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5 Tips to Landscape Photography

Landscape Photography is one of the simplest and yet more challenging types of photography.  It's simple because you can take a picture of almost anything, but it is difficult for that very reason.  So how do you make your shot stand out.  Here are my top tips to ensure good landscape shots.

1.Proper Framing
There is no real cut and dried technique to how you should frame your image besides you can tell a properly framed image when you see one, but there are a couple good techniques.  The first one is what is called the law of thirds.  Many cameras have a setting to turn on grids to display a few different lined grids on a camera.  These grids are very important to keeping a straight line on an image to prevent having to crop it by straightening it later.  Although adobe is unveiling a new program that allows for smart straightening to help bring back cropped areas, still better to get it right the first time.  The law of thirds is basically to create areas of interest either completely in the boxes of the grids or to put them directly on one of the grids.

Another good practice for framing is the use of lines or finding something that would lead a viewer's eyes into the scene, like a road going into something important, the idea here is that these things should add to the area you want focused, like a town, but not distracted away from, like a straight fence at the bottom of the picture.
A good example of the law of thirds, the castle is in the top third, the houses are in the bottom.  The road also creates a line into the image.

2.High Apertures
With the majority of cameras, you will want a high aperture somewhere between 7.1-11.  Past that, and the sharpness starts to recede thanks to diffraction.  This allows you to keep a greater part of the image in focus.  (See more here for information about Aperture basics)  You can also do a thing called focus stacking, and I will post about this later.

3.Focus 1/3 of the way through the image
Usually you will want to manually focus for landscape photography.  If I'm in the outdoors, or in a national park or something, I will usually find my perfect focus on manual, and then I will just shoot that the rest of the time.  1/3 of the way through the image makes it so that the viewer isn't too distracted by early blurring, but also adds more depth to the background.

4.Get high or get low
One of the biggest mistakes people make when doing landscape photography is they don't try to change perspective.  Mountains, for example, are extremely hard to shoot.  If you're standing at the base of a mountain, you'll probably notice that your shots usually suck.  A much better practice is to get further away from a mountain, preferably on another mountain facing it and zoom in.  The height difference changes everything.  You could also get really low on a stream nearby, all of a sudden the focus is on the stream because it looks huge, but the mountain in the background also looks big.
Look at how huge the mountains in the background look because of our height

5.Back it up and zoom or get a wide-angle lens
This goes along with getting high.  Sometimes, no matter what you do, things are going to look too distorted.  You may be close to the Eiffel Tower and on the ground trying to get a cobblestone and the tower in the background, and you notice that the top of the tower is leaning away from you.  A better idea is to get to a higher spot, find a different cobblestone, then back up and zoom in on that cobblestone.  Zooms flatten features and also flatten distortion.  This is why tall things look great when you zoom in, like mountains or big towers.  Adversely, noses and hands look enormous when they are close and you are zoomed all the way out.  If you're noticing these things in your pictures, back up and zoom.

You can also invest in a good wide-angle lens.  These lens usually have a focal length of in the 10's-20's.  Most kit lenses work fine, but if you want a really wide angle lens get a good 10-22 or something like that.  Alternatively, you could just get a gopro.
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