Everyone loves a good landscape photo. They can be dramatic, evocative, dreamy, desolate, wistful, and best of all, they let the viewer decide what to make of them. Whether you’re pointing your camera at a mountain range for the first time or you’ve been lugging lenses through the outback for decades, there’s always more you can learn to help you be a better, more confident photographer, with better, more dazzling photos. Regardless of where you are in your journey, these eleven top-notch tutorials will help you sharpen your skills and take your art where you want it to go.
Mastering the Shot
The first step in taking a great picture is, well, taking a great picture. Composition, lighting, depth, focus—where do you even start when it comes to laying out a perfect landscape shot?
1. Know Your Basics
This informative tutorial covers all the basic fundamentals of setting up a great landscape shot. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or just starting out, this is a great breakdown of key points to keep in mind that will take your photos from “meh” to amazing.
Click here for 13 Tips to Perfect Your Landscape Photography
2. Working With The Light
In a studio situation you get to control every aspect of your environment. Out in nature, the environment is whatever the world throws up in front of you. How can you master the techniques of light and shade when you have no control over them? This tutorial guides you through the process of using natural lighting to your advantage, so that it opens up creative doors rather than closes them.
Click here for How to Use Natural Light in Landscape Photography?
3. Color and Emotion
Think you're just stuck with whatever color the hill feels like that day? Think again. This tutorial is an in-depth guide to using color for emotional impact, the same way that a painter chooses a specific palette to set a certain mood. If you want your photos to feel like more than just pretty pictures, this guide is for you.
Click here for Emotional Impact of Color in Landscape Photography
4. Break The Rules, Blow Minds
Ok, so you already know all the rules. Great! Now it’s time to break them. There are lots of creative ways you can subvert the usual rules to create dynamic, surprising photographs, and this tutorial will open your eyes to some of the possibilities.
Click here for 9 Ways to Break the Rules for More Creative Images
Let’s be honest. There’s only so much sunshine and beautiful rolling hills a person can take. Half the fun of landscape photography is finding strange and unusual places under strange and unusual circumstances. These tutorials will guide you through those special but tricky scenarios when you want to dial up the drama without resorting to watching crime thrillers.
5. Chasing Lightning
Lightning is one of the most awesome and dramatic-looking natural phenomena out there, but it can also be incredibly tricky to photograph effectively. First there’s the (literally) lightning-quick reflexes needed just to hit the shutter on time, and that’s before you’ve even started trying to make it look good when it’s over. If lightning photography has previously enticed but also eluded you, this tutorial will give you the tools you need to get it perfect next time a storm blows into town.
Click here for Chasing Lightning Landscape Photography Tutorial
6. Dramatic Nightscapes
Anyone who’s ever tried to point an iPhone at the full moon (and don’t pretend that’s not you) knows that what the average camera sees and what your eye sees at night are very, very different versions of reality. Night photography can be a technical and challenging business, but when you get it right the results are more than worth it. In this incredibly comprehensive guide, Andrea Minola guides you through every aspect of shooting landscapes in the dark, from choosing your equipment to tweaking your final images, so that you too can wow your fans with your sparkling Milky Way panoramas.
Click here for The Ultimate Guide to Night Landscape Photography
Alright, you took some awesome pictures! Now what? Of course, in this day and age taking a great shot is only half the job. After that comes the sorting, the choosing, and of course, the post-production. You might prefer a more natural style or you might like to edit your photos to fantasy-fiction levels of unrecognizability. Regardless of your preference, these tutorials will help you take your choice photos from great to mind-blowing.
7. Blending Exposures for Clean, Awesome Results
It can be hard to get everything in one shot. If the clouds look great, the trees are black, if the trees look great, the sky is a washed out band of white. Blending different exposures is a great way to process all the best information from different images into one great-looking photo, but only if you do it cleanly enough that the final product actually looks like a single image, and not like a blurry sack of obvious Photoshopping and crushed dreams. There’s no point taking three almost-perfect pictures only to destroy them with bad post-production. This video walks you through the process so your next multiple exposure shot will look as good as the spectacular landscape it came from.
Click here for How to CLEANLY Blend 3 Exposures in Photoshop
8. The Ultimate Dramatic Lighting How-To
Remember that lighting thing we talked about earlier? Even if you got nearly perfect lighting in your original image, post-production editing can help you dial up the drama and make your images pop even more. In this example walk-through you’ll learn how to clean up your image to get rid of distracting elements while adding a level of depth and color that doesn’t come from the camera alone.
Click here for Landscape Photography: Example - The Road to Light
9. Creating Moody Images in Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Lightroom is an oft-neglected cousin of Photoshop, but it has a ton of potential for making spectacular photographs. This tutorial walks you through all the things you can do with Lightroom to create wonderfully moody landscape images.
Click here for Moody Landscape Tutorial in Adobe Lightroom
The Fancy Stuff
Alright, if you’ve gotten this far, you’re probably ready for the advanced stuff, so here we go. These require a little bit of everything—some planning, some preparation, some extra shots, and a healthy dose of digital tinkering after the event. But the results are stunning, and that’s what you’re here for, right?
10. Perfect Panoramas
Panoramas are a great way to create a vast sense of space within a single photograph. If you want to create clean, sharp, and visually dazzling panoramas, this tutorial will guide you through everything you need to know.
Click here for The Ultimate Guide to Panoramic Photography
11. The Sharpest Images with Focus Stacking
The beauty of the digital age is that we are no longer beholden to the same limitations that dictated the rules of good photography in the age of film. Even so, many of those standards continue to be upheld despite the fact that we have more options now. If it bothers you that having to focus at one depth means every other depth will be slightly out of focus even at the smallest aperture, if you crave crisp detail on every plane of your image, if you refuse to live in a world where you have to choose between foreground and background, this tutorial is for you. In it photographer Max Foster takes you through focus stacking from beginning to end, a technique where you can blend different images at different focus depths into one photo that is as crisp as an October morning from the closest blade of grass all the way to the farthest mountain peak. Ah, peace at last.
Click here for Focus Stacking for Landscape Photography