Landscape Photography Tips
Landscape photography is one of the easiest of all the photography genres. You don’t have to deal with wildlife on four legs, all ready to run out of the frame as you are ready to press the shutter release, there are no feathered fidgety creatures snapping away at the slightest commotion, nor there are any sharp clawed or toothed or tentacled creature eager to have a bite of you while you are trying to photograph underwater. Even portrait photography is more difficult than landscape. You have all the time in the day to compose and get it right; and if you don’t you can come back the next day. You won’t get a more patient model than Mother Nature!
Here are some tips to get you started.
Love for the Subject
To be successful in landscape photography you will need to have a lot of admiration for nature. This is an absolute must and something that can’t be taught in any school either. It is this incredible love for landscape that can sometimes lead you to some of your best captures.
Ansel Adams, arguably the greatest landscape photographer ever, once said, “Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.” It sums up his love for landscape photography.
Buy a Gray Card
The 18% gray card is a life saver for landscape photographers, and for that matter, any professional photographer. It gives him/her a way to tell the camera what is 18% gray in a given lighting condition. If you are going to edit the images in post processing then simply shoot in RAW. But before starting the main shoot take picture of the gray card in the given lighting condition.
Buy a Hand-held Meter
A hand-held light meter has a significant advantage over the built-in light meters inside your DSLR cameras. While the hand-held meter can be used to measure the incident light the camera’s built-in light meter will only meter the reflected light from the scene. This is problematic as the scene is more often than not metered incorrectly.
Understand the Sunny 16 Rule
Simply put if you are shooting in a bright sunny day and you have selected ISO 100 as the sensor’s sensitivity to light then you should set a shutter speed that is the reverse of the ISO value or 1/100th of a second. If you set your camera to ISO 50 then it should be 1/50th of a second. This is the Sunny 16 rule.
Never Set the Horizon Bang in the Middle
Most amateurs are guilty of doing this. Never place the horizon line right down in the middle. If the sky is really contrasty, place the horizon line about 2/3rds from the top else put it at 1/3rds from the top.
Try a Different Look
Landscape Photography pictures are always clichéd. Why don’t you try a different angle? Try shooting from down below on all fours looking up? Change the perspective. Shoot at a moonlit night and use a longer exposure for more dramatic effects of clouds in the sky. Buy a waterproof camera housing and shoot from under water. Don’t submerge it all the way. Just shoot at from, may be, 1/3rd into the water.