The natural world provides photographers with some of their most stunning subjects, from mountains and canyons to rolling hills and fields of flowers. Landscape photography is rewarding, but that does not mean the style is easy. You may think that, because the subjects are immobile, the composition is effortless. But this genre requires plenty of premeditation and attention to detail.
Bring mindfulness to your landscape photography by practising a few clever tips.
Go small with aperture.
You may find the occasional landscape shot that, because of textures in the near distance, warrants narrow depth of field. But most landscape photography works best with a small aperture setting and a large depth of field. Because a small aperture number brings less light into your camera, you may need to boost your ISO setting slightly to adequately balance the shot.
Get back to basics with the rule of thirds.
As you stare out at the landscape and wonder where to start with framing your shot, remember a basic principle of photography. The rule of thirds calls for you to imagine the frame as nine smaller squares, or vertical and horizontal thirds. Place your subject at an intersection of these envisioned lines. Be careful to make each of the nine squares contribute purpose to the artistry of your shot.
Image by Christopher Kirby – Captured using the X100
Find a focal point.
Most photos are best served by a specific and easily identifiable subject in the frame. Landscape shots are no exception to that rule. Even if you are photographing something grandiose, like a mountain or glacier, select a specific point of focus. Use light and shadows as your guide for picking a particular place.
Look for people, or their footprint, in the environment.
One way a landscape photo communicates a story is depicting people and their interaction with the natural world. Look for the roadway that weaves through the hillside. Include the section of the forest where trees were chopped for logging. Find the hiker climbing in the distance. Human influence is one of many facets you can use to communicate through landscape photography.
Frame your shot with a foreground object.
Your attention may be on subjects in the distance, but do not let that limit your creativity for framing. Nearby branches, bridges and foliage can fill your frame and distinguish your shot from many others.
Image by Greg Virgona – Captured using the X100
Schedule your shot for lively light.
All photography is the art of capturing light, so with landscape shots, like any others, the quality and quantity of light will separate tremendous photos from the mediocre. Golden hour is an ideal time for most landscape shots, as the warm hue creates both contrast and depth against your subject.
Invest time and patience in challenging pics.
Because we want to think of landscape photography as easy, you might feel dejected if a full day of shooting does not lead to the perfect shot. The natural world can be a fickle source of light, so remain patient. Invest hours, if not days, in capturing subjects in their optimal light.
Image by Clèment Breuille – Captured using the Fujifilm GFX 50S
With your settings, composition and outlook at their best, you maximise your potential to take landscape shots that tell stories and stand out among the masses.
Fujifilm offers a wide range of cameras to help you achieve the perfect landscape photo. Our eBook, Which X Series Should I Buy?, can help you learn more about the X Series and determine which one will help you with your landscape shots.