ACC Tips on Landscape Photography

Here's some tips for street photography, where you may well want to surreptitiously take photos of other people in their natural environment, acting naturally. They are arranged in no particular order. If you've got more we can add, please contact the webmaster


  • Basic kit to take includes wide-angle lens, tripod, remote release, filters, batteries.
  • Other kit includes telephoto lens.
  • If you're walking a lot, consider weight
  • Dress appropriately, windproofing, insulating and waterproofing as appropriate.
  • Scout beforehand for the best position. Go back many times to great positions.
  • Check the weather beforehand and adapt to it as you go.

General tips

  • The best time is around dawn and dusk, when the light is warm and shadows long.
  • Use the weather (check forecast). Wait for light, strong clouds and even rain.
  • Shoot in RAW.
  • Watch out for unwelcome items such as wires, aircraft trails, people, etc.
  • Make sure the horizon is level.
  • Watch for how tilting camera up or down affects verticals.
  • Show scale with people, buildings, vehicles, etc.

Manage the light

  • Go at 'golden hours' around dawn and dusk or other times the light is low and warm (even mid day in Winter). After sun is down and before dark is 'blue hour'.
  • Use ND grad filters to darken the sky (though jagged mountains makes this tricky).
  • Use polarising filter to deepen blue skies and reduce water reflections.
  • Use a multiple-stop ND filter to darken overall (eg. to capture movement).
  • Expose for the highlights to avoid burn.
  • Expose to the right (ETTR) to reduce noise in shadows.
  • Or take multiple exposures (eg. +/- 2) and blend in editing.
  • Seek to capture full histogram, from very dark to very light and good range of tones in between.
  • Create starbursts with narrow aperture and sun peeping around edge of object.
  • Look for high-contrast monochrome images too. A test shot with camera b/w mode can help see this.

Manage the focus

  • Use narrow aperture to get everything in focus (a common landscape need). F22 is popular and will give maximum depth of focus, but many lenses are sharper around f18 (experiment to understand your lenses).
  • Use manual ISO at lowest setting to minimise noise.
  • Use a tripod so you can use narrow aperture, low ISO and slow speed (unless it is windy and plants are moving so much it doesn't matter).
  • When using a tripod, turn off image stabilisation.
  • Use manual focus and 'zoom in' live-view mode to get it pin-sharp.
  • Look for focal point where eye goes first. Ensure this at least is in focus.
  • Focus a third of the way into the image. Useful rule of thumb as typically a third before and two thirds after will be in focus.
  • Use hyperfocal distance, the distance at which everything is in focus.
  • You can also creatively use non-focus. eg. slowing speed to emphasise movement of plants, etc.


  • Be deliberate about composition. Don't just snap something nice.
  • Compose the foreground, middle ground and background.
  • Avoid central horizon (unless you deliberately want a symmetry picture). If in doubt try putting it on a third. Lower third to show interesting sky and make subject look smaller. Upper third to show more land.
  • If the sky is bland, minimise it or cut it out all together.
  • Look for lines that lead the eye. Including sharp, interrupted, curved and broad ones. Diagonals are often good.
  • Look for balance of one thing/position with another.
  • Look for pleasing repetitive patterns ('rhythm').
  • Look for symmetry (this can work with central horizon).
  • Try minimalist pictures, with very few objects.
  • Aim to separate the outlines of major objects where you can, rather than overlap them.
  • Make it interesting. Tell a story.
  • Streams offer movement and often work as diagonals.
  • Trees can show height and scale and my offer frames.
  • Rocks offer texture and shape.
  • Show movement by reducing the shutter speed. If unsure, start at 1/10 second and step down (or even up) to find the best.
  • Use large and dark objects (like trees and dark sky layers) to hold in the edge of the photo.
  • Avoid cropping off a bit of an object. Try to have things in or out.

Create a sense of depth

  • Include close object(like a rock) to help give depth. AKA JCB: Joe Cornish's Boulder.
  • Use shadows to show depth.
  • Use converging lines to create perspective.
  • With the sun to the side, shadows will make objects more 3D, especially when the sun is low.
  • Fog and haze can contribute to depth perception.

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