Improve your landscape photography in 2024

Landscape photography is a passion that requires patience & planning. The basic techniques can be easily learned and will help you to improve your skills to capture great landscape photos. But only the practice and repetition will make that your photos upgrade with time.

In this article, you will find helpful information about the most important aspects that a landscape photographer needs to know (and master). If you are a beginner photographer this post will help you to introduce to one of the most popular categories of photography. And if you are an advanced landscape photographer, this post will bring you new ideas and reinforce your knowledge.

Come back soon, we are preparing a free guide book to learn all about landscape photography. From research world locations & artists to follow, to guide lines for composition & perspectives. But also edition tips, as panorama merging, with Adobe software to improve the quality of your pictures.

Subscribe now to our newsletter, and we will send you the link to our book as soon it’s ready.

Essential gears for landscape photography

This gear is something essential that you must bring for your landscape photography: Don’t leave home without them.

Read our blog to find more info about it, we not will stop to talk here about cameras.

Tripod & Remote shutter

One of the basic gear you already probably know is a tripod. Always bring with you, landscape photography requires a perfect sharpness, and only with a tripod, you will get it. Also, try to choose a tripod that can keep the weight of your camera.

Reduce the movement of your camera with a remote shutter (or at least use the function of your camera to shoot with delay). A sturdy tripod is required in almost all situations of landscape photography to get sharper images. From sunrises and sunsets to capture the movement of water in a waterfall or river.

travel tour workshop equipment tripod photographer  photo tour workshop

If you are planning big trekking, exists great tripods with low weight. But always bring it with you if you really are looking to capture amazing landscapes.


Another basic equipment is the use of filters in landscape photography. Last years I hear that some photographers avoid using, arguing that they can edit in Photoshop to get similar results.

lens equipment  photo tour workshop

Don’t be fooled, the reflections of water can’t be fixed in the same way in post-production. Also, long exposures are hardly imitated by the use of several layers or effects.

Neutral Density Filter

Neutral Density & Graduated Neutral Density will help you to reduce the light that enters your sensor. It means that you can increase the time of your photo or you can balance the light in your scene with a graduated filter.

According to the steps of your neutral filter, you can get long exposures in clouds or water as an example. With the graduated, you will easily control the differences of light between the skies and the ground. With the use of filters, you will transform an ordinary landscape into an extraordinary one.


A polarizer is another basic filter that must be in your photography bag. As we said before, Photoshop (or any other similar software) can mimic the effect of a polarizer. Thanks to the polarizer you will reduce the reflection of the light & also increase contrast in your scene. It means, that you can change the tonal balance of the sky, reduce glares… But the most important is to cut the haze of diffused light that can spoil your landscape photography.

During our photography trips to Iceland, you can test the Kase filters for free, and with the help of our photographer guides. Also, if you are interested to buy some of them, you can subscribe to our newsletter. You will get a 10% discount code on Kase products at 3dpi.

The Best Camera Settings for Landscape Photography

Suggested Landscape Photography Camera Settings

Every situation has different light conditions, and the best camera setting for landscape photography will be according to that. But what we can suggest you these basic settings to start.

Using manual mode gives you all control of the scene. But if you are starting in landscape photography, we can suggest you these settings to start before you jump to manual mode:

  • Exposure mode: Aperture Priority.
  • Drive mode: Single shot.
  • Aperture: f/8 – f/11.
  • ISO: 100.
  • Shutter speed: Determined by the camera.
  • White balance: Automatic (you will adjust later shooting in RAW).
  • Focus mode: Manual.

Control the long exposures

If you like long exposures, but you are a beginner landscape photographer, probably you will find problems to find the correct settings. The use of Neutral density filters when you start in photography, can result in mess of calculations.

To make it easy, you can use apps like Long Exposure Calculation that will help you to understand which settings you must use. Check our post about the best apps for photographers, there you will find some other apps that can help you with this task.

Check the image below, with the famous Vestrahorn in Iceland at the background. The use of the long exposures, thanks to a filter, gives life to the picture, right?

iceland in summer cheap iceland photo tour

Photo taken during an Iceland Summer Photo Tour

Anyway, the first thing you will need to control is the three fundamental settings in photography: ISO, Aperture and shutter speed. We are preparing a post about it that will be ready soon.

Exposure Bracketing

Another great option you must control as a landscape photographer is the use of the exposure bracketing. Actually, almost all cameras bring you the possibility to control the exposure compensation. Using this option will allow you to take multiple photos of the same scene (use of a tripod is required) with different exposures.

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Usually, working with the basic setting of 3 shots will let you capture the dynamic range of the scene. You can choose how many stops of difference you want between them. As normal with +1 and -1 you will be successful (plus the 0 or normal shot).

