10 landscape photography mistakes every photographer makes (and how to fix them)

10 landscape photography mistakes every photographer makes (and how to fix them)

Landscape Photography Mistake No. 5: Flat, dull light

Photography Tips: wait for the clouds to break

Professional photographers will wait for days, weeks and even months or seasons to get exactly the right light for a shoot.

Light quality makes a huge difference to an image, bringing colours to life and accentuating the contours of the land. Conversely, flat light and overcast skies can result dull, uninteresting images.

However, even the most enthusiastic photographers have demands that mean they don’t have the luxury of being able to wait and then drop everything because the light is right.

Many people are more likely to only be able to shoot outside of work hours and when family commitments allow.

Naturally this means that if they have some time to shoot a landscape, they want to make the most of it. This can mean shooting whatever the weather or light.

One way to deal with dull light is to switch to shooting monochrome images. If the sky is uniform and featureless why not borrow a sky from a shot with a better sky?

You need to match the nature of the light, but there’s nothing to stop you using a sky with a few heavy clouds rather than a featureless mass of grey or white.

Shoot raw files, or raw and JPEG files simultaneously with the camera set to its monochrome mode to allow you to see how the scene looks in black and white while still having a full-colour image to convert.

When you make the conversion use the contrast and dodging and burning tools to create atmospheric monochrome landscapes.


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Landscape Photography Mistake No. 6: Strong shadows

How to beat underexposure and rescue shadow detail: step 1

The opposite of dull light, strong sunlight, brings its own problems – deep shadows and harsh highlights.

As a rule it’s generally best to shoot landscape images early in the morning, late in the afternoon or in the early evening; the key being that the sun is at a relatively low angle in the sky.

As well as being stronger and brighter in the middle of the day, the sun is almost directly above the landscape and objects cast short, deep shadows that reveal little detail.

The lower, weaker sun of morning and evening results in longer, softer shadows that accentuate the form of the land.


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  • KG

    Sometimes I do wonder about this site/mag. The layout for the tips is awful, and then you hit us with an advert after 2 pages [well, I was] Just put these simple tips on ONE page, why on earth do you spread them across pages as if that meant there was more content!? I appreciate that the tips are for beginners, but I’m willing to bet most of them give up after 2 pages because of all the needless scrolling

  • ArieLex

    Hmm, I’m pretty sure the horizon in the 2nd image in No. 4 is not level. It does slope down a bit towards the land.

  • http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/ Jeff / Digital Camera World

    To address your points… we need ads to be able to give away free content. We could put it behind a paywall, but no one likes that.

    As for the multiple pages, wouldn’t you be scrolling more if it was all on one page? Anyway, in the past we’ve put everything on one page, and people complain about having to scroll endlessly down. Spread it out, and likewise people get upset. So our general rule is about 600-700 words per page. Most of our content on the site is 1-2 pages. This post, however, is 3000 words long!

  • tom rose

    “We need ads to be able to give away free content. We could put it behind a paywall, but no one likes that.”

    Untrue! I would happily pay a subscription for ad-free content, so long as it is high-quality content. I would even more happily pay a fee for use of a search engine to get away from the once excellent, now mostly annoying, Google search.

  • Robert Walsh

    I go to a page that you can see for free with ads. You also can pay to have ad free viewing. Those pages load so much faster without all the ads trying to load. I will start to read an article and then the page shifts away from what I was reading because another ad just loaded, very fustrating.