6 Tips for Stunning Landscape Photography (even if you don’t have a fancy camera)

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Especially in a world of skyscrapers and cement, nothing captures our attention like a stunning sunset, soaring mountain, or sparkling field. Everyone enjoys the beauty of God’s marvelous creation! But you don’t need a fancy DSLR camera to capture it, if you use these tips.

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#1: Harness Light

What makes a stunning landscape photo? On the one hand, you have a shimmering landscape of a thousand raindrops. On the other hand, you have a snapshot of a tree in a field. What’s the difference? It could be a matter of minutes.

Try shooting photos during the hour of sunset and sunrise, also called the golden hours. This diffused, colorful light highlights subjects and details you wouldn’t otherwise see. (On the flip side, bright afternoon light accents colorful foliage or bright flowers.)

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#2: Pick a Subject

Have you ever captured a stunning landscape photo, but something still didn’t seem right? Try focusing on one subject. Miles and miles of rolling prairie bathed in sunset gold is gorgeous, but without a subject, the viewer’s eye wanders.

Focus on the tree, the cloud, the building, or the animal. Pick one main focal point, and everything should fall into place.

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#3: Use the Rule of Thirds

Where’s your subject? Many of us automatically center our subject in the middle of the photograph. For some reason, our eyes don’t focus on the center when viewing an image. That’s why you should use the Rule of Thirds.

The Rule of Thirds says that you should place your subject slightly off center, using a grid for guidance. This grid breaks the image into 9 squares…

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…with 4 “intersection points” where each of these lines overlap each other.

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You should put your subject on one of those points, instead of smack dab in the center. This composition technique adds interest and visual balance to the image.

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#4: Take an Angle

We spend our entire adult life viewing the world from a 5” 7’ perch, or whatever your height happens to be! We see most things from a standing or sitting position. We rarely look straight down or directly up into something, and that’s why using different angles makes interesting photos.

While taking a landscape photo, tilt your camera a different angle. Look down into a sweeping valley. Look up into a majestic sunrise. Swivel to include those beautiful flowers. You never know what you will see.

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#5: Focus Tight

You’re working within the elements of sunshine, wind, and moisture, so focus is a common landscape photo problem. Many photos look fine on camera, later printing  blurry or poorly focused. To shoot a crisp, clear image, don’t be afraid to steady your camera with two hands or even use a tripod.

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#6: Capture the Color

Creation is colorful, sometimes in ways you don’t expect. (Have you ever seen a photo of blue frogs? We only have green frogs in the Midwest, so blue frogs catch our eyes.) Capture those beautiful colors in the landscape.

And don’t be afraid to mix colors, either. Artists use a color wheel to organize colors in relation to one another.

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Using that color wheel, you can come up with different combinations of colors that look best. Different shades of the same color look good together, for example. This is called a monochromatic color scheme. Meanwhile, complementary colors (colors that are across from each other on the color wheel) mix well together.

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Conclusion

You don’t need a DSLR or Photoshop program to capture God’s creation around you, especially if you’re witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime moment. Whether you’re beholding a boiling storm cloud, a burning red sunrise, or a sparkling dandelion field, use these tips to capture it.

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