With this method, you have a guarantee of success. During the post-production process, you will be able to merge the 3 photos in one single file and have all the dynamic range. This result will bring you an HDR file, where highlights and blacks will have much more information than a single shot.

Master the Depth of field

The last point you must control is the depth of field of your image. The use of the hyperfocal is a must, and in this case, using an aperture of f/11 will usually give you a sharpened image.

Another great option to use is the focus bracketing. This method is similar to exposure bracketing. Only this time you will need to do manually the 3 photos (or the amount that the scene requires).

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Discover the magic of the lavender fields in our Provence Photo Tour

As a basic tutorial, you can follow these steps:

  • Change your focus & exposure to manual mode.
  • Exposure to the light of your scene.
  • Focus on the background for the first shoot.
  • Now change the focus to the middle ground for the second shoot.
  • Finally, focus on the foreground for the last shoot.

In case you want to do also an exposure bracketing, take the 3 shots of your exposure bracketing every time you change the focus.

How to focus on landscape photography?

Again, we recommend you use some app to calculate the hyperfocal. But anyway, most of the time your own instinct will tell you where you must focus. We will speak aboutit later, but when you choose a specific interest in the scene, you already will answer this question.

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Discover more in our Lofoten Photo Tours

Anyway, in landscape photography is recommended to have all yourscenese in focus. This way the use of focus bracketing orcalculatinge the hyperfocal is a must.

Shoot Raw & Use low ISO

Are you still shooting JPG? Avoid it! There are some articles on the internet trying to tell you that there are no big differences betweenusinge RAW or JPG. But the reality is that RAW will preserve more information, giving you the chance to control the final result.

Also, remember to keep your ISO settings low (100) to keepsharpn and noise-free images. Only for night photography, you will need to use high ISO, if you are bringing your tripod for day landscape photography.

Best time for landscape photos

The Magic or GoldenHourss

One of thekeysy to master landscape photograph, is to catch the best lights. Of course, the spothase importance in your pic, but a beautiful light will bring your photo to the next level.

The best moment for landscape photography is sunrise and sunset. During this period, you will get a soft light, that will colorize the scene and will bring the elements a special atmosphere. According to the weather and location, the time can go froma few minutes to an hour before and after sunrise or sunset.

Slovenia Photo Tour

Explore the landscapes of Slovenia in our Slovenia Photo Tour

The difference of color temperatures in the scene gives you at this moment the perfect conditions for a great landscape photo. This is why these hours are known as the ‘magic hours’.

Again, you must get a good app for photographers to control when this light will be at your location. Don’t look only when will be the magic hour. Check also the weather conditions, and remember that some clouds can bring you a perfect atmosphere for your landscape photo.

How to compose a landscape

In photography, there is not only the rule of thirds to know in your landscape composition. The composition is how you place the elements of your scene in your photo. It can be from people or natural objects to negative spaces. Also, it’s important to choose a composition in your photos, to pay attention to how we will use the available light.

There is not a kind of composition to suggest here. You must be as creative as possible with the angle & perspective of your picture. Whether it is a mountain, desert, plain, river… With our tips, you can manage in any place, from a United States landscape to an island beach seascape.

stone seascape, asturias, spain

Learn composition in our Asturias Photography Workshop

Improve your compositions

What is the focal point of your photo?

It sounds basic, but the first that we need to think about to compose our photo is the focal point of it. Don’t miss to always ask yourself this question. If the reply is all the scene your photo will not show anything special in particular.

Once you know what is your focal point, you will choose the other elements to compose your photo. So the first thing you must do is always ask yourself what are you photographing.

In the examples below, there are no doubts what is the main subject.

What is the focal point of your photo
Photo Tour Scotland Highlands Castle Eilean Donan

Weight in your landscape composition

Another important principle is to balance your composition. Sometimes can be easy to balance as in the example below. The distribution of the two fishermen placed at the same distance from the borders gives a visual same weight on the photo.

Weight in your landscape composition

But we know that in landscape not will be as easy as this example. One way to balance the weight of the photo is by using the human factor. In this example, the image without the person in the right will “feel down”.


Another important point to pay attention it’s the use of the shadows. Usually, shadows have more weight than the lights. In this case, using a person to balance the weight in the lights is also, a good tool to compensate for your composition.

ice cave kamchatka

Getting Visual Flow

Give to your landscape composition a visual flow, and help the viewer a path to look through your photo. A typical example is the use of lines that help the eye to go to your focal point.

Getting Visual Flow

But these lines do not have to be always straight. It can be curves or zigzags for example.

Getting Visual Flow

Also, the use of patterns or repetition of elements helps the eye to enter into the image.

Getting Visual Flow

The use of three elements also helps to give harmony to the image. It can be not aligned as in the previous image. The placement of the elements can be around the image giving a visual flow. This triangle helps to watch our pictures more naturally.

