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Digital Photography: 10 Tips For Better Landscape Photos

Aug 16, 2008
This is the time of the year for Summer trips and vacations. Can you see all the people at all the tourist land marks with their digital cameras? We are also moving into the fall season, and soon, we will be seeing the changing of the leaves. The thing is, how many of you wished you could take some great landscape pictures with your digital camera? Wouldn't it be just awesome to be able to have some nice pics to put on your desktop screen saver, or your wall?

For all of you aspiring photographers out there, here are 10 tips you can put to use right now to capture that beautiful picture.

1. The first thing to get into your head is that photography is all about light. The more you know about how light affects your photos, the better you will get. Try taking pictures of the same area one day, but take the pictures at different times of the day. You'd be surprised at how drastic the same picture looks with different lighting. There is no substitute for practical experience and there is no excuse with a digital camera not to practice and throw away the shots you don't want.

2. Take your pictures during the magic hours. Many professional photographers like to take most of their landscapes photos a few hours after sunrise or before sunset to get the best lighting affects. The reason for this is that the lighting is not coming from directly above. The way and angle of the sun coming up or going down over the horizon gives rich pictures.

3. Use high definition photography (HDR) or pseudo HDR to bring out the background and make your pictures dramatic. If you are not acquainted with the term HDR - basically it involves taking 3 shots of the scene with your camera mounted on a tripod. One shot is over exposed by one stop and one shot is underexposed by one stop and the final shot is at the correct exposure. The photographs are merged using HDR software to give a broader tonal range resulting in more dramatic pictures. What you end up doing is blending the average of the camera lens aperture.

4. Experiment with your camera - Take picutures of the same subject in the same lighting but keep adjusting your setting on the camera. You will start to understand what each setting will do. And, then, you will know which setting to go to when you want to achieve a particular effect.

5. Frame the focal point. Alternatively use a path, fence or wall to lead the eye to the focal point. You can get some really dramatic results that way. Think of hte fense at the sand dunes, or a long row of wild flowers leading up the hills.

6. When taking pictures at dawn or dusk try using the slow sync flash mode on your digital camera to highlight the area close to you. This is particularly useful when you want to use an object like a tree branch to frame the scene. The burst of light that is thrown off can create dramatic effects.

7. Try taking your pictures using the rule of two thirds - try it with the sky and horizon in the top third, then try it with the sky and horizon in the top two thirds of the picture. You never really want to have a picture cut down the center. The asymmetry is what looks good in the picture. As you experiment, you will find what works best for you in which situation.

8. Try using a tripod especially in low light conditions and if you don't possess a shutter release cable set your camera's 2 second timer to on, to avoid any camera shake. If your camera has image stabilisation you should set this to off when you use your tripod. Do not over estimate your ability to stay still while taking a shot. We are always moving, and even our pulse can make the difference when you have the lens open for a long time. If you are serious about taking pictures, you should invest in the tripod, you can get a cheap one for less than $25.

9. Consider about using a graduated filter to emphasise the sky. Graduated grey filters are fairly cheap and they can often help avoid that overblown sky. If you are using a point and shoot camera, you may not have this setting, but don't worry, your camera will ususally have a setting similarly that you can use. Check the owners manual.

10. Once you've take all your pictures the fun processing them begins. It's worthwhile getting to grips with photo editing software such as Photoshop. If you don't want to buy photo editing software you can always download Gimp which has many of Photoshop's features. The only challenge is that Gimp can be difficult to learn how to use. For a more simpler version of photo editing software, you can try Picasa by Google. Both Gimp and Picasa are free to download and use.

So that's it. 10 easy things you can do today to get better pictures. Here's a bonus tip. Just get out there and take pictures like crazy and experiment. Since most cameras today are digital, you don't have that recurring expense in film. The more pictures you take, the more you will be able to adjust and then sooner than later, you'll have great landscape photos.
About the Author
Matt loves looking for a cheap digital camera online. http://cheapdigitalcamerashop.com has the best digital camera deals on the net. Our digital camera sale pricing can't be beat!
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