What makes for great landscape photography? For starters, being in the right time and place is the key. While adequate planning and a wealth of experience will help you create a stunning image, a little bit of luck also goes a long way. However, truly atmospheric and magical moments are usually dependent on the weather.

Whether the sky is dark and gloomy or bright with streaks of sunshine, you will have plenty of opportunity to portray the atmosphere at its best! The right mood will not only bring out the setting, but it makes you feel as if you were right there, in that photo. So here are three different scenarios and moods that are perfect for capturing stunning landscape photography.

How To Ace The Mood In Landscape Photography 123RF Blog - Palm tree silhouette

Pick the best time and place

Before diving into the details of capturing the right mood, let’s get the basics sorted. Lighting plays a massive role in landscape photography. As different light and conditions evoke different moods. If you are looking for sunrise images, then be sure to check out the sunrise time ahead of schedule. In addition, scouting the location in advance is not a bad idea. Especially useful if the conditions are the same for shoot days, this allows you to figure out the best vantage point to capture that million-dollar image.

How To Ace The Mood In Landscape Photography 123RF Blog - Autumn forest landscape

1. Sunrise and Sunset

How To Ace The Mood In Landscape Photography 123RF Blog  - Beautiful sunset over ocean

The time just after sunrise and before sunset is better known as golden hour. The sun’s low position makes for dramatic photography as it creates beautiful color radiating from under the clouds. In addition, the angle of the sun’s rays which are softer and longer covers everything in a beautiful glow. Thus, making it perfect for capturing landscape photography with an ethereal dreamlike mood.

To give your images an added warmth, select the cloudy or shade white balance settings. Using a tripod also helps, as shutter speeds are slower at dawn & dusk so you will need extra support. Finally, the built in horizon feature in your DSLR is useful when shooting in low light.

How To Ace The Mood In Landscape Photography 123RF Blog - Tropical sunset on the beach

2. Misty Mornings

How To Ace The Mood In Landscape Photography 123RF Blog - Trail through a mysterious dark old forest in fog

Mist is a landscape photographer’s dream. During clear mornings, the sun’s rays pierces through the mist and adds an magical touch to your image. Meanwhile, during cloudy mornings, the fog takes on a darker tone, adding a mysterious feel to the photo. Bear in mind that when the sun is low in the sky with beautifully diffused light, you may choose to shoot towards it. This reduces the intensity of the picture and makes for an amazing background, courtesy of the foggy scene.

Whatever the mood may be, just be sure to act swiftly as the mist could disappear within the blink of an eye. To get the most from your misty images, head up a hill. The low-lying mist looks best viewed from above, with the trees and buildings rising above the layers. If you are looking to add some depth, consider adding a foreground subject as a primary focal point. Above all, avoid using the auto white balance on your camera settings. Allow for the lovely blue hue to naturally shine.

How To Ace The Mood In Landscape Photography 123RF Blog - Early morning fog over mountain peaks

3. Stormy Skies

How To Ace The Mood In Landscape Photography 123RF Blog - Dramatic stormy sky at night

Turbulent weather is capable of producing amazing images. It is the best condition for shooting mood and drama. Threatening rain clouds over an imposing mountain range certainly creates a dramatic backdrop. Here, timing is the key. Imagine a sky of stormy clouds, and suddenly, a gap of sunlight immediately bursts through and illuminates the surrounding. Thus, creating a spectacular image as the mood changes from gloomy to heavenly. Throw in a voice over of Morgan Freeman, and you possibly have an opening scene for Hollywood blockbuster.  

If luck happens to be on your side, you might capture a rainbow. Just be sure to use a polarized filter as it enhances the colors. Additionally, watch out for the weather forecast. The best time to capture a gorgeous image will be when there is a chance of thunderstorms and sunshine together.

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Great landscape photography should ignite an emotional response from your viewers and enable them to connect with the image. Feelings of loneliness, blissfulness or serenity should resonate within them. However, the most vital aspect in capturing the perfect mood rests heavily on choosing the right place and time.

For more photography inspiration check out Jenna Martin’s captivating aquatic image series.  Additionally, find out more on the basis of photography and get the most out of your camera.