Landscape Photography

8 Tips for a Successful Landscape Shoot

Make sure you keep a map of the area you are going work in. Don’t assume you know everything about it’s splendor. Do some research and take relevant maps with you. Many unique landscape photography secrets are found this way, never mind the photos. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is overkill. Once you start using a map and understanding contours etc., you will be able to predict the chances of better shots in otherwise missed locations.

beach-sunset-palm.jpgPhotography equipment requirements are different for various settings or modes of photography. What one may require for portrait photography is not necessarily needed for landscape or outdoor photography. Of course, having a cupboard full of equipment is nice but can be a poor use of funds and much of it can just sit there gathering dust. When it comes to photography equipment, always purchase what you need and remember, even the best photographers improvise a lot of the time. Here are some suggestions and tips on equipment for landscape photography that work for me…

Relevant Charts or Maps

Make sure you keep a map of the area you are going work in. Don’t assume you know everything about it’s splendor. Do some research and take relevant maps with you. Many unique landscape photography secrets are found this way, never mind the photos. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is overkill. Once you start using a map and understanding contours etc., you will be able to predict the chances of better shots in otherwise missed locations.

Consider a Spirit Level

Some people who are adept at photo manipulation software may tend to discount this little, though useful tool. Me – I always have one handy. Why? Because even though the tripod saves many problems, you can get your camera much more level in shots where it’s necessary without faulty guess work. It’s great to take a good shot that needs little to no manipulation when all is said and done.

An Equipment Source

Even if it’s simply a starter or somewhere to get what you need initially; make sure you bookmark a source or two for quick reference. I always thought it would be handy to have a photography source where there were both products and services in one place. As a result I have prepared this one page which will always be under construction as new items of value are discovered, so please bare with me on this ongoing project which will give you access to free services as well as commercial photography equipment or service information.

A Good Tripod

Beware second hand tripods. Many of them are for sale for a reason. Not all of them of course. Although, I’d like a dollar for every time I’ve been told by someone that they purchased a ‘dodgy’ second hand tripod on eBay or somewhere similar. For a little extra, I think it’s best to buy new, simply because there’s usually a guarantee. Remember, tripod shots are completely different to spontaneous shooting. You will most likely use a tripod for a predictive scenario which requires a little patience. Flexible legs are best when it comes to landscape photography. I met someone recently who had a mini tripod which remained connected to the camera. It was so light that you could shoot normally and when you needed the tripod, you could then simply prop it on a stump or rock. The best part was, it came with separate extensions to the mini legs for more traditional tripod shots when required. A very compact solution to an array of tripod needs. Here are some extra tips on tripod use.

Lenses

This is an important requirement. You should have at least a wide angle and a zoom lens. Only you will be able to choose. You may like to research a wide angled zoom that suits your purposes as well. Don’t be shy of asking questions in a camera store. That’s what those people are there for. Have a close look at as many as you can and stick to the established brands. You can also ask questions of other photographers on this site’s photography forum. You’d be surprised how many skilled photographers monitor this site and are happy to help.

Filters

To give your shots that special appearance, lens filters are a must. They will filter out infra red and help to capture the blue of the sky that you see in brochures and postcards. You will only create a task for yourself if you want to amend the sky colours with photoshop with all the shots you take. There’s nothing wrong with that and I’ve seen some incredible manipulation relating to sky displays. In fact, here are some more tips on using filters. However, if you’re looking for quick outcomes or stock photography, you’ll want shots that require little post touch-ups and that’s where filters help. If you would like to play with Photoshop a little, here are some guides catering for various levels of Photoshop tuition.

A Backpack

You may think this a little out-there but your gear is better on your back for the spontaneous shots than in your hand or over your shoulder. Your tripod can be easily fixed to the outside which in turn, makes it easily accessible. There are also other great camera bags for traditional camera work but ensure you get yourself a back pack for landscape and other photography where you will be doing some walking.

Weather Reports

This will give you more useful information than just – is it going to be sunny? Although that’s a nice thing to know too. If you’re doing beach work, wind and tide knowledge is essential. If you’re doing bush (forest) work or mountain work, you’ll need to know if there are any squalls expected and it will allow you to be a little creative with knowledge such as an expected overcast day, rain, snow etc. Remember bad weather shooting isn’t always a bad thing. Many great photographers prefer bad weather photography. Equally important, you’ll also be able to choose whether you should take hot chocolate in a thermos or some cold beers. Here are some essentials of a good landscape photo.

Self Confession

Years ago when I first started taking landscape shots, I made a few expensive blunders; both from a time and money point of view. I realized a little while ago, that if I had access to this landscape photo guide I would have done much better and saved myself those silly, unnecessary sacrifices that were simply too many to mention.

Not only that, but I would be earning much more from stock landscape photography now. I didn’t know about it then so I have an excuse 🙂

If you want to do exceptionally well straight from scratch, see this landscape photo guide. You won’t be disappointed – I wasn’t!

I don’t say that lightly either.

…hope this has been of some help,

Ray Baker