Use the depth of field

Usually, we will compose our landscape with three elements: the foreground, midground, and background. In the next example, you can see the grass & tree in the foreground make the frame of the scene. The focal point is in the midground and the windmill is in the background.

Use the depth of field

But sometimes our scenes can be easier. In these cases, we will need to pay attention to colors and lights, to create depth in our images. In this example, the light colors of the background, create the necessary volume to our minimalistic scene, as you can find during a Hokkaido Photo Tour.


Also, our scene can have much more than 3 levels. In these cases, we will need to pay attention to the distribution of the elements. As you can see in the next image, the tree that is in the foreground merges with a tree in the midground. This means that our image doesn’t have all the depth that the scene needs.

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Frame your image

Framing your image is probably one of the most important things you should think about the moment you compose your landscape.

viaje fotografico myanmar Mingun

You can also, use other elements to frame your photographs as the grass, mountains…any element that focuses your view on the focal point.


And not only elements will help you to frame your images. Also, shadows & lights can create a frame around your focal point. The negative spaces will frame your images as well.


Display the size of your landscape

When we are in front of a landscape, it is hard to show the real scale of the scene. The use of wide angles with elements in the foreground will modify the dimensions.

Scottish Highlands Photo Tour Etive_Mor

Adding elements that are easily recognized with certain dimensions, will help your viewers to give the real size of your landscape.

Londragar landscape Snaefellness Peninsula

Avoid this mistakes

As an extra chapter, we want to speak also about mistakes that you need to avoid when you compose your landscapes. If you are starting in landscape photography, try to remember these simple steps that will help your photos jump to the next level.

Twisted horizons

A sloping horizon can kill your image unless you are using it as a creative intention. Always correct your horizon with any image editor as Photoshop (or any other free online editor). It is annoying for the viewer to see an unbalanced image.

avoid Twisted horizon

In case you want to use a twisted horizon, be sure that the intention is clear and easy to understand. For example, it can be a good way to show hard climbing, but always be careful that the viewer sees this intention. 

Include elements that disturb

Once you have selected the focal point of your photo, try to avoid elements that disturb it. A stone or brush in the foreground can help you to compose your image. But it also can be a distraction if you use more space in your image. 

element disturb the focal point

Of course, elements that can be in the middle of your focal point will make your photo lose power. Try to change the perspective, move forward, or to any side to avoid these elements. 

Compose only horizontal

Usually, we start our landscape composition always horizontally. It’s a simple way for our eyes to see the scene, but also because it is the natural way to take the camera. It’s fine, but try to compose vertically as it will give you more dynamism to your scene. Also, you can avoid elements on the sides that distract your photo. 

Plitvice falls Croatia

It can happen that when you start to compose vertically, you don’t make horizontal photos. So, take your time to try to always compose both pics. You will not want to come back home and don’t have to choose another option. 

Don’t change the perspective

Probably you will pay attention that last year’s drone photography became popular. We are not asking you to buy a drone, but you can always change the perspective of your photos to a different angle. Move your camera close to the ground or try to get a higher perspective. 

Diamond beach, Iceland

When you use a different perspective, your photographs will win originality and a fresh view of popular landscapes. Don’t be shy or afraid to get dirty clothes, play with the perspective to move your photos to another level.

Good weather – bored background

When the day looks sunny, it’s a good time to go for a walk but probably not the best for landscape photography. A clear sky will make our landscape a bit boring. Go out when is cloudy, it will give your images a more interesting ambiance and background. 

bored sea landscape photography with good weather

Also, you will get more chances to get amazing colors during sunrise or sunset. Sometimes it is luck that the sky just opens to let the light enter and make an explosion of color in the sky. But when there are no clouds in the sky, these colors will never appear. 

Skip the rules without intention

As we explain in our article about the rule of thirds, the rules are important to know. But there is no set of principles (or tools) that can be defined as right or not. In the same way, you don’t need to always use all the rules to make your photo better. The important is to use these principles or rules in your landscape composition according to the feeling you want to capture in your photo.

Seascape of Asturias in Spain during sunset

But you need to know these rules, to break them. Thinking the landscape is already beautiful, and don’t following the rules without intention is the biggest mistake you can make in landscape photography.

Look only through your camera

Sometimes, you can arrive at the location and start to prepare your camera immediately. You should spend time before starting shooting to analyze the area. Use your own eyes to look around and choose the best element to compose your image. Only at the moment when you have a clear view, look through your camera.

Use all together in your landscape composition

As you can see along with the post, some images have different tools to help the landscape composition. Try to think about all these points, the moment you are composing your landscapes. The result will be powerful photographs, with a strong focal point, correct weight, easy visual flow, and depth.

About the author

Eduardo Fuster is a Spanish landscape & travel photographer. Graduate in Art & Design, and master in Motion Graphics. More than 15 years of experience working for advertisement, tv, cinema, real estate & stock agencies.

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