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Maximize your Depth of Field
While there may be times that you want to get a little more creative and experiment with narrow depth of fields in your Landscape Photography – the normal approach is to ensure that as much of your scene is in focus as possible.
The simplest way to do this is to choose a small Aperture setting (a large number) as the smaller your aperture the greater the depth of field in your shots.
Do keep in mind that smaller apertures mean less light is hitting your image sensor at any point in time so they will mean you need to compensate either by increasing your ISO or lengthening your shutter speed (or both).
PS: of course there are times when you can get some great results with a very shallow DOF in a landscape setting.
Use a Tripod
As a result of the longer shutter speed that you may need to select to compensate for a small aperture, you will need to find a way of ensuring your camera is completely still during the exposure.
In fact, even if you’re able to shoot at a fast shutter speed the practice of using a tripod can be beneficial to you. Also, consider a cable or wireless shutter release mechanism for extra camera stillness.
Look for a Focal Point
All shots need some sort of focal point to them and landscapes are no different – in fact, landscape photographs without them end up looking rather empty and will leave your viewers eye wondering through the image with nowhere to rest (and they’ll generally move on quickly).
Focal points can take many forms in landscapes and could range from a building or structure, a striking tree, a boulder or rock formation, a silhouette etc.
One element that can set apart your landscape shots is to think carefully about the foreground of your shots and by placing points of interest in them. When you do this you give those viewing the shot away into the image as well as creating a sense of depth in your shot.
Consider the Sky
Most landscapes will either have a dominant foreground or sky – unless you have one or the other your shot can end up being fairly boring.
If you have a bland, boring sky – don’t let it dominate your shot and place the horizon in the upper third of your shot (however you’ll want to make sure your foreground is interesting). However if the sky is filled with drama and interesting cloud formations and colours – let it shine by placing the horizon lower
Consider enhancing skies either in post-production or with the use of filters (for example a polarizing filter can add colour and contrast).