Basic Tips for Great Landscape Shots: Mobile Photography Tutorial
Device/Platform: iPhone, Android
Topics Covered: Landscape Shooting, Landscapes, Composition
I’ll be honest. I am terrible at landscapes, so really, this tutorial is a selfish one. I wanted to learn so you all are going to learn with me. I found it hardest to capture a shot that didn’t look like a tourist took it. I live in Kentucky, which is home to millions of barns so my subject matter was going to be easy, or so I thought. The first time I went out to shoot was a colossal failure- boring to the max. Second and third? A little better. Trying to get shots that were actually worthy of showing you was much harder than expected. Fortunately, I like a challenge so you will be seeing shots from my seventeenth time out. Thankfully, I met a fantastic old farmer yesterday morning that allowed me to wander around on his farm for two hours.
In today’s Darkroom mobile photography tutorial we’ll cover some basic tips to keep in mind when shooting landscapes. As you’ll see, light, focal point and the rule of thirds all play a major part when deciding on the best shot.
Tip 1: Light
I found early morning and dusk to have the most beautiful light for photographing the barns and rolling hills of Kentucky. This is commonly called magic or golden hour. The light is diffused and lends a moody, tonal hue to your photographs. Keep an eye on your shadow while photographing. I know it sounds silly but there is nothing like a person shaped shadow to ruin your photo
Tip 2: Focal Point
I employed the good old rule of thirds when shooting landscapes. As pretty as rolling hills are they are slightly boring when photographed. Try finding a focal point within your photograph to highlight- a tree, barn, or some other large object. Your focal point doesn’t need to fill the frame it just needs to be a point of reference for the viewer to rest on. If you aren’t familiar with the rule of thirds check out our past tutorial on it HERE. You can also try putting something interesting in the foreground to lead the eye through the photo. Be careful that it isn’t distracting. It should be a minor player to the rest of the photograph. Leading lines are also a good compositional move. They, by definition, lead the eye through a photo to a natural resting place.
Tip 3: Sky vs Land
One other factor to remember is that the weather can work for or against you. If you go to shoot and the sky is boring and flat let it only take up about a third of your photo. If the sky is moody or gorgeously lit let it take the front seat in your shot. Clear skies aren’t the only times to shoot landscapes. Depending on the skies it can change the feel of your shot drastically.
Tip 4: Research
Whether that means doing reconnaissance before you actually shoot by taking a drive or hike or hopping on your computer it’s wise to know where you headed before you actually go and shoot. There is nothing like the disappointment of just missing the right light. Go early. Find your shots, that way when the light hits the right height you will be set and read to shoot.
- Anna Cox @annacox
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