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5 Tips to Improve Your Outdoor Landscape Photography

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In the great outdoors, photographers find a variety of beautiful focal points and backdrops to capture. But it’s not always easy to snap that perfect picture. Sometimes, landscapes are more challenging to shoot than you expect. A successful gallery requires a lot of time and effort — plus some helpful advice.

If you need some guidance on how to snap the best photo, look no further. Here are a few tips that can help you improve your outdoor landscape photography.

1. Try Several Conditions

You’ll definitely take some gorgeous pictures on bright, sunny days. But don’t let the rain put a damper on your shoot. The best photographers know how to capture nature in every form — even when it’s foggy and cold. So, challenge yourself to pull out your camera even when the weather isn’t ideal. Purchase a rain cover for your gear and get to work. Look for reflections and different light sources. 

Maybe you’ll shoot a rainbow over a mountain peak, a surefire way to diversify your collection. Remember, don’t put yourself in danger. If you hear thunder, it’s time to head home.

Picture of a waterfall and fog, outdoors.
Photo Credit – Troy Squillaci

2. Use a Variety of Equipment

Most photographers have a favorite camera and lens. On top of that, many like to gravitate toward a particular style. Try to break away from that and use a variety of equipment.

Grab a wide-angle lens and highlight the foreground. Pick up a 35mm film camera to create a more vintage feel. Go handheld or set up a tripod. Feel free to borrow a friend’s camera and play around with different filters.

Try to step outside of your comfort zone. You don’t need to buy a ton of new gadgets, but try to find one or two within your price range. This way, your shoots are more multi-dimensional.

3. Navigate to New Locations

Do you stick to the same trails for every shoot? It’s probably time to look for new locations. If you’re obsessed with lakes and rivers, pull out a compass and head into the depths of the forest.

Experiment with large rocks and tall trees. Don’t be afraid to drive through nearby towns and capture old houses or busy streets. Wildlife can be enjoyable, too. The more you expand your options, the better your portfolio can look.

A variety of environments can spark creativity and help you shoot something entirely different from what you’re used to. The options are endless.

4. Go at Different Times

You can indeed capture terrific images at any time. But as we photographers know, dawn and dusk provide the best light possible for outdoor landscape photography.

Otherwise known as the golden hour, these moments result in astonishing pictures. Every plant, hill and cloud emits a warm glow that resonates with all viewers. As such, it’s incredibly easy to capture the perfect image.

The same sentiment applies to shoots after dark. Work with different levels of flash to capture the city or woods after the sun sets. If you really want to commit, grab a camera with high ISO and wide dynamic range. This way, you can capture the perfect nighttime shots.

Make a concerted effort to get out and shoot throughout the day. This strategy is the best way to add a range of different environmental settings to your portfolio.

5. Shoot Subjects

Though this post talks about landscape photography specifically, it’s essential to mention the value of a subject. If you find you’re stuck and unsure of what to shoot, focus on a point.

Pick a specific flower and capture it from different angles. Spend time in front of a waterfall. Gather the right gear and bring along your dog so that you can follow his adventure into the wild. 

There’s a lot more to this photography style than people think. For the most part, you can’t just walk around and take pictures. If you want to capture the most intimate moments, you need to focus on one element at a time.

Dog sitting on a bench, outdoors.
Photo Credit – Josh Hild

Become a Better Outdoor Landscape Photographer

We can all improve as photographers in one way or another. Consider these tips for outdoor landscape photography to become more of an expert with your lens.

Oscar Collins
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