The 10 Commandments of Landscape Photography (and how to break them)

The 10 Commandments of Landscape Photography (and how to break them)

Commandment 8: Boost greens and blues

Landscape Photography Tips (and how to break them)

The majority of landscapes contain lots of green and blue so it makes sense to give these colours a little extra zing. The landscape option of the scene modes usually cranks up the saturation of greens and blues.

It also takes control of white balance and exposure, and it will attempt to set a low sensitivity setting and narrow aperture so that shots have lots of sharp detail.

Experienced photographers who want to take control of the exposure themselves will find aperture-priority mode a better choice, but they can still boost greens and blues by using the landscape option of their camera’s colour modes – these are called Picture Styles on Canon cameras and Picture Control settings on Nikon SLRs (learn more about how to use your Canon Picture Styles).

Scene modes tailor aspects such as exposure, white balance, sharpening and colour, whereas colour modes merely adjust the balance and saturation of colours, and they can be applied in any exposure mode.

In-camera colour preferences are applied to JPEG images, but they can also usually be applied to raw files at the conversion stage using the software supplied with the camera.

Alternatively, the HSL/Grayscale section of Adobe Camera Raw enables the saturation of individual colours to be increased or decreased.

With Canon DSLRs you can use the supplied software to create your own Picture Style, which can then be uploaded to the camera for regular use in the future.

Landscape Photography Tips (and how to break them)

Image copyright Olli Kekalainen

Break The Rules: Suit the scene
If the scene doesn’t contain much blue or green there’s not much point in cranking up their saturation. On a beach it might be better to give the yellows or reds a boost.

This can be done by selecting the portrait colour mode – don’t use the portrait scene mode as this will usually result in a fairly wide aperture, which will restrict the depth of field. Portrait colour mode is also a good choice for bringing out the warm tones of autumn.

Landscapes don’t have to be colour – they also look great in monochrome – especially if there are dramatic or stormy clouds overhead (for more, see our tutorial The Black and White Landscape: make a mono masterpiece).

The best digital black-and-white images are usually created by converting a colour image using Photoshop or Silver Efex Pro (check out these 8 other ways to convert to black and white in Photoshop).

A raw file is the best starting point, but we recommend shooting raw and JPEG files simultaneously if possible. Set your camera to monochrome mode so that you can see black-and-white versions of the scene on the LCD – this will help you to assess the image more accurately on your LCD.

The raw files will still have the full colour information so you can easily convert them to monochrome at a later stage if you wish.

Commandment 1: Shoot during the golden hour
Commandment 2: Use a wideangle lens
Commandment 3: Use the Rule of Thirds
Commandment 4: Find foreground interest
Commandment 5: Use a steady tripod
Commandment 6: Focus one third in
Commandment 7: Balance the exposure
Commandment 8: Boost greens and blues
Commandment 9: Use a narrow aperture
Commandment 10: Use a low ISO setting


Color Theory: the best color combinations for photography (and how to take it further)
44 essential digital camera tips and tricks
Better pictures of fog and mist: adding intrigue to an everyday landscape
How to track the sun for perfect landscape photos
12 promises every landscape photographer must make

  • jmeyer

    Thanks for the kind words, durand! Glad to have you here!