Must-Have Tips for Landscape Photography With a Smartphone

Must-Have Tips for Landscape Photography With a Smartphone

Ten years ago, I don’t think any of us would have dreamt that today we’d be talking about taking high-quality landscape photos with our phones.

But that’s the reality, and if you ask me, I think it’s pretty awesome!

Sure, my iPhone 7 isn’t going to be as useful to me for professional shoots as my Nikon D810, but in many situations, my iPhone will do the trick.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few things that can be done to improve those smartphone photos, though.

Get a Lens

Camera lenses in smartphones have come a long, long way, especially in the last five years or so as people have demanded that their phones be good cameras, too.

But even as native camera lenses have improved, they still aren’t as useful and they don’t have the variety of angles of view as add-on lenses have.

That’s why I picked up the clip-on lens you see above and below.

This little guy is made by Kenko from high-quality, fine-processed glass that results in clear, sharp landscape photos. There’s no image degradation. No weird colors or shadows.

That’s because this lens clips directly onto your phone’s lens, creating a tight seal that helps minimize light leaks. And since it’s a clip-on, you don’t have to worry about buying attachments, and you can use it on various phones and tablets, too.

Beyond that, I appreciate the fact that Kenko gives you two lenses in one.

On the one hand, you can use the 0.65x wide-angle lens to capture wide vistas and shots of grand scenes with a 120-degree field of view.

Then you can unscrew the wide-angle element and use the macro element to get close-up shots of flowers, insects, and other smaller features you find in the landscape.

This Kenko lens even works as a kickstand, so if you find an opportunity to take a selfie or a group portrait while you’re out photographing the beauty of nature, this lens will help you do that, too.

It even comes with lens caps, a cleaning cloth, chain clip, and a carrying pouch, so you’re all set to start shooting right from the get go.

I love my iPhone, and I’ve taken some great photos with it. But with my Kenko lens, I’ve taken even better photos, which is why I highly recommend upgrading your smartphone lens with one of these bad boys!

Get Low to Incorporate Foreground Elements

Sometimes, when confronted with a beautiful landscape, it’s hard not to focus so much on the beauty of what’s beyond your reach.

For example, the mountains in the shot above are incredibly eye-catching and are certainly worthy of commanding our attention.

But by neglecting elements in the scene that are closer to you, namely, in the foreground, you miss an opportunity to create a more compelling shot.

Think about it like this – the foreground is like a welcome mat to your image. It should help grab the viewer’s attention and invite them into the shot, helping move their eye upward and deeper into the scene.

You can see this concept in action in the image above.

By taking a lower shooting position, this photographer was able to incorporate the rocks, flowers, and other foreground elements.

Doing so creates an image that has more visual appeal, for one, and secondly, the image has much more varied subject matter to hold our interest.

There’s textures, shapes, and patterns, colors, and elements that are sharply in focus and others that are blurry.

That makes this image one that has a greater feeling of dimension, and if you ask me, one that’s also more successful than the previous shot.

Slow Things Down

We’re all in such a hurry these days that we can’t seem to slow things down for a moment and enjoy what’s in front of us.

When it comes to photography, I think mobile phones haven’t helped this problem, but instead exacerbate it.

It’s just too easy to pull our phones out of our pockets, snap a photo, and move on.

But taking that sort of fast approach to landscape photography isn’t going to do your images any favors.

By taking your time – even just a few seconds longer – you can more effectively frame the shot, get the horizon straight, check the corners for distracting elements, and ensure that you’ve placed the subject well within the image.

What’s more, taking a little more time allows you to experiment with different angles and perspectives to create landscape photos that are more creative and unique.

Of course, slowing things down also allows you to actually enjoy the landscape before you rather than rushing from one spot to the next.

So, with that in mind, challenge yourself to take one minute for each shot you take. Get your phone out, look for different ways to portray the scene, find foreground interest to include, and use an add-on lens to help you capture the scene more effectively.

These are quick and simple tips, but they can have a tremendous impact on the quality of the landscape photos you take!