As a landscape photographer today, we are all striving for that next great image…the image of a lifetime. Even if you don’t specialize in landscape photography, getting those great images are always at the forefront of our minds. Throughout the few years I’ve been specializing in scenic, landscape, and nature photography I’ve been on a constant lookout for tips and tricks that can help me improve. Luckily I’ve found a few from various sources around the Internet and I’d like to add my 3 Simple Tips To Improve Your Landscape Photography to the list.
Many people might think that post-processing is the key. Others will think that the latest and greatest camera or lens will make all of the difference. Over the past few years I’ve found that not to be the case. Don’t get me wrong. I feel that good equipment can help you return home with the images you’ve envisioned and post-processing skills can help turn them into more, but that is only a small piece of the puzzle.
I feel that there are simpler ways to improve your images though.
My 3 Simple Tips To Improve Your Landscape Photography
1. Get and Use a Tripod
I read over and over about getting a good tripod and not skimping on this purchase. I used a cheap free tripod I got from who knows where when I first started out. It lasted maybe a couple months before one of the leg extension clips broke.
I then invested in a Manfrotto 190XPROB (newer version here) tripod. It wasn’t extremely expensive and worked great initially but I eventually needed more and upgraded to a carbon fiber Gitzo GT1541 model tripod due to it’s lighter weight and packing ability. My situation dictated an upgrade which I could have avoided though in the first place by not skimping. My advice…don’t skimp on this.
The main point is to get and use a tripod. There is a dramatic increase in what it does for your landscape photography.
The obvious benefits include reducing the risk of blur and loss of sharp photos by eliminating movement in your camera. However, another added benefit is the forced aspect of slowing down to take your shots. It makes you think more and carefully about the image you are making. A tripod will also allow you to venture into night photography or even simply help you in low-light situations. Need another reason? All of those blurred water photographs you see and love are made possible by the stability of using a tripod. How about when using a telephoto lens. A tripod helps reduce shake that is so much more apparent when using those longer telephoto zoom focal ranges.
Just go out and get one. You’ll thank me.
2. Get Low
Aside from the first equipment recommendation, this one costs you absolutely nothing. Get low.
And no, I don’t mean play some music and get down with your bad self. Physically get yourself lower to the ground to provide a different perspective to the world. Many photographers approach a scene, set up their tripods with legs fully extended, and start snapping away.
What’s wrong with that you might wonder? It’s the same view that everyone that happens upon that scene will see and experience. Then sometimes that amazing view you are standing in front of doesn’t appear so grand when you get back home and see your photos. So change it up a little bit.
Find a strong foreground element to place in front of your camera, use a wide angle lens, and put yourself down low and in front of it. You’ll give a great sense of depth by doing so and provide a different aspect to the view. Doing so can be a great way to create or add drama to an otherwise so-so scene.
Try it out next time you’re out in the field. Find your location and then look for the low point to add a little flare to it.
3. Be There
My final tip is one of the simplest ones. Just be there.
You can’t capture those great moments in time and showcase some amazing experience in life if you’re not there to see it in the first place. Does that mean you have to travel to the ends of the earth to obtain great images? NO!
Just wake up a little earlier on the weekend to experience sunrise along a river and see the mist flowing through the air in the first warms rays of the sun. Stay out a little later to see the last bit of light drain away into the sky. Get off the beaten path of popular locations to see something the everyday person walks right on past. Even try braving the elements and get out there in some crazy conditions (all in good safety though). All you need to do is be there.
This can be challenging today with how hectic life can be. It is a simple one though that anyone can do, but it does require a little bit of effort. Just put yourself in the places to see these amazing things that the world presents for us. You might think each sunrise or sunset is the same thing, but each one of those only happens once in our life. The one you take the time to be there for might just be the one you’ve always wanted to see.
And hey, why not try and share these experiences with a loved one or friend. It might just be just add a little bit of light into his or her life.
I hope you were able to get a little something out of these 3 simple tips to improve your landscape photography. There are countless articles out there about camera gear, settings, and anything in between that are great help as well. Sometimes though it’s the little things that make the biggest difference in our photographs. If you’ve enjoyed this, please share it! And as usual, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to see the latest happenings in my photographic life.