When I first started with photography, landscape photography was my primary interest.
But, no matter what I did, I couldn’t figure out why my landscape photos didn’t look nearly as amazing as I wanted them to look.
As it turns out, there are three really simple landscape photography tips to learn that will drastically transform your landscape photography – and the best part is they have nothing to do with camera gear, settings or location.
Continue reading for my top 3 landscape photography tips.
1. Stop Worrying About Camera Gear And Camera Settings
Camera gear and camera settings are probably the least important part of landscape photography – so stop worrying about them!
Certainly, there are advanced camera gear, camera settings and camera techniques for landscape photography that can give landscape photos a big boost – but if you’re not happy with your current landscape images, upgrading your gear or learning specialized camera techniques isn’t going to help.
The bottom line is this: you can create amazing landscape photos with any camera.
2. Its the Light Not The Location
The number one mistake that novice landscape photographers make is spending the the time and effort to travel to amazing locations and then wasting the opportunity by creating mediocre images in bad light.
No matter how epic the scenery is, no matter how artistic your composition, no matter what you do with your camera – if you are creating landscape photos in bad light your landscape photography will never look as good as you would like.
In other words, the light is much more important than the location.
So what is bad light?
Pretty much any time of day that isn’t within an hour before or after sunrise and sunset.
Generally speaking, we refer to the hour before sunrise and the hour after sunset as “blue hour”. The hour after sunrise and hour before sunset is “golden hour”.
There are exceptions to this rule, weather and local conditions can create interesting light or pockets of high quality light at any time of day – but if you’re looking for a quantum leap improvement in your landscape photography – make sure you are at your location during “blue hour” and “golden hour” and put your camera way during the rest of the day.
3. Atmosphere Makes the Photo
The one intangible component of landscape photography, and to me the most exciting component, is atmosphere.
Everyday is different and you can never really know what the scene you are photographing will look like on any given day.
Will the sunrise be clear and grand or bland and grey? Will a rain storm show you amazing clouds? Will the forest or lake be shrouded in mist? Will the sunset accent your mountain vista in a wash of color, or fizzle out into a boring twilight?
This is the reason that infinite numbers of landscape photographers with an infinite number of cameras continuously trek to the same locations and take the same photos – because the atmosphere is always different and being at the right place at the right time to photograph something unique is the essence of landscape photography.
The final component of all great landscape photography is emotion.
All of those gripping landscape photos you love on 500px have one thing in common – they create a certain emotional attachment when you view them and its that emotional attachment that separates them from the hordes of other lesser landscape images.
Sometimes creating an emotional attachment to your landscape photography just happens – add an amazing location, the right light and some atmosphere and you’ll get whoa – awesome!
But, you can also be deliberate about creating a sense of emotion in you landscape photography.
Whether you’re looking for just grandeur and pure awe, or something a little more subtle like hope, renewal or sadness and isolation, light and atmosphere can be used to create the impression of those emotions.
If you want a bit more of an in-depth explanation of these tips – I just released a full online class on Skillshare that covers everything in detail.
We arranged for 50 free enrollments only for DIYP readers – just click here (first come first serve, expires in one week from today).
Or, if you miss the free enrollment, don’t worry – you can also get a 14 day free trial that includes access to this class and other photography classes on Skillshare – just click here.