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3 Exposure Tips for Landscape Photography

Get better exposure with these simple techniques.

By: Alexandra MacRae + Save to a List

Heading out to a beautiful wilderness setting with just your pack and a DSLR seems like a recipe for frame-worthy landscape photos. But sometimes you get back home and find that you have plenty of photos that are for the most part uninspired, or poorly lit. Here are some tips to combat the common downfalls of landscape photography, and to capitalize on nature's photographic helpers:

1. Plan Ahead 

Photographer Neville Elder suggests taking the time to stake out your location before you visit to take photos. This can be done by using Google Earth to find spots along a hiking trail, or in a national park that you'd like to shoot when you visit. Schedule these stops at logical positions along your journey, coordinating them with your natural rest stops and taking the time to set up your shots before you begin. Leave some room for inspiration along the way, but for the most part, planning out your main shots in advance will result in better photos. 

2. Incident Light Meter 

Use an incident light meter when photographing subjects that are particularly light or dark, to avoid under or overexposure. Most cameras today provide this feature, but it can hard to judge when you're out on a shoot in the wilderness. Utilizing a meter will help to balance out your exposure. 

3. Magic Hour 

This time of day, shortly after sunrise and before sunset is given that name for a reason; the natural features of the light at this hour provide so many benefits to your photos at once, it's like magic! With the sun so low on the horizon, the light is distributed much more evenly, and takes on a golden hue as opposed to blue. Make sure you're prepared in advanced to get to any locations you want to shoot at this time of day, you don't want to be scrambling and lose precious time during magic hour!

Check out the informative illustrations below for more tips, including bracketing exposures and making use of the sunny 16 rule. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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