Landscape Photography Tips

Landscape photography is by definition the photography of land-forms and can include natural or man-made forms.

With improvements in digital technology, anyone can go outside and shoot a landscape photograph, but a great picture takes some planning, preparation and composition.

Here are 10 tips to improve your photography.

1) Go on a landscape photography course. This will kick start your creativity and give you some grounding in the essentials. Understanding the basics like, f-stops, ISO and shutter speed is fundamental to landscape photography. I run one-on-one photography courses, so contact me to get help.

2) Visit some great locations and take pictures. Some of the most popular areas with landscape photographers in southern Africa include the Drakensberg Mountains, coastal areas near Cape Town and the Namib Desert of Namibia.

Cape Town has some great landscape photography locations.

3) Plan your trip. Find out from nature photographers when is the best time of the year to photograph a particular location. Years ago, I went to Patagonia in the month of October, only to have three weeks of non-stop rain. With a little research, I would have found out that the autumn months of March and April are generally the best time.

4) Having said the above, bad weather can sometimes produce the most interesting landscape photograph. A beautiful blue sky can make for a nice but boring landscape, whereas a dramatic sky full of stormy clouds could make a great picture of the same location.

Dramatic clouds and light can turn an ordinary landscape into something extraordinary

5) Consider the light. With a few exceptions, most landscapes are at their best in the early morning or late afternoon. So plan to be at your destination well before the optimal light. This will also give you time to look around and see your location, and look for different angles and compositions.

6) Study and understand the rules of composition (easily found on the internet), something I cover in my photography courses. Although all rules can be broken, on the whole they generally make for a good starting point.

Following some basic rules of composition is normally a good starting point for the beginner landscape photographer.

7) Enhance your creativity. Although most of us are not born with much creativity, it is something that can definitely be learnt and enhanced. Look at the work of great landscape photographers and get inspiration. Then practice by taking lots of pictures. As with most things in life, the more you practice the better one gets.

8) Do not be put of by some physical hardship. Landscape photography is one of the more difficult genres of nature photography. Not only is it challenging to one’s creativity, but it can also be physically difficult. It is not unusual to have to walk long distances and it inevitably means getting up early in the morning, and frequently one can be either cold, hot and sometimes wet.

9) Be persistent. Although you can be lucky, more often than not one will have to visit a great location several times to get a really good picture. Great landscape photography usually take some time and patience.

Persistence is essential. Although one can be lucky, usually one has to visit a location several times to get the right combination of light and composition.

10) Embrace new technology. New developments in technology and software have meant lots of exciting possibilities, and it is now comparatively simple to shoot a panoramic, an HDR (high dynamic range) image or perhaps the night sky with the Milky Way.

This landscape photograph is a combination of a panoramic and an HDR. The panoramic gives a much wider field of view. The HDR enables much greater detail in the dark foreground and bright sky.