6 Most Popular Types of Landscape Photography

#1: Seascape Photography

The sea, and water in general, offers one of the better locations to get stunning images. By contrasting the water with something in the foreground–such as a dramatic landscape–you show both the calm and the aggressive actions of nature, and the transition from earth to sea.

You also have many creative options, such as using longer shutter times to blur the action of the water. Or, you could use a filter to cut out glare or help average out the difference between the sky and the sea. Really, you’re only limited by your own creativity when taking images of the sea.

You’ll also want to understand camera settings for photographing the water. You’ll need to understand the impact of different aperture, shutter, and ISO settings on the available light and the motion of the water. You can use your camera metering modes to help you get the perfect exposure.

It may also help to think about the images you want and the type of light that will be available. For example, if you know you want a sunrise or sunset shot then you can prepare in advance for those light conditions.

#2: Mountain Photography

Mountain landscape photography is another favorite. But, one of the challenges with this type of landscape is that you and your gear may have to hike for a distance to get the images you want. That means you’ll want to minimize the gear you have to bring. You’ll need at least one good lens, a lightweight tripod, and you’ll want to bring extra batteries and memory cards.

A good, affordable workhorse lens for mountain photography is a 50mm f/1.8G. Nikon makes one that’s lightweight and very versatile. It produces extremely sharp images, and has a focal length that allows you to get creative with your images. You can photograph minute details of a tree, for example, or wider shots of the surrounding landscape.

#3: Forest Photography

Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees, and that’s the challenge for the forest landscape photographer. There’s a lot going on in a forest, but when you start to think about the lines created by the trees and the play of the light in the forest, you can get some pretty spectacular shots.

For example, you can use the interplay of light and shadows to create various moods. As the light shines through the leaves of the trees, you get many interesting patterns, and if you take advantage of those, you will be rewarded with some stunning images.

Another tip is seek out contrast and color. For example, the bright colors of changing leaves in the fall. You can also get dramatic images by photographing the trail through the woods, and using the shadows to your advantage.

#4: Cloudscape Photography

As far photography niches go, this one’s kind of an acquired taste, but by exploring the vastness of the sky, you can capture some wondrous images. To do that, you’ll definitely need your tripod, and a shutter release cable will help as well so that you don’t even have to touch the camera to take the shot. If you don’t have one, you can always set your camera’s timer to automatically take the shot after 2 seconds.

You’ll also probably want a polarizing filter to help improve the contrast between the clouds. You’ll also want to have a good understanding of the different, and somewhat unique, light conditions when photographing clouds. You might have, for example, the sun shining out from behind a cloud and creating both rays of light as well as powerful, vivid colors. To capture those kinds of conditions, you’ll likely want to set your camera to aperture priority mode, use an f stop between f/11 and f/32 to get a larger depth of field, and use a wide angle lens. This will let you make the best of the lighting conditions and capture those nuances as well.

#5: Astrophotography

This niche is growing in interest, but it definitely presents challenges. To photography this type of landscape, you’ll definitely need a tripod and shutter release cable since any level of camera shake will blur your image.

You’ll also want to frame the night sky with a dramatic foreground. If you don’t have some spectacular landscape scenery to put in the foreground, you can use your own silhouette.

You’ll also definitely need a good understanding of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings, because you will certainly be working in reduced light settings. And, you’ll need to adjust your focus.

If you want clear stars, you’ll need a shutter speed of 15 seconds or less. You’ll need to open your aperture as wide as possible (i.e., the lowest f stop setting), and your ISO setting will need to be as high as possible without adding more noise. It will need to be 6,400 or higher if you’re looking to capture the cloudy appearance of the Milky Way, for example. And, to improve the clarity of the images, set your focus as far out as it will go, and then step it back just a bit.

#6: Panorama Photography

Some call this wide format photography, and it is a common technique for landscape photography. The idea here is that you’re taking several photographs and stitching them together. It can produce incredible images, but the challenge is to get the photographs just right in your camera.

Your camera may have a setting that allows you to start with one photograph and then move left or right to capture the images that will be stitched together. The trick is to keep your camera level as you move it right or left. If you lift it up, even just a little, the landscape won’t come together at the right place in the final image.