If you have ever been in the midst of nature you know this – there is no capturing its magnificence. What you also know though is that you just cannot resist from pulling out your camera and giving it a shot. The unfortunate bit is, you will excitedly scroll through all the pictures you just took. And it is very likely that you will not be satisfied with even one of them. You lift your head up and look at nature’s surreal reality and you look down at your photo gallery to be disappointed again.
There is a way out of this circle. No, we are not saying that you stop taking landscape pictures altogether. What we suggest is to up the ante and learn to take better photos.
How to get started?
If you are a beginner, there is no place to start but the beginning. Acquaint yourself with the basics of photography like aperture and shutter speed, ISO and resolution. You will also need to equip yourself with some basic knowledge about gear that you might want to use like say lenses, filters and meters. With that you can move on to rules of composition – the proportions of various elements in a frame that work and how you can use that knowledge to lead the viewer’s eye to the most important part of your photograph.
Don’t let this overwhelm you. There are tons of guides out there that will take you through all of this without much ado. They use simple language and simplify the technicalities in easy to grasp and retain bits. You can test your knowledge and learn by trial and error by taking photos right in your backyard.
If you are a professional, these same guides might just serve as a good brush-up with useful little trouble-shooting tricks and quick fixes.
Where to shoot?
With this confidence in hand you are ready to step out and look for different types of sceneries. A good place to start would be with the list of places that you have always wanted to visit, and more importantly always wanted to photograph – be it the brook in your neighbourhood or the River Amazonia. But worry not if you fall short of ideas. There is always the internet. You will find loads and loads of ideas for landscape photography.
In fact, you can even go a step further. Once you pick a place to go to, you can lookup the details and you will be surprised at what you find. For example, look at this guide specifically for landscape photography in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Certainly, you don’t want to miss out on the nooks and corners to get great pictures after having gone all that way. This is some thing even the most professional of photographers can benefit from.
What to shoot?
After having learnt and applied so much, it is only natural that you don’t want “run of the mill” photographs once you are on location. There are many ways to stand out with your landscape photography. You could incorporate external elements like say branch of a tree in the foreground. Or you could optimally use contrasting colors, reflections and shadows to make the viewers go “wow!” Another way to catch and keep attention is to capture movement in nature – like the serenity of flowing water or the vigor of high tide waves, the swaying of leaves in forests or the flight of a bird. Don’t feel lost if you can’t find your way around. There are e-books at your service to pave your way through all the possibilities.
When to shoot?
If you don’t know already, soon enough you learn, that light becomes of utmost importance in landscape photography. Maybe after wildlife photography and sports photography, landscape photography is a game of waiting. Waiting for it to be that time of the day when the light is best, waiting for it to be that season of the year that captures the essence, waiting for the weather to cooperate. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get some of these out of the equation and make beautiful pictures even in the worst situations?
Yes again, there are e-books which will allow you take things in your control and manipulate light and color in a way that will be the most advantageous to you. Come sunshine or rain, you don’t have to keep yourself in. There is a way to make the most of it and yet get great pictures.
Who to learn from?
You might read all the guides on the internet, but until it comes from the horse’s mouth, it comes with a pinch of salt. So, lookup and read interviews from the who’s who of landscape photography. They have pearls of wisdom for obvious topics like, technicalities and techniques of landscape photography, to the more difficult to find business angle. They tell you about getting more prospective clients attracted to your work and they talk about cutting costs.
Of course, no one can keep photographers from talking about the use of filters and the like which can only be of interest to the landscape photographer in you. In additions, you could find ways to grapple with unique situations like shooting in cold places or learn how to build captivating stories with your images.
What to leave out?
Like any skill set worth its salt, landscape photography also is a lot about what not to do. It is so much of what you mask from the viewer. While your first wish is always going to be to capture it perfectly from the word go, more often than not you will find yourself making corrections on a photo editing tool like Photoshop. The harsh truth is that digital manipulation of images make them more attractive. Interestingly, landscape photography has editing tools unique to itself that you can learn and apply.
Yes, it will be hard work. Yes, it will take time. Yes, it will need practice. The good news is that you have tools at your disposal to make it that much easier for you. With these tips, techniques and your creativity there will be loads for you to be proud of. At the end of it all you will be looking at breathtaking pictures of mind-blowing sceneries. And they won’t be postcards you bought. They will be pictures you took.
This was a guest port by Amruta from PhotoWhoa