7 common landscape photography clichés (and how to make your shots stand out)

Lone Trees: 10 tips for more creative pictures of trees

Silhouette photography: tips for shooting into the sun

5. Sunset silhouettes

When you’re shooting at sun rise or sunset you naturally want to capture the colour in the sky, but the best images have a bit more in them than just this and a few silhouettes of trees or buildings.

Balancing the exposure of the sky and the land presents the biggest challenge in these situations. If you expose for the foreground the sky will be washed-out and if you exposed for the sky you’re back to the silhouette situation.

Traditionally photographers use a graduated neutral density filter with the dark part of the filter positioned over the sky, however, digital photography allows other methods that can be more effective.

You can shoot two or more images at different exposures to combine them into one picture with better exposure across the whole frame, for example.

Alternatively you can selectively adjust an image to darken the bright sky and brighten the foreground. Take care how much you brighten a dark foreground however, as it can introduce a lot of colour noise – even in shots taken at very low sensitivity settings.

6. Perfect weather and golden light

Many photographers wait for the perfect weather conditions and the golden light before sunset or immediately after sunrise to shoot a landscape, but stormy conditions can result in much more interesting images.

Dramatic clouds can look especially good in monochrome images, so think about converting your shots to black and white and use your image editing software to adjust the contrast globally and locally to create an image with bags of impact.

MORE: check out the 18 most difficult landscapes to photograph (and the photographers who conquered them)


Landscape Photography Tips: lone trees

7. Lone tree

Just like the rock in the foreground and castle in the background recipe, a lone tree on a hill with rows of lavender, a footpath or plough-lines leading up to it is a composition that’s difficult to resist.

Even respected professional landscape photographers have been known to poke fun at themselves for shooting such a cliché.

But there’s a reason why lone trees have such a pull for photographers, when shot well the results are often simple, well balanced and attractive.

And when photographed without careful consideration its just a random shot of a tree.

The simplicity of the scene challenges the photographer to create a great image. Approach with caution and snap with care.


Dull day photography: what (and how) to shoot when the sun isn’t shining
Flat light: how to bring your dull images back to life
Golden Hour Photography: tips for making magical landscapes at dawn
How to take sharp landscape photos
The landscape’s greatest challenges: a free photography cheat sheet