1. Learn to hold your camera properly

This may sound obvious, but many new photographers don’t hold their camera correctly, which causes camera shake and blurry images. Tripods are of course the best way to prevent camera shake, but since you won’t be using a tripod unless you’re shooting in low light situations, it’s important to hold your camera properly to avoid unnecessary movement.

While you’ll eventually develop your own way of holding the camera, you should always hold it with both hands. Grip the right side of the camera with your right hand and place your left hand beneath the lens to support the camera.

2. Start shooting in RAW

The closer you keep the camera to your body, the stiller you’ll be able to hold it. If you need extra stability you can lean up against a wall or crouch down on your knees, but if there’s nothing to lean on, adopting a wider stance can also help.

RAW is a file format like jpeg, but unlike jpeg, it captures all the image data recorded by your camera’s sensor rather than compressing it. When you shoot in RAW you’ll not only get higher quality images but you’ll also have far more control in post-processing. For instance, you’ll be able to correct such as over or underexposure and adjust things like color temperature, white balance, and contrast.

One downside to shooting in RAW is that the files take up more space. Additionally, RAW photos always need some post-processing so you’ll need to invest in photo editing software.

Ultimately, however, shooting in RAW can transform the quality of your images, so if you have the time and space, it’s definitely worth it. If you’re not sure how to switch from jpeg to RAW, check your camera’s manual for detailed instructions.

3. Understand the exposure triangle

Although it can seem a bit hard at first, the exposure triangle simply refers to the three most important elements of exposure; ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. When you’re shooting in manual mode, you’ll need to be able to balance all three of these things in order to get sharp, well-lit photos.

ISO: ISO controls the camera’s sensitivity to light. A low ISO setting means the camera will be less sensitive to light, while a higher ISO means it will be more sensitive to light. An ISO setting of 100 to 200 is usually ideal when shooting outdoors during the day, but when shooting in low light situations, such as indoors or at night, a higher ISO of 400 to 800 or higher might be necessary.

4. Avoid Bullseye

When composing your photo, throw things off-center on purpose. Use the “rule of thirds,” which imagines your photo divided into a three-by-three grid, with the horizon and important elements of the photo found within or along the lines of that grid

5. Less Is More

Simplify your photos. Pick out the most important element you see and focus in on it

6. Add a Human touch

Humans are part of the landscape, so don’t be afraid to include them in your outdoor photos. People add scale, personality, and interest to landscape photography. Run ahead on the trail and take photos of hikers facing the camera rather than walking away.