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7 Steps to Stunning Landscapes + Online Photo Class Giveaway!

6/05/2014 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

Take your landscape photos from ordinary to extraordinary. Learn to shoot dynamic scenes during sunrise, midday and sundown with seven tips from award-winning photographer Rick Sammon, who has traveled to and photographed almost 100 countries. Then, enter for your chance win Rick's online Craftsy class Landscape Photography: Shooting From Dusk to Dawn here (a $59.99 value!)—a special offer for ISO 1200 readers! 

1. Shoot RAW images rather than JPGs.

While RAW images take up more room on your memory card, they'll give you greater latitude for image manipulation in post processing, so you can easily sharpen and adjust colors for the best results.

2. Go very wide to capture the entire scene.

Make sure your viewer feels like they are seeing the entire scene, by using a wide angle lens to include more in your frame and open up your vertical perspective. 

3. Tell your own story

Don't forget to walk around your subject or explore different points of view (like from the ground-up or above) to see what most fascinates you. 

4. Carefully consider the three distinct parts of your composition:

Place something of interest in the foreground, so that it sets the scene and creates a sense of depth. This should be the area where you focus using an aperture around f/16 or f/20 to ensure a maximum area is in focus. 

When it comes to your middle ground apply the rule of thirds. Never place the middle ground in the center, rather towards the bottom or top of the frame.

And finally, consider the horizon line. The sky is often overlooked but is an important element. If you have a dramatic sky, let it dominate your photo by placing the horizon line at the bottom of the frame. Avoid placing the horizon in the center of the frame (unless you have a reflection scene like a lake).
5. Adjust your exposure compensation.
Use exposure compensation to make adjustments for contrasting light when highlight detail would otherwise be lost, or when photographing snowy landscapes and other tricky scenes. For very bright settings (like the snow or beach), set an EV value as a positive number (+1/3, +1 etc). For very dark scenes, choose a negative EV number.

6. Anchor your camera to a tripod.
Because your exposure times will likely be elongated, mount your camera to eliminate shake. And, to further eliminate camera shake, carry a cable release.

7. Take advantage of the best times of day with ideal lighting.
Blue light photography, the twenty minutes right before sunrise and just after sunset, and golden light photography, the hour shortly after sunrise or before sunset, are the best times for shooting landscapes. At these times the sun is softer and the low angle of the light reveals shadows and textures otherwise missed.

Now that you know a few tricks, enter for your chance to win Rick Sammon's online Craftsy class Landscape Photography: Shooting From Dusk to Dawn! Join Rick on a journey through stunning vistas as he reveals essential lens, filter and framing strategies for incredible landscape photos any time of day. Learn how to harness natural light to elevate your shots, and get HDR, panorama and black-and-white style tipsALL on your own schedule, in your own home.

 Rick Sammon
What are some of your favorite tips for shooting landscapes at sunrise?

One winner will be randomly selected on June 9, 2014 at midnight MT. This has been a sponsored post kindly brought to us by Craftsy.