5 Tips For Creating Great Landscape Photographs
I'm incredibly lucky that I get to travel our beautiful country with my work. As the Director of Photography on Channel Ten's 'Offroad Adventure Show' I spend countless weeks on the road in some of Australia's most remote and beautiful locations.
I've always got my stills camera nearby and on many occasions I am lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to capture a magical landscape. It's an exhilarating feeling watching nature turn on a show in front of your eyes and your camera. There is a rush of adrenaline as you look on, knowing that something special, something completely unpredictable is occurring, and you're there to capture it all.
Of course, there's a little more to it than just luck. If you've got a basic understanding of how to create a great image then you'll have the tools to not only capitalise on those unplanned moments of magic, but also be the creator of something beautiful from what might appear as a fairly average photo opportunity.
So what are the 'tools' I speak of? Well they are many, but to get you heading in the right direction I've booked it down to my top 5.
1. Get The Best Light
This ones very simple. To get the great light you need to be there when it happens, and unfortunately in my experience the sunrise light is almost always the most stunning. Don't get me wrong I've shot some pretty epic sunsets, but early mornings are the winner for me.
2. Use a Tripod
This might seem like a hassle but using a tripod will allow you to get so much more from your photography. Shooting in low light (sunrise and sunset) means you'll need to keep your shutter open for longer. Any camera movement that happens in this time will blur the photo, making it unusable. A tripod ensures your camera is rock solid during the shot.
A tripod also slows you down and makes you think about your frame more. Landscape photography is about quality, not quantity.
3. Learn To Use Manual Settings
If you're going be successful at photography then learning how to use your manual settings is crucial. Yes you'll make more mistakes to begin with, but you'll learn from each one. Using manual mode makes you think about how your camera works and this is the fastest way to learn.
For example simply knowing how to select the right f-stop for your shot is really important. When shooting landscapes you normally want as much of the picture - i.e the foreground, mid ground and background - to be in focus as possible. Selecting an f-stop of around f8 or f10 will ensure that almost everything in your frame is in focus, providing your not standing too close to an object in the foreground and you've focussed the camera correctly.
4. Use Interesting Foreground
The first thing I always notice in landscapes is the foreground. Having a textured, colourful or interesting foreground captures the eye immediately and holds the viewer in the photo. A landscape with no foreground is like drinking a mocktail, it's nice, but it could be better!
5. Process your images!
A lot of people might think it's trickery to use software to edit your images but there is a difference between photo enhancement and photo manipulation. Yes this line can be blurry but I believe if you are true to the scene you've captured then enhancing your images for greater impact is fine. Not only that, it's actually really fun and adds to the overall creative process (and therefor enjoyment) of photography.
Most cameras give you the option of shooting in raw files for a good reason. RAW files are meant to be edited in software. This actually gives you the greatest performance possible from your camera and when you learn to process, you will learn to use your camera in an entirely new way.
I use Adobe Lightroom to process my images and I highly recommend giving it a go.
Luke has an adventure photography weekend planned on the 7th & 8th of Jan, this is a mixed course, you'll camp, eat amazing meals and learn how to create awesome images!
We spend so much time and energy planning our travel, but have you thought about how you will capture and share the experience?
So before you head off on that adventure, go and spend a little time ensuring your memories will be preserved beautifully, and forever.
Written by Luke Adams