Nature brings awe and reflection but it can be hard to know how to take beautiful landscape photos with your phone. Nowadays, there are so many opportunities to take breathtaking pictures with your smartphone.
The time spent taking scenic photos shouldn’t distract you from the stunning beauty. With cell phones so accessible and you can take an unlimited number of pictures. Sometimes our shots don’t turn out as good as we expect.
Below we will go over 10 tips for how to take the most beautiful landscape photos with your phone. These tips will help you take better pictures when you are traveling or outside.
Create the Most Beautiful Landscape Photos With Your Phone
1. Find the Best Exposure for Landscapes
Do you know how to adjust the exposure on your phone? If you don’t know that’s okay, it takes a second to learn. First, think about the last picture you took with your phone of a beautiful landscape. Have you taken a nature photo and realized that the sky in the background is washed out showing dull colors? Getting the right exposure is where the image is not too dark or too light and the colors are vibrant and clear.
How to Adjust the Exposure
Getting the most beautiful landscape photos with your phone is more than tap, focus, and shoot. You may also need to increase or decrease the exposure of the image. On the iPhone, the sun appears next to the focused area. Slide up or down on the image to adjust the exposure. With a Samsung, a light bulb appears at the bottom and you can slide from left to right to change the exposure.
2. Compose Your Shot
Rule of Thirds
Horizontal Lines: First, divide the image into thirds horizontally. It is more pleasing if the lines stay away from the center and are either on the top or the bottom third. When shooting sunsets make sure that the horizontal lines are on either the bottom or top third of the image. If the horizon line is in the very center then the image may look more flat.
Vertical Lines: To use the rule of thirds, look at the object in the image and the vertical placement. Often times we frame a subject in the center of the image. This makes it so the eye does not have a journey to discover. You will want to look at the vertical lines and place the subject in the left or right quadrant. It is best to place your subject on the left vertical line if you read from left to right. This will create a flow for your eye and it shows direction and movement.
Use Intersection Lines For Great Composure
Focus on the intersection of the vertical and horizontal lines. To make your image pleasing, place the subjects on the intersection of the lines. Your eyes will naturally go to one of the intersection points of the photo. Place the main subject on an intersection point to create balance, flow, and movement.
Balance Your Image
Balance is a rather vague term, but when you see an image that lacks balance it looks rather dull. A beautiful sky, mountains, and grass are all great features to a good picture. Balance creates the structure of the image.
Shape Structure. Creating balance requires looking at the picture in a simplistic view of shapes. By using triangles, rectangles, and squares you can create balance. Triangles are one of the most visually pleasing and easy ways to create balance.
Simplicity. As a photographer, we have to choose what we put in an image and simplicity creates a great photo. Often we want to capture too much and it can be confusing. We need to learn how to subtract the things we don’t need on the image. One of the easiest ways to create a simpler image is to frame your shot. Then look around the edges of the image for items that seem like they do not belong. Often, getting closer is a way to get a simpler shot.
3. Get the Horizon Straight
It seems easy to take a picture with a smartphone and get the horizon straight but many times it is easy to be off by a bit. What can you do when your image is almost straight? You can take the picture using the grid line feature on your phone. Also, you can edit the horizon after you have taken the shot.
Add Grid Lines
How to add grid lines with my Samsung?
- Add Grid in the Camera Mode
- Tap on Settings and scroll down to Grid Lines.
- Tap on the option and there are three options: off, 3×3, and square.
- Then choose the 3×3 option.
- The grid lines will come up each time you open the camera mode until you decide to turn it off.
How to add grid lines on my iPhone?
- Go into the settings app and tap on the Photo and Camera option.
- Toggle on the Grid option.
- Open up the camera mode to test to see if the gird is on.
Rotate the Image
If you take a photo with your phone and your beautiful landscape is still uneven you can rotate the image. You can do this in the native phone app by tapping on the edit button and then the crop or rotate button. Snapseed is an app for Android and iPhone that will also allow you to edit and rotate your photos.
4. Use a Tripod
If you want to take beautiful photos of landscapes with your phone you will definitely need a tripod. Here are a few things to look for when buying a tripod. First, is the size. With mobile photography size matters, the smaller the better. Joby makes a small tripod for your smartphone that is 7 inches long and can fit into any bag or purse. The GorillaPod comes with adjustable legs that balance on rocks or can wrap around a tree.
Next look for a sturdy tripod. When taking pictures outside something sturdy is important for balance. A cell phone could tip over and get scratched. The Manfrotto Pixi is one of the best small tripods. It is very sturdy and can even hold a regular digital camera without falling over.
5. Shoot at Dawn or Dusk
The best time to get out your phone and take a photo is 30 minutes before and after sunrise or sunset. To get a warm glow on your photos by taking landscape photos 30 min after sunrise and before sunset. During blue hour capture the clouds of the sunset 30 min after the sunsets.
6. Capture Water
Water adds majestic beauty to any photo. You can capture a stopped waterfall in motion or a stunning reflection of a mountain in silent water. To capture water in motion you will need a tripod to stop all motion.
On an iPhone you can take the photo using live photo or motion photo then choose the effects long exposure. This effect works well but may be blurry and out of focus in some areas.
On an Android, you can use pro mode or a manual mode app to increase the shutter speed to anywhere from 5-20 seconds. I recommend setting it at about 7-10 seconds. That gives the cell phone enough time to capture the motion but does not let in too much light.
7. Add a Lens
When taking landscape photos with your phone there is so much of the true beauty that is missing. With an add on lens, you can approximately double the field of view than that of a standard mobile phone. Olloclip creates one of the best lenses for taking the best photos with your phone. Olloclip lenses have high-quality optics that will improve your photos. Recently, Olloclip introduced the Multi Clip Ultra-Wide and Telephoto 2x Smartphone Camera Lens.
8. Add a Human
The tiny human landscape pictures are all around the internet, especially on Instagram. Begin by setting your phone on a rock to scope out a place to stand. Then set up a tripod with your phone to take the shot. Lastly, set the timer or use a remote to take the shot of you as the lone viewer in the beautiful landscape.
9. Capture the Sky
Underexpose the Image to Capture Clouds
Capturing clouds can set the mood from bright and warm to dark and moody. To create the most beautiful landscape photos with your phone you must properly expose the clouds. You may have to underexpose the image to get the clouds to pop. After you take the picture, brighten the landscape in an editing app like Snapseed. You can selectively edit the dark parts of the image.
Create a Time Lapse
To capture the sky in motion try doing a time-lapse of a set time. In time-lapse photography, an image is taken every few seconds. A 12-second time lapse can take 5-10 minutes to shoot. You will need a tripod and some time to create a great time lapse.
10. Venture Out
When taking landscape photos with your phone be creative. Try new angles to get great shots. Try framing with tree branches or flowers. Take lots and lots of pictures to find the best shot. Lastly, use editing apps to add the finishing touches on your photo and to make a stunning photo.
Learn how to take the most beautiful landscape photos with your phone with these tips. Next time you outside remember to tap to adjust the exposure and to steady your shot with a tripod. Also, the best time to shoot is at dawn or dusk. Venture out and try new angles. What adventures do you hope to capture this year? What other ways have you found to take beautiful landscape photography?
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