So much of the success that you can have with landscape pictures involves coming up with a good composition for the image, as well as using the right kinds of equipment. Use these tips to give you the best results when shooting landscape pictures.
- To start, you're going to want to have the right equipment with you. Even if you only have a point and shoot camera, there are a few pieces of equipment that will be important. Because you're potentially going to be hiking through some areas that aren't maintained to shoot your nature photos, make sure the camera is in a waterproof bag. Bring a tripod, so that you can set up the shot just how you want without having to worry about camera shake. Consider having a cell phone with GPS capabilities along, so that you can pinpoint the location at which you're shooting. And, if you're going to be quite a ways from an electrical outlet, have a fully charged, second battery with you, so you don't have to worry about suffering from a dead battery during your photography session.
- Once you're ready to shoot the photo, make sure your composition is good. You'll want to have an object of interest in every landscape photo to give the viewer something to focus on when looking at the photo. A clump of flowers, a tree, an old barn, or a reflection off a pond all can provide an object of interest in a nature photo.
- Don't always center that object of interest. Consider framing it in the left or right quadrant of the photo, which will give the illusion of movement. Better yet, if the object has a natural "direction" to it, make sure that direction aims the viewer's eyes back toward the middle of the photo. For example, if the tree has a dominating branch extending to the right off the trunk, you may want to place the tree on the left side of the photo, allowing the branch to move the viewer's eye from the right side of the tree toward the middle of the photo.
- Don't always center the horizon in the middle of the photo, either. Leave the horizon toward the bottom of the photo if you want to make the sky more prominent in the photo. Leave the horizon in the upper portion of the photo if you want to showcase a reflection of the sky off a lake in the bottom two-thirds of the photo, or if you have an object you want to focus on in the foreground, with the horizon in the background. This is called the Rule of Thirds, and it's very helpful in setting up composition in a photo.
- If you find yourself constantly having problems shooting a level photo of the horizon, consider purchasing a product that will help you level your photo. One such product includes a leveling bubble in a cube that attaches to your camera's flash hot shoe. Otherwise, to use items you may have on hand, bring a bubble level with you and rest it on top of the point and shoot camera while you set up the tripod.
- If you're going to include people in your landscape photos, again, don't center them in the image every time. Instead, try shooting them in the foreground, focusing on them, with the landscape in the background. Or, use them for scale, to show the size of a tree or a cliff.
- If you're going to be shooting photos early or late in the day, when the sun is near the horizon, you may want to try to shoot with a lens hood, if your camera can use one. That way, you'll cut down on glare that could ruin your image.