend shooting in RAW format. With RAW there will be no compression on the image and you will have more leeway with editing your photo.

There are 3 major components that make up your exposure: shutter speed, F-Stop (aperture) and ISO. Each of these three components control the light that enters your lens. Shutter speed is how long the camera's shutter stays open for. A long shutter speed will allow more light in than a short shutter speed because the shutter is open longer. Longer shutter speeds can create some incredible shots as it allows you to capture movement, like waterfalls. Shorter shutter speeds will get you a sharper picture.

The F-Stop (Aperture) is how wide the opening of your lens is. A wide opening (small number) will let more light in than a small opening (large number). The wider the opening, the more blurry the background will be (Bokeh). For landscape a good aperture is around 8 to 12.

ISO determines how sensitive your camera's sensor is to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive it is to light, which means that less light is needed to create an image. However, high ISO settings come at a price - noise and graininess – so check what your camera is capable of and have an as low as possible ISO.

2 Planning your photo session in advance

The best advice I can give you for your landscape photography is simple: shoot at sunrise or sunset.

Obviously, some locations are better than others for both sunrise and sunset photos. But with a little bit of research, you can find outstanding locations almost anywhere!

I do a lot of research before going out on a shoot. Checking the weather on any weather app, the location on google maps. Looking up the spot I chose on my favorite App “Photo Pills” will determine, when exactly I need to be where. It shows you when blue hour starts and when your best time to shoot will begin: golden hour.

3 Taking pictures in RAW

You may have heard the term RAW before. If you have no idea what it means, don't worry. I will explain briefly what it is and why you need to use it. When you take a photo using your camera, the image is saved using JPEG as standard on most cameras. This is what most people are used to when they take photos with their camera. However, there is another filetype called RAW. A RAW file contains everything that your camera's sensor can see, without any processing of the image done by the camera itself. This means that you will have much more information to work with when editing your images later on in post-processing (which I will get back to later). The downside of using RAW files is that they are quite large compared to JPEG files since they contain so much more information about every pixel in the image.

4 Use a tripod

Using a tripod will allow you to use a shorter shutter speed and still have crisp photos. This is very important when shooting at dusk or dawn when the light is low.

5 Look for leading lines

Composition is everything. You can have the fanciest equipment but still have images that won’t make you go “Wow!”. Leading lines will draw the viewer’s eyes into the photo and creates depth. Your pictures will be more interesting instantly.

6 Change your perspective

Try kneeling down or climbing up higher for a different look at the scene in front of you. Take some shots from different angles and don’t just stay at one spot on your location. You look at the landscape at eye level, but maybe the perspective from up above is way ore interesting.

7 Underexpose

If you're shooting in raw and edit your pictures afterwards, I recommend underexposing you pictures slightly. Underexposing will always have more image information, than overexposing. It is easy to correct underexposed pictures in Photoshop or Lightroom. Overexposed pictures cannot be fixed that easily!

The reason for this is quite simple: If you overexpose a picture, you don't only loose saturation of colors (which can be fixed by using the "vibrance" function), but you also loose details in highlights. The problem with blown out highlights is: There is no image information available anymore and so you can't fix it!

If your picture has blown out highlights, there is nothing to do about it - the information is gone forever!!

Pro Tip: Check your histogram to see if your pictures is under- or overexposed I hope these tips will help you on your next adventure out doing landscape photography. Tag me (@nixca88) on your pictures you upload to Instagram. I’d love to see your results.

Have an amazing rest of your day!


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