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. 7: Sky washed out or the land underexposed

Photoshop Effects: how to fix bleached out skies - before image

Bleached skies are the bane of any landscape photographer

One of the problems with shooting a landscape is that the sky is often significantly brighter than the land beneath it and many cameras are only capable of recording detail in one of them in a single image.

In many cases this can result in the land looking correctly exposed, but the sky being washed out and uninteresting.

Alternatively, the sky may look great, but the foreground is underexposed and gloomy.

The traditional way of resolving this problem is to use a graduated neutral density (ND) filter on the lens with the dark part of the filter positioned over the sky.

This evens out the exposure difference between the land and sky enabling detail to be recorded in both in a single shot.

Digital photography has provided an alternative means of correcting this problem.

At its simplest this involves shooting two images with different exposures and then combining the sky from one shot with the land from the other.

In addition, some photographers employed HDR techniques to merge several images taken at different exposures.


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Landscape Photography Mistake No. 8: Obvious graduated ND filter use

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Using the image combining technique to record detail in the sky and the land avoids a problem that dogs the use of ND filters; working out where to position the transition section of the filter so that it goes unnoticed.

Unfortunately any objects that extend into the sky, such as trees, buildings or even ills and mountains, will have a noticeable exposure change along their length.

This problem is hard to disguise even with neutral density filters that have a soft gradation, so digital techniques offer a helpful alternative provided that the photographer is careful with the selection or masking when combining the images.


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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.

  • 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.