Common Mistakes Photographers make when shooting Landscapes

Scenery is the main element of a landscape photograph and shooting a landscape is more of an art. Taking landscape photograph is the art of capturing a part of the scenery and its different components. Along with fun and adventure, photographers have a golden opportunity for connecting themselves with Mother Nature by choosing landscape photography.

El Nido Resorts Lagen Island Palawan
El Nido Resorts Lagen Island

Between searching for the right spot and capturing the image on the camera, photographers commit a number of mistakes which need to be avoided to get a quality image. Here are the common mistakes many new travel photographers make in shooting landscape photos :

Picturesque Sunrise in Brunei by Jan Shim
Picturesque Sunrise in Brunei by Jan Shim

Giving up too early

This is one common mistake that photographers make and it is the easiest to correct if the photographer is keen about capturing nature’s finest pictures. Many photographers invest in an amazing camera, travel to so many places, but when they feel a little tired they just give up the idea. Sometimes they even fail to explore the scene in a better way and assume that the set of photos they took was already enough.

Sunset in Donsol Sorsogon
Sunset in Donsol Sorsogon

It is a known fact that better photos come out with time, by understanding all the perspectives of the place. The best example for this is when taking sunset or sunrise photos, we always tend to give up and think that we already have the best sunset shot with the orangey sun in various shades, foregrounds and frames. However, after viewing photos from other photographers, we then realized that there are other perfect angles and frames to explore.

Water Cottage in Apulit Island Resort
Water Cottage in Apulit Island Resort

Lack of clarity about the subject

A number of award-winning photographs clearly shows the subject, foreground and background in a beautifully composed shot. In some of our photos, there is either no obvious clue about what we are trying to convey to our audience or there are too many distractions from the main topic. The distinction between images and matter appear because of the fact that the way a photographer looks at the world and the way a camera captures an image are different. There are a number of techniques that we can use to avoid getting distracted from the main topic and the first one on the list is getting closer to the subject. Using a wide lens from a far distance can also help a photographer serve the purpose.

El Nido Palawan
El Nido Palawan

Not using a tripod

There is every possibility of having a camera shake if the photographer doesn’t handle it properly. A camera shake will result in blurred images and we have to adjust the shutter speed in order to get good quality images. This is one of the biggest mistakes amateur photographers make. These mistakes may not become noticeable initially, but when your eyes get used to it, they will look too much into imperfections and into the finest details of a picture. The reason for all these imperfections can be traced back to not using a tripod. Using a tripod and giving a proper support to the camera may prevent these situations.

Caramoan Peninsula by Kirk Acebron
Caramoan Peninsula by Kirk Acebron of

Poor composition

Poor composition may result in an absolutely bad photograph and it is essential to choose the right composition to produce better looking photos. Photo Composition is something that you dont just learn from the four corners of the room or from one of those Youtube photography tutorials. Before you take the “Rule of Thirds” theory seriously, make sure to checkout also different vantage points before taking photographs. It also helps if you browse the works of famous photographers and take a look at how they compose and produce the perfect shot. Be experimental and open-minded in exploring your composition. What works for one perfectly composed photograph won’t necessarily work for another.

Batad Rice Terraces in Ifugao by Ian dela Pena
Batad Rice Terraces in Ifugao by Ian dela Pena

Using the wrong lens

Using the right lens and proper lens adjustment are vital for a good image. This is a point where photographers don’t get it right. Lenses should be used and the focal length of the lens should be adjusted in order to get a well defined image of the landscape. Try to practice your camera’s manual feature instead of relying too much on your cameras mode dial.

Sloping horizons

Generally, Landscape photos will look better if the horizon is straight. In a coastal setting, sloping horizons give an unnatural look and the sea will appear out of frame. In some of our photos, we dont normally notice that the horizons are not straight. In those cases, we need to adjust the camera settings accordingly to get the images straight within the focus of the camera. Quick Tip: We can also make sure that the horizons are straight if we use a tripod.

Using flash

Landscape Photography will always look good if you stay away from using artificial lights, in particular, flashes. Many are unaware of the main use of artificial lights is for indoor photography where no sufficient light is avaialble. Im not saying that you will never ever need artificial light in Landscape photography but one thing for sure, you can survive without one:)

All photos and text used in this post are intellectual properties of Melo Villareal unless otherwise stated.
  1. Bonzenti,Con Tour says

    Thanks for this tips melo. Learned from these tips. :-).

    1. Melo Villareal says

      you are welcome Bon:)

  2. Jae Woo Jang says

    Hi Melo!
    I just think your photos are amazing. Is it possible if I can use one of your beach photos as the front cover photo of my published essay? It matches well if the essay and its so nice! thanks!

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