5 Simple Tips to Instantly Improve Your Landscape Photography

I live and breathe landscape photography and there are so many great tips you can test and try out yourself. Here are five tips I benefit a lot from in my work that you can implement to improve your landscape photography right now.

What is the Best Light?

The best light is not always the light you will find in the golden hour. It can be soft and rich in color, but comparing the two photos below it is interesting to see the majority preferring the non-pink version. Despite the gorgeous pink colors, most people on my Instagram reported that it was the high contrast version with the dark clouds that worked the best. The best part is you can actually get a similar photo way out of the golden hour. All it takes is light on the church and foreground and dark clouds in the background.

Another example is this photo where the fog did not lift before a couple of hours outside the golden hour. Had the light been golden you would not have got that fresh feeling that the green and blue colors provide.

Stay Put

The second tip follows naturally from the first and that is to stay put. Not necessarily in the exact same spot, but in the same area at least an hour more than you think you need. I know it is easy to give up and go home if you have been up early, but you never know what you may find. The photo below is a great example of staying in the same area and keep exploring even though the golden morning light is not present anymore. It is actually beneficial to the photo to keep the color palette simple, as the photo is already quite complex with the many bubbles.

Shoot, Shoot, Shoot

The third tip is to keep shooting and point your camera towards anything that catches your attention. Even after years of experience, it is hard to judge in-field whether a photo works or not. Below you can see a before and after editing example. The before photo does not really look too interesting, but the scene caught my attention so I gave it a shot just to be sure. With a bit of editing, it turned out really well and is more in line with what I saw. Looking in hindsight this is one of my favorite photos from that morning.

Beneficial Light Is Better Than Good Light

I bet we have all heard about “good light.” However, good light is not everything. The two examples below where photographed at the same time but with about a 90 degrees difference. The vertical photo works quite well with the light hitting the mountains making some curves down the photo and having the waterfall as the focal point. The horizontal photo also has fantastic light that really shapes the landscape and emphasizes the weather but the scene lacks an interesting focal point and the lower left part is just empty boring space. Think of light as beneficial light to your scene more than just “great light”.

Gorgeous light hits the mountain sides in the Faroe Islands

Even more beautiful light but the scene lacks in interest.

Use the Seasons

Throughout the year nature changes and each season delivers new opportunities for beautiful photographs. I am the first to admit spring never really was my favorite season but I have come to appreciate it now. The number of flowers in the forest bed is amazing and the neon green beech trees look fantastic. Summer also delivers gorgeous optimistic scenery and late summer gives you heather. Autumn colors are already famous in landscape photography and winter comes with snow and frost. Even if winter does not deliver the typical winter mood maybe a storm or two passes by. There are of course many more examples throughout the year and it differs a lot from country to country.

A local forest full of wild garlic!

I show even more examples from each category in the above video so be sure to check it out. Let me know down below if these tips resonated with you.

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19 Comments

Tor-Ivar Næss's picture

Solid tips. I need to remind myself to shoot more 😀

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

You need a sports camera that shoots many frames per second ;)

Mikkel Beiter's picture

Great tips master Mads!

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

Haha thanks a lot, Mikkel!

Kawika Lopez's picture

1. Wait for summer
2. Go to Iceland and drive to highlands
3. Set camera to burst mode
4. Hold down shutter
5. Point your camera at literally anything

Jkjk. 😅 Great article. I just miss Iceland. 😔

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

Haha, you're not completely wrong ;)

Deleted Account's picture

Solid article. First and fourth points are definitely something I could learn from.

P.S. did a double take on the church when scrolling up, looks a bit Minecraft ;)

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

Hehe you're not the first to notice, also got a lot of comments about Lego ;)

Ciaran McGrenera's picture

Good tips Mads- and I love that shot with the bubbles!

Kai Hornung's picture

I would like to add, if you are at a stage where you master the camera and it does not master you: have a vision and follow your instincts.

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

That's a really nice tip :)

Adriano Brigante's picture

Here's my tip: Go back to that wild garlic spot in April (before there are flowers), take some young leaves (not too much, so the plants can regenerate the next year), and make a wild garlic pesto. It's absolutely delicious! 🙂👌

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

hehe, a lot of people do that actually :)

Tim Warner's picture

Some great shots and really good tips, thanks so much for sharing.

Hans Gunnar Aslaksen's picture

Super useful tips Mads :)

Robert Barr's picture

You are so right about shoot shoot and then shoot some more. I love the concept of “Beneficial” light. One of my favorite shots is of a Florida Prairie shot at high noon in glaring sunlight with bright white fair weather clouds against a deep blue sky. It goes against all the rules but that image has produce several prints that I really love.