At current, most of my landscape shots are tourist-like and very generic. How can I take photographs which are more interesting without using the cliché technique of long exposure landscape photography?

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Too vague. Answers to this question have filled many books. Take a look at the faq for some tips on how to ask better/more appropriate questions here. This question would be helped quite a lot if you could be much more specific. Consider posting a couple of the photos that you consider 'boring' and ask for ideas about how to make them better. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Jan 3, 2013 at 15:13
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ It is very broad, but I'll take 15 of these over one more "What's the best cheap camera?" \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Jan 3, 2013 at 16:36
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Are you really asking about a fast shutter speed, or just a normal one? Is it necessary for you to shoot landscapes at 1/2000th for some reason? Or would 1/250 be fine? I think you need to quantify fast. I know you aren't interested in multiple second exposures though. If 1/250 is fine, I think this question should be edited to ask about "normal" speeds, not fast. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Jan 3, 2013 at 17:35
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Or "without resorting to long exposure for interest". \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Jan 3, 2013 at 17:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user14385: I think you need to expound upon your goals here. People don't seem to fully understand what you mean by a "fast" shutter speed, or why you necessarily want a fast shutter speed. Are you aiming for some kind of specific style? Are you just trying to differentiate your work from others? Is there something you don't like about longer exposures, and why? It is difficult to answer vague questions like this, so more information would be very helpful. \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Jan 4, 2013 at 19:20

3 Answers 3


You say your photos are too tourist-like. So, try avoiding taking pictures the way tourists usually do:

  • using a wide-angle focal length around 28mm (35mm equivalent)
  • with small aperture and/or sensor
  • from eye height
  • trying to frame as much of the view as possible
  • not trying out different views
  • at a place where tourists usually go
  • single frames wherever it happens feels beautiful
  • whenever you happen to get there
  • not researching the area beforehand

Instead, try using:

  • ultra-wide or telephoto lenses
  • larger apertures, a large sensor
  • alternative heights for your camera (crouching, climbing up somewhere)
  • framing and composition to bring out what's so special about the view
  • different views from the same place to choose from afterwards
  • scouted out locations off from regular paths
  • several pictures connecting into a story
  • timing your shooting for the best light coming from an angle you need (e.g. golden hour, weather that carries the mood you need)
  • researching the area beforehand (this might mean you have to visit same place multiple times before you get a shot close to full potential of a spot)
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Try out The Photographer's Ephemeris! Most tourists aren't going to dabble in that! \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Jan 3, 2013 at 17:37

Landscape photographers only photograph for half an hour a day, 15 minutes in the dawn and 15 minutes in the dusk. If you want to get the same pictures as they do, you have to wait for the light.

However, you can still improve your images beyond tourist snaps if you want to photograph landscapes at other times:

  • Use a wide angle lens
  • Use a small aperture (and perhaps a tripod), to get a DOF that makes everything sharp
  • Get closer to the ground (you don't see tourists crawling on the ground to photograph landscapes)

For some of those you can also try the opposite, i.e. a really wide aperture, or climbing up to get a different angle.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Please don't climb things dangerously to get the shot! cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57559011/… I also like your tip about 15mins. The midday is when landscape photographers sleep, or drink! \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Jan 3, 2013 at 17:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Midday is perfectly fine with an IR camera. \$\endgroup\$
    – Imre
    Jan 3, 2013 at 18:56

Imre mentioned Framing and Composition, and I'd like to expand on it. The single biggest improvement I made to my landscape photography is when I'd read about including something from the foreground to give your composition a feeling of depth. So way the 'tourists' may take a picture of a mountain lake with the water and the mountains behind, try to include something nearer to the camera in the frame, maybe a fallen log on the near shore line, or an interesting rock formation or flowers in the corner of the frame. You need to remember that this object is not the key element of the shot, but more of something to guide the viewer's eyes into the shot.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.