How to take the perfect landscape shot: 10 expert photography tips
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Be ready to capture any awesome photographic opportunity with these insightful tips from Panasonic photography expert Mark Baber. Whether surveying stunning landscapes or tracking elusive wildlife in the breathtaking scenery, these top tips will help provide you with the skills needed to take professional looking pictures wherever you might be.
1. Pick out a focal point
Just because you are taking a landscape shot, doesn’t mean you should forget about a focal point. All pictures benefit from having one, as this ensures your eyes have something or someone to focus on.
For a landscape shot, this could be anything from a local going about their business to the ruins of a decaying building. The main thing to remember is to think carefully about where you want to position this focal point, as that’s where your viewer’s eye will rest.
2. Think about the foreground and background
Identify whether you want your landscape shot to have either a dominant foreground or background, as to have neither can result in your shot looking empty and boring.
If the sky is looking a little bland, place a point of interest in the foreground of your shot. This will really help your scene stand out and offer the viewer a way into the image. Remember you can always enhance your skies in post-production for that extra ‘wow’ factor.
3. Use your zoom accurately
Maximise your depth of field in shots, by getting your zoom just right. You can do this by ensuring that as much of your scene as possible is in focus. The simplest way to do this is to choose a small aperture setting, as the smaller your aperture the greater the depth of field will be.
A number of quality cameras also have an Electronic View Finder (EVF), which enables you to achieve stable, accurate framing, even when using the full zoom. This feature is ideal for following the movement of wildlife in the landscape or when the sunlight makes it difficult to see the camera’s LCD screen clearly.
4. Turn on the image stabiliser
To achieve beautifully crisp stills, even when you are climbing mountains or trekking through jungles, make sure your camera’s image stabilizer is turned on. A handful of new camera’s, including the Lumix TZ60 range, also have a Hybrid O.I.S+ feature, which delivers great results even when you are on the move.
5. Try a tripod
For those picturesque scenes, which you are able to stop and take in for a moment, it would be worth gaining some extra stillness from a tripod. This will help ensure that your picture looks professional, due to the longer shutter speed that you might have to use to compensate for a small aperture.
6. Whatever the weather – work with it
Everybody hopes that their summer holiday will be blessed with lots of sunshine but sometimes that’s not always the case, with the weather taking a turn for the worse at any given moment.
The best thing to do in this instance is to go with it, as shooting in the bright sunshine isn’t always the best time to get your perfect landscape picture. Capturing storms, mist or the sun shining through gaps in menacing looking clouds can also present an interesting alternative.
7. Don’t forget dawn and dusk
Shooting in the ‘golden hours’ are an incredible way to utilise the light and make landscapes come alive with a beautiful golden glow. If the sun is angled in certain ways, it can also create the most interesting patterns, textures and dimensions, which will add a whole new layer to your landscapes.
8. Don’t let stunning scenery pass you by
When most people think about landscapes they think of serene, calm settings but for all those unexpected views, which can take you by surprise on fast trains or boat rides, make sure you use a longer shutter mode. This means that more light will hit the sensor, so you will need to reduce your aperture or use a filter. To make this even easier, some compact travel cameras have a Light Speed Auto Focus, which means you can photograph even the most fleeting opportunities in stunning clarity.
9. Mix up your view point
The general process most of us use when taking a spur of the moment landscape shot whilst on the road, is grabbing the camera, jumping out of the car and taking a quick snap then hopping back into the car again for the next view point. This process works for capturing all of those not to be missed scenes but they don’t usually result in a ‘stand out’ picture worthy of a place on your mantelpiece. It’s important not to rush these moments and if possible to find a slightly more interesting view point to work from. This might mean finding a higher vantage point to capture those meandering paths or rolling hills from above or lowering yourself and shooting from the ground.
10. Be in control of your creative vision
Photography is all about capturing those truly unique moments and showcasing your creative vision. When you are there in the moment, you won’t always have enough time to check that your composition is perfect, so some landscape shot’s might end up with a slightly wonky horizon. But don’t panic as a number of cameras, including the Lumiz TZ60, now come with a wide range of post-production features to help straighten images and produce some truly unique shots.
Inspired? Head to Panasonic.com to take a peek at the wide range of travel camera’s from Panasonic, including the new Lumix TZ60.
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