While there aren’t any hard and fast rules governing nature photography, some tips and techniques can mean the difference between a stunning, award-winning landscape photograph and an ordinary photo about nature. As a nature photographer, you’re always on the hunt for that one shot that makes your photos really stand out.
Naturally, your skills as a landscape photographer will improve over time the more you flex your photography muscles.
Implementing the tips in this post can improve your landscape photography skills the next time you’re out capturing beautiful landscapes:
- Play with Depth and Layers
Incorporating different elements in your shots when experimenting with landscape photography can help make your photos more interesting. One of the best ways to do this is by playing with the depth of your photos and positioning yourself to create a sense of different layers in your pictures.
For example, taking a shoot from a vantage that has other elements like a stream or flower field leading to the main subject can make your photos more visually interesting and complex. As a landscape photographer, you always want to take shots from a small aperture to ensure the entire picture is sharp and detailed.
Playing around with the depth and layers of your camera and shooting positions will help you get stunning shots that make your landscape photos pop out more.
- Capture Reflections
Reflections can also be your best friend in the photography world if you know how to use them to your advantage.
No moving water bodies? No problem! Under the right conditions and photography gear, you can capture stunning nature photos using still water reflections by doubling the landscape scenes in the reflection. However, it is important to note that you cannot capture amazing reflections at any time of the day.
But you can create the right conditions by avoiding harsh light and capturing shots earlier in the day. Sometime shortly after dawn or before dusk is often more preferable for the best reflections. This way, you also exploit the serene and cool morning color or the beautiful warm evening light.
You can capture some of the best landscape photography shots using reflections under the right conditions.
- Include Movement
Another great strategy to make your landscape photographs more stunning is by capturing movement. Capturing elements in motion brings your pictures to life and just evokes a dramatic effect like nothing else.
For example, when shooting around moving water, it is always best to set your camera’s shutter speed to a long setting. Additionally, you may need to use a tripod and other gear to make your photos more life-like.
If you are lucky enough to find a landscape with active wildlife, you will have more opportunities to try this technique to capture animal movements in your shots. And they will be stunning.
- Shoot at Different Times of the Day
As a professional landscape photographer, you probably know of this simple but equally important tip. But we will discuss it in detail for photographers still new to the industry.
Each time of the day offers different unique color temperatures and lighting conditions that allow photographers to take different types of photos. To put things into more perspective, a picture taken at the same location using the same gear can look very different at dawn, at high noon, in the evening, and at dusk.
It’s one of the fun facts about photography. Moreover, unlike in a controlled studio setting, nature landscape photos can differ more broadly. As such, you can never be too sure what to expect when taking shots in the wild under natural light.
It is this element of surprise and discovery that makes this process all the more rewarding and satisfying.
- Choose Different Subjects
Another great strategy of taking the perfect landscape shots that capture your viewer’s attention is the allowance to take shots of different subjects. Sometimes, the best photos are those of unexpected subjects.
So, what’s stopping you from searching for scenes and subjects that are available to you? Remember, you aren’t restricted to what you can capture on your camera. It may be a local park in your area or a national wildlife reserve. You may even be creative with a cityscape around your home.
You’re only limited to the subject options you can capture using your camera.
- Play with Silhouettes
Have you ever tried incorporating silhouette photography into some of your landscape shooting sessions? You can do this in several creative ways, making it one of the best strategies to consider trying.
From silhouetting animals and nature against the evening sky to trying some urban landscape snaps, you can scoop out some of the best skylines for your collection. No matter your subject, the more distinct and unique it is, the better your photo will be.
When using this type of photography, a good rule of thumb is to ensure the light comes towards you from behind the subject. For example, when capturing the silhouette of a lion, the picture will be more stunning if the lion is in profile. This allows you to get a crisp silhouette of the lion than when it is facing you.
Similarly, a large tree with a distinct shape will look much better than shooting a bunch of dense trees. Remember, the lighting you use plays a pivotal role, especially when the sun is low. It’s the perfect landscape shot and perhaps one of the simplest to get right with the first try.
- Remember the Rules of Composition
While rules are meant to be broken, sometimes it’s always a good idea to master them first before breaking away from them and trying your own creative ideas. Basically, the same general photography composition techniques that apply elsewhere are just as valid for landscape photography.
Some rules that can help you compose a great visual balance and make your images more appealing include:
- Leading lines or featuring line shapes like roads that draw the eye toward the main subject
- The rule of thirds – placing points of interest in your photos along the thirds of your images
- Maintain symmetrical balance in your images
While there are several great tips and tricks to break any one of these rules, you must also note that the human eye finds peace and pleasure in balanced and well-composed shots. That’s why beginners are always the ones who benefit the most from these rules and techniques.
You can improve your landscape photography skills significantly by following the tips and tricks mentioned above. These strategies will also help you build a strong landscape photography portfolio and get your content in front of the right audience.
*Photos by David Selbert