5 lessons I wish I had known as a new landscape photographer
There are lessons you can only learn by practicing consistently and making mistakes. These are lessons that can broaden your scope and fuel your learning as a landscape photographer.
Landscape photography, just like other genres of photography, requires a lot of practice, a lot of mistakes, and a lot of legwork. As the famous quote suggests, there is a lot of frustration amid the rewards of the trade. While there are countless video tutorials, articles, and books online, there are lessons to be learned beyond just shooting and editing. The following tips are ones that I have personally learned over the years and often the hard way.
1. If the light still changes, keep shooting
A common frustration in landscape photography is greeted with unappealing weather. It often happens that you go through the long process of getting to a place only to be disappointed with dull gray skies. If you were to believe in luck, some people would call themselves chronically unlucky over time, and if they’re still shooting now, they’ve probably gotten used to a lot of disappointment or got very creative to make the most of what they get. .
Many times you might want to call it a day, pack your bags and go home even if there are still a few minutes (or hours) left before it starts to get dark. While there is no guarantee it will happen as often as we would like, give it a chance. Sometimes nature gives you a very last minute curve with better skies and attractive cloud formations. Otherwise, you might see him on the way back and regret not staying a few extra minutes.
2. A dull day is never a waste of time
Regarding the first tip, there are a lot of advantages to avoiding the mindset that photographing less than spectacular weