In the following article, we will guide you through the first steps giving you some helpful tips so to master the art of landscape photography.
We will cover the basics of lenses, composition, and scouting.
What is the right lens for the job?
The first crucial step towards mastering the art of photography in any field, and so also with landscape photography is understanding the lenses you need to get the result you aspire.
Probably if you are not completely new to photography, you will recall the concept that you need a wide-angle lens to capture a beautiful landscape.
Although this is not always true since the choice of the lens is strongly tied to the result you want, and to the concept, you have about “what is a landscape?”, we will guide you through the choice of your first lens dedicated to landscape photography.
If you are going to buy a new lens, we suggest you look for a wide-angle zoom lens, a lens that gives you the opportunity not only to capture a wide landscape but also to zoom in a bit so to compress the image a bit and be able to convey emotions you wouldn’t be able to capture otherwise.
Two perfect examples of a lens you should have with you when you decide to explore landscape photography are these two lenses shown below.
The choice between these two lenses are hard, but keep in mind that buying a lens is an investment for the future as well.
Yes, for sure you can find cheaper lenses but when you buy a lens, you want to ensure that in ten or twenty years it will still be as sharp and fast as when you first mounted it on your camera body.
If you still have doubts about all the different types of lenses, consider reading our post about lenses [Lenses Explained].
How to nail the Composition.
Once you have chosen the lenses you will bring with you, it’s time to think about the composition.
How many times have you been in the situation where you take a picture of something, only to realize that the image doesn’t transfer back the same emotions you felt when your eye saw it?
This is why, it’s critical, that you think about the composition. You need to think about what needs to be in the frame, so the emotions come through.
Once you have found the subject of your photo, keep in mind that the key to success is time, so don’t rush it.
3 tips to find a good Subject based on your location.
If you find your self in a forest, and you have decided that this will be the setting of your image, start by thinking about the mood of the forest around you, and what kind of emotions you want the viewer to feel.
Once you have decided on the emotions you want to convey, look for the subject, it could be a pathway, a tree trunk that has fallen, or even a stream of water, really anything that will grab not only your interest but also the interest of those who will later see your image.
Whatever your subject might be, try your best to compose the frame as to give the viewers the sensation that they could step into it them selfs.
Don’t limit your self, if you need to, try lying down on the ground or even climb up onto a tree.
Stream of Water
If you are close to a flow of water, or even if the subject as suggested before are the river stream of water, as always start by thinking about the feeling you want to give whoever will be looking at the picture.
If you want to convey the feeling of movement, consider shooting at a slower shutter speed, so you can capture the movement of the water across your frame.
If the stream is rather calm, think about the reflection, some times you can even use the reflection as a subject. Consider the idea of using a filter so to increase contrast and eliminate some unwanted reflection too.
If you are somewhere close to the beach, or even on a road that runs close to the see, you should always think about the emotions you want to convey.
Is it peace or is it drama, the mood of your picture is what makes it unique.
If you can, consider shooting at different times of the day, even this can convey different emotions, the colors of the sky and the reflection on the see are amazing vectors of emotion.
Once you have decided what the emotion will be, look for something that will clarify and support the emotions you want to tell.
Something like water splashing over a rock, or the lights of the city during the night.
If you will be shooting on a sandy beach be careful, and if it’s a windy day, pay attention to the sand that could turn your day into a nightmare if it finds it way into your equipment.
Helpful tips about Location Scouting.
Landscape Photography is an art based on time, in order to get the best results you will not only need the time to take the picture, but also be on location at the right time.
Think about how the colors change in the sky, and how the shadows can change the mood of your photograph in just a couple of minutes.
When you first arrive to a new place, if you can you should spend some time, maybe even a couple of days scouting your potential locations.
We have found that hiking is the best option when it comes to finding the right spot, up high on a hill or in the city, you will always find time to stop and checkout your surroundings.
Once you have found a potential spot, it’s time to understand when to take the picture, and how to frame it properly. A useful app, you could use is called SunSurveyor (it both come as a free but limited version and as a paid one, it cost about 10$, we suggest you consider the idea of getting the paid version so to use the augmented reality.). With this app, you can track the sun and you will be sure to know when and where the sun will be during the day, so you can take note of it, and nail the moment to get an amazing picture to share with your friend on Instagram or Facebook.