Lighting Is Key
Light is free and has the power to make or break a shot. Landscape photography, especially is heavily dependent on light and it is important to determine how well lit the scene is throughout the day. The golden hours would be right after sunrise or an hour before sunset as the light is soft with golden hues, which flatters any subject that is in it. Mid day shots are the worst as the light is harsh, causing unflattering shadows. In general, take the time to research and understand lighting in all seasons for the best pictures.
Good composition is important to a well-shot image, so keep abreast of various techniques such as the commonly used rule of thirds for subject positioning. Basically you divide a picture into thirds, with two vertical lines and two horizontal lines along the frame. Place your key subject on any of the cross sections where these lines meet. Remember, the centre of the frame is not always the best position. Alternatively, you can use lead-in lines to draw the eye towards the view beyond in an image (pictured below). This adds a unique perspective and best of all, it costs nothing!
Use A Tripod
Okay, so there is one equipment that you have to invest in but it will be worth it. A tripod is essential if you want to take your photography skills a step further and as we all know, camera shakes ruin just about any picture. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive brand in the market but it should be a solid kit that not only provides steady balance, but also slows down the shutter speed which is needed for well-composed photo-shoots.
This is the perfect time to show-off your creativity and try out different perspectives to keep your shots fresh and interesting. For example, if you always shoot from a certain height, vary it at a lower or higher viewpoint, either kneeling or lying down to look up at your subject or climbing to get a bird’s-eye view. Experiment with different lenses or shutter speeds for variety like capturing a dancer using slower speeds will enhance the moves and creates an exciting shot. Anything you can think of, just have fun doing it!
It’s common to edit your images after photographing but do consider cropping or even framing for a better effect. Doing this on a rectangular image that looks mediocre to make it square might improve the shot and create interesting results. Also, cropping will keep the composition tight, excluding any distractions and unnecessary elements in the full-framed image or just correcting the viewpoint of an overly-wide lens.
There is always room for improvement when it comes to photography so it’s worth taking notes of the settings you used to perfect a particular shot for easy reference later on. Especially when you made a mistake the first time, you can be prepared to avoid the same error in the future. A good digital camera will ease the note-taking process as details like aperture, shutter speed, main camera settings will be stored in a file with the image so you can refer back whenever you need. Nevertheless, do bring along a notebook so you can jot down other factors such as location, weather changes, and exposure readings.
I hope these points will do you well in your photo-taking hobby or career. Do share any interesting factors you discovered while trying out these techniques!