Where should you focus when taking a Landscape photo? - landscape photography tips

Typically, but not always, you will want to keep as much of the image in focus as possible and this means selecting a small aperture (large number) to ensure that you end up with a wide depth of field. This will help to ensure that close and far away parts of the image are in focus.

These stunning images are by Colin Mill

See how he does it in this Landscape images, tips and camera settings video
But at what part of the scene should you actually focus on?

My guess is that when taking a landscape photo, many people would set the focus point to around the middle of the scene, or even at the horizon, but that’s not the best place to focus.

As a general rule you should focus in the lower half of the frame, about a third of the way in to the scene. But this is only a general rule and you might want to ignore it if the scene has a particular point of interest in it that isn't around the third area. However if your landscape shot doesn’t have one specific point of interest it's probably a rule worth using.

landscape focusing www.colinemill.co.uk
In general, if you focus too far into the scene, chances are you’ll end up with objects in the distance nice and sharp but anything close to you noticeably out of focus. If you focus at the lower third you increase the depth of field in the foreground and as depth of field extends further behind a focal point than in front of it, the distant objects will be reasonably sharp too.

There’s quite a lot of debate and technical discussions around this issue and in actual fact correct focus depends on many factors including the focal length of your lens, whether you’re shooting in portrait or landscape orientation, the aperture you’re using and how far the scene extends away from you.
Having said that, it’s a useful ‘rule’ to know and a good starting point when shooting landscapes. Whether you focus exactly on the third way point probably doesn’t matter that much, no need to get out a tape measure! But the key is not to focus on the horizon but closer to you.