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Tips for better Landscapes

26th April 2014
One or more foreground objects will give the impression of three-dimensionality, and can help to frame the scene. Depth is achieved by combining foreground, middle ground and background objects.
Compose the image so that it contains a center of interest - an object that draws the viewer's eye into the picture.
Placing the center of interest off-center, in accordance with the Rule of Thirds, will create a harmonious composition.
Placing the horizon a third of the way down from the top or bottom of the frame is usually much better than having it in the middle of the scene.
Scale can often be important to the understanding of a landscape, and can be achieved by including an object of a known size in the scene.
The quality of the light is perhaps the most influential attribute of a successful landscape. Waiting for interesting lighting that is moody, dramatic or diffused usually pays off in a memorable photograph. Top landscape photographers will often return again and again to a location until lighting conditions are just right.
Ensure that your camera's flash is turned off when shooting landscapes, unless you require it to brighten a foreground object. Flash in a dusty, misty or foggy scene may cause flare by reflecting off the droplets of moisture or dust particles. Use a tripod to ensure sharpness, especially in low-light conditions. In very low light, be sure to select a fast film speed or a high ISO sensitivity setting in your digital camera that will permit proper exposure and good depth of field.
Watch for unsightly or unnatural elements such as overhead wires, hydrants, poles and garbage cans, especially in the foreground. If you cannot easily move them, reposition yourself to a camera angle that eliminates them from the frame.
Don't let the weather stop you from capturing an attractive landscape. Rain can add a degree of softness and peacefulness to a scene. On an overcast day, be sure your scene has an area of color in it to counteract the overall dull lighting.
Keep the rules of composition in mind when framing a scene. Lines, in particular, can be a strong factor in making an interesting landscape. An awareness and the judicious placement of planes in the scene can also be factors in improving your composition.
Landscape photography is often more horizontal than it is vertical, presenting the opportunity to shoot a panorama. If you are faced with a wide vista and your camera has a panorama mode, this is the time to select it. Cropping afterwards can achieve a similar purpose.
When the wind is blowing or water is moving - waves, waterfalls, a tumbling brook - capturing that movement by using a slow shutter speed to create blur can add great interest to a landscape. When selecting a slow shutter speed, be sure you retain proper exposure by also appropriately adjusting your camera's aperture. Many cameras will do this automatically for you in Shutter Priority mode.

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