Photography Cheat Sheet: Landscape Photography Tips for Beginners

Want to get into landscape photography but don’t know where to start? Let this photography cheat sheet be your quick and handy guide.

It’s easy to see why a lot of us want to dabble in landscape photography once in a while, as it often goes hand-in-hand when you’re a lover of the great outdoors. However, if you look for inspiration long and hard enough, you’ll eventually realize that there’s more to a great landscape photo than just a snapshot of the scene before you. This is where today’s featured photography cheat sheet will be of great help. If you’re just about to do landscape photography more seriously, refer to this guide for some useful tips and tricks.

The photography cheat sheet below, which we spotted on Digital Photography School, is especially put together for beginners, or even those who have already started and want to get better photos. It covers the essentials for gear, camera settings, and composition techniques that have been tried and tested by the pros.

For example, a tripod will be your best friend during your landscape shoots, so a reliable and sturdy one should never go missing in your tool kit. It will keep your camera still and stable, especially during long exposures. Other tools that will help you shoot in tricky lighting conditions are ND filters, which we have discussed in other tutorials like this and this.

As for camera settings, it’s best that you shoot with a smaller aperture (or higher f-number) to maximize the depth of field. This will allow a larger area of your scene to be in focus, which is crucial when you want to make sure that everything — from the foreground to the horizon — is captured sharply in your photos. Because you’ll be shooting with small apertures, you’ll have to compensate with slow shutter speeds — or long exposures. Again, the tripod will be your best friend here.

In terms of composition, the cheat sheet mentions some essential tips. Pick a focal point to give readers a spot in your photos to rest their eyes or pay extra attention to, like an interesting tree or rock formation. Place them in the foreground to indicate their prominence and create a sense of depth. Keep the horizon straight and base your composition using the Rule of Thirds. You have an option to place emphasis on the sky by shooting with the horizon along the lower third line of the grid, or along the upper third line for a more balanced composition.

Other composition techniques to keep in mind include using leading lines to lead the eyes to a focal point, using a faster shutter speed to freeze movement, using a slower shutter speed to emphasize movement (useful for scenes with flowing bodies of water), and making sure to shoot during the Golden Hour (the first and last hour of sunlight).

Want more landscape photography tips and tricks like this? We have a bunch more in our collection of photography cheat sheets so far, so make sure to check them out!