08.07.2014

7 Tips For Better iPhone Landscape Photos

08.07.2014

7 Tips For Better iPhone Landscape Photos

7 Tips For Better iPhone Landscape Photos

Have you ever tried to capture a breathtaking view with your iPhone only to be disappointed by the resulting photo? It turns out that simply taking a snapshot of an incredible view is not enough to create a great landscape photo, and even the most beautiful landscapes can end up looking plain and boring in your photos if they’re not captured correctly.

However, there are certain techniques that you can use to really take your iPhone landscape photography to the next level, and in this article you’re going learn these techniques.

7 Tips For Better iPhone Landscape Photos

1. Take Time to Compose Your Photos

One of the things that separates landscape photography from other photography genres is that you have a lot more time as the scene never changes quickly. Use that time wisely – don’t just take quick snapshots or you won’t be getting anything more than snapshots out of your photos.

You want to put a lot of thought and effort into finding a great photography angle, creating a harmonious composition, and adjusting the framing to make sure everything is exactly right.

7 Tips For Better iPhone Landscape Photos

While the river scene in the photo above is naturally beautiful, I was only able to create a great composition because of how much time and effort I put into finding the right spot for my tripod, adjusting the tripod, and finding the perfect framing that includes everything that needs to be included while cutting out everything else. Don’t rush your landscape photos – take your time!

2. Have a Distinct Subject in Your Landscape Photos

Your subject is the most important part of the photo. It’s what the eye sees first when looking at a photo, and it’s what you’re taking a photo of. All your landscape photos should have at least one distinct subject, preferably one that makes your photo stand out. If you don’t have a clear subject in mind when taking a photo, ask yourself, “What is it that I’m taking a photo of?” If you don’t know answer to that question, you probably shouldn’t be taking that photo.

7 Tips For Better iPhone Landscape Photos

Landscape photography subjects can range from huge mountains to small rocks as long as they stand out in the photo. For example, in the photo above the two strongest subjects are the large orange rock at the top right and the smaller rock at the bottom left. Even ordinary subjects like trees can create great landscape photos, but you should always have at least one subject.

7 Tips For Better iPhone Landscape Photos

3. Show Depth in Your Landscape Photos

Instead of being flat, the best landscape photos are immersive and show depth. This can often be counterintuitive, but to create a good landscape photo you want to focus not only on the beautiful view in the background, but also on any relevant subjects in the foreground.

7 Tips For Better iPhone Landscape Photos

In this example we have important subjects in the foreground (trees on the left), in the middle ground (the large orange rock) and in the background (the river extending into the distance). By showing important subjects at all three levels, this photo becomes a lot more immersive.

4. Use Roads Extending Into the Distance 

Another great way to make your landscape photos more immersive and powerful is to include a road extending from the foreground into the background. Our eyes naturally tend to follow such roads, which is why these roads literally invite us to explore the contents of the photo.

7 Tips For Better iPhone Landscape Photos

5. Use a Tripod for Sharper Landscape Photos

Since landscape photography gives you more time than other genres of photography, it’s often a great idea to take landscape photos using a tripod, which allows you to take sharper photos and also use some advanced iPhone camera techniques that we’re going to talk about next.

While any tripod can be used with the iPhone, for landscape photography I recommend getting a serious tripod that will keep your iPhone steady even on wet rocks or ice. I use Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod with Manfrotto 804RC2 tripod head, but there are certainly other options.

You’ll also need a way to attach your iPhone to the tripod, and one easy way to do that is using this iPhone bumper from Manfrotto Klyp+ iPhone photography product line.

6. Use HDR Photography

Most landscape photos can be greatly enhanced if you use HDR photography. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and it’s a photography technique in which multiple exposures of the same photo are digitally combined into one well-exposed photograph.

To show you what I mean, let’s compare two versions of the same photo – one captured without HDR (the first photo) and the other one captured with HDR turned on (the second photo).

7 Tips For Better iPhone Landscape Photos

7 Tips For Better iPhone Landscape Photos

In the non-HDR photo the sky is mostly overexposed, and there is practically no detail in the clouds, while in the HDR photo both the sky and the rest of the scene are properly exposed.

To use HDR on your iPhone, simply turn on the HDR switch in the native Camera app of your iPhone. If you want to create a stronger HDR effect as seen in the following photo, you can also  use ProHDR, which is an app that’s specifically designed for taking HDR photos.

7 Tips For Better iPhone Landscape Photos

7. Use Long Exposure Photography

Often the most beautiful landscapes also feature bodies of water, and whenever there’s moving water, you can create excellent long exposure photos with your iPhone. Long exposure allows you to blur out any movement of water to create a beautiful dreamy look as seen below.

7 Tips For Better iPhone Landscape Photos

You need two things to take landscape photos with your iPhone – a tripod and Slow Shutter Cam app, which allows you to take long exposure photos. Check out this iPhone long exposure photography tutorial to learn more about this exciting iPhone photography technique.

Emil Pakarklis

About the author: Emil Pakarklis is the founder of iPhonePhotographySchool.com, a website about taking better photos with iPhone. If you want to improve your iPhone photos, visit iPhoneography 101, which is a resource Emil created for everyone who wants to start taking better photos with iPhone.

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