Tips for a perfect mountain photoshoot
Mountain landscape photography is not an easy genre. It’s suited for people who are well prepared both physically and psychologically, as sometimes you will have to move through difficult, steep terrain over fairly long distances.
Are you confident in your own abilities and want to try your hand at this genre of photography? Then we have a few tips on how to photograph mountains just for you!
When you take pictures of mountains, achieving the right exposure is more difficult than it may seem. An underexposed photo will be too dark, and an overexposed photo will be too light. To get high-quality shots, you have to find the correct ratio of three important settings: ISO, shutter speed, and aperture.
Since there are few moving objects in the mountains, usually it’s enough to set low ISO, between 100 and 400. In case you need to get a brighter shot, set it higher, but be careful: you can get “grainy” photos as the result.
When shooting landscapes and still objects, you should use a long shutter speed to get a bright and clear shot. In addition, if you capture moving clouds, they will get a soft blurry look in the picture. Long shutter speed may also be useful when shooting in low-light conditions, such as at twilight.
It affects how sharp or blurry the image will come out. To capture everything without an excessive blur, use a small aperture, from 8 to 11. To highlight one object and make the background more blurry, it’s better to use a larger aperture.
Equipment: it’s not just a camera
Shooting outdoors is more tricky than indoors. The camera settings alone won’t produce the best results and you may need some extra gear. The following items are often used for the mountain photoshoot.
If you’re going to use a long shutter speed for longer periods of time, your hands will quickly get tired, in which case a tripod will be of help. Note that it must be strong and heavy, otherwise you risk breaking the camera if the weather is unfavorable and there are strong winds.
The most common lens for shooting flat landscapes is a wide-angle lens. However, telephoto lenses also prove to be useful, since they can reduce the perspective, which helps you take amazingly beautiful pictures of mountain ranges and chains.
- Ultraviolet (UV) – using this filter is simply indispensable, since the UV level increases as you climb higher, which negatively affects the quality and color of photos. Also, this filter can be used as a protection.
- Neutral density (ND) – they help to increase exposure in bright daylight, when you want to make the shot more dynamic, for example, by softening the water or blurring the clouds.
- Gradient – use them to make the brightness of the frame more even. They can also be used in combination with other gradient filters of different density to achieve various visual effects.
As the camera’s charge drains faster in cold weather, make sure you have several additional batteries with you.
And, of course, don’t forget to take clothes that protect both from rain and cold, because the weather is changeable in the mountains.
Ideas: how to get interesting shots?
The mountains are high, aren’t they? Try to capture their height by taking photos from the lower points. If other people happen to get into the frame, the size will be emphasized even more!
Pay attention to the time of the day! During the “golden hour” you’ll be able to get landscape photos with pleasant, warm undertones.
Also, if there are layered mountains in your area, don’t miss the chance to take beautiful pictures of ridges fading into the horizon.
However, as mentioned before, the weather in the mountains is changeable and you never know exactly how things will look when you get to the shooting. Don’t worry if the photos won’t come out perfect, as you can always fix it with post-shooting editing. But at the same time, be ready to adjust and experiment on the spot – sometimes you can get unusual photos purely by accident!