Guide to Landscape Photography

Taking photos of landscapes is definitely one of my favourite pass times. I love being able to use me lenses to show the world how beautiful the places I’ve been to are. At the beginning, my landscape photos were far from perfect, and even now there is still so much I can learn to improve! My biggest tips for anyone looking to expand their landscape photography knowledge are based around framing, knowing your subject, knowing your camera, shooting in manual mode, and of course always get creative!

As always, make sure you dress appropriately and be ready for anything the outdoors can throw at you. Weather can be unpredictable and change at any minute. Respect the wildlife by staying at appropriate distances and stay on the trails in order to preserve the forest! For more information on each hike you can check them out on AllTrails.

Meet Jess!

Chaser of Waterfalls
Mountain Climber
Adventure Seeker

1. Framing

I think framing is probably the most important aspect of landscape photography. You have to constantly be thinking about it. Where do you want the skyline? Should the waterfall go in the center or to the side? There of course is no right or wrong answer to this. Your own unique creativeness is what will make your photos stand out from others. Some people like the follow the rule of thirds for their photos, and it works great sometimes, as you can see above the waterfall is in the left third and i am in the right third. It creates dimension in your images. Rules are meant to be broken though and and some of the best images are from photographers ignoring classic rules and being creative!

2. Know Your Subject

Landscape photos by definition are just of the landscape but many photographers, including myself, like to put subjects into the image as well. When a viewer sees a person in your photo, they are more likely to connect with the image and imagine themselves there, which translates to your images becoming more “likable”. Now of course its not all about getting likes on social platforms, but if your taking the image in order to promote your business online, you are going to want to create images that are engaging to your viewers! 

Placing people in your landscape photos can be tricky. You want them to look like they are part of the scenery, not like it was staged just for your photo. One of the things I always think about when setting up landscape shots is “what would I be doing here if I didn’t have my camera?” In the instance below, if I didn’t have my camera with me I would be sitting on the edge on the mountain looking out to the valley and enjoying the view. So that is exactly how I set my shot up. I also frequently take photos of my friends while we are hiking, getting that illusion that you are hiking along with us!

3. Know Your Camera

It is SO important to fully know your equipment before you head out for a shoot. When you get a new camera or a new lens the best way to get to know how it works is to get out and start shooting! Go to your backyard, local park or where ever and play with all the settings. Think about the different types of shots you would want to get in the future and learn the best ways to get them with your new camera! There is nothing worse than being on a hike and having a picture perfect moment but you can’t capture it because you don’t know how to work your camera properly! 

4. Shoot in Manual Mode

This ties into knowing your camera a little. Let me start off by saying NEVER shoot in auto mode. If you want to be taken seriously as a photographer you need to learn how to manipulate ISO, shutter speed and F-stop while you are shooting and as mentioned above the best way to learn how to do this is to get out and practice! Believe me when I say it took me a long time to figure all of these things out but once I knew how to properly manipulate each to get the photo I wanted, my images were elevated to a way higher quality instantly. Sometimes I do shoot in TV mode as well. This mode allows me to control the ISO and shutter speed but the camera determines the proper F-stop in relation to what I have put the focus on. If you don’t want to shoot fully in manual mode then TV mode is a great mode to use as well. You still have full control over all three aspects and your photos will come out clean and sharp! 

5. Have Fun and Don’t Be Afraid to be A TOurist

I find a lot of people are afraid of looking like a tourist when they are out taking photos. While i am certainly not recommending walking past barriers or damaging nature to get your photo, the chances of you seeing any of those people again is very small, and you definitely won’t remember them looking at you. So you might as well get the photo you want! 

People also tend to bash on selfies a lot, but honestly those are some of my favourite photos I have! I just use my cell phone for selfies because it was WAY lighter than my camera and easier to take close ups. Turn the camera towards you and smile! You won’t regret it! 

 

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8 Comments

  1. Shelley

    These are such great photography tips…. I especially love the last one about not being afraid to be a tourist. Imagine all the gorgeous photos you’re going to get when you stop caring about what someone’s thinking (or not!) about you taking them!!

    Reply
    • Backpacker Jess

      Exactly! SO many amazing photo opportunities are lost because of that and its just not worth it!

      Reply
  2. Ildiko

    I love your post. I am one of those people that take A LOT of photos. I put thought into perspective, framing, and lighting, BUT (and please don’t crucify me) I take my pics with my iPhone Xs Max. We used to take pics with a “Real camera” in the past and always shot in Raw so that we could better edit the photos on the back end, But it has become far more convenient to use our iPhones instead of lugging a large camera with multiple heavy lenses. Is till consider going back to using a traditional camera, because I really enjoy photography and want to better control the outcome. I love your post and the tips that you provide in order to capture a great shot.

    Reply
    • Backpacker Jess

      There is not shame in taking your photos with your iPhone! I actually take a lot of mine with it too! I have the iPhone 11 Pro Max and I find sometimes it takes better photos than my professional grade camera does! Phone cameras have come a long way and they are an amazing tool to use!

      Reply
  3. Nina Out and About

    Love these tips! I’ve been working ot improve my photography and the tip of adding a subject into the post for likeability is amazing. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Backpacker Jess

      Thanks! Yes as much as I love a good scenery shot, sometimes adding a subject into it adds that extra something that people can relate to more easily!

      Reply
  4. Venaugh

    Thanks for these amazing tips. All I have is my phone camera so fortunately that’s one less step for me. But definitely agree that such slight changes can make sure a huge differences.

    Reply
  5. shanelle

    these are really great tips! love all the photos.

    Reply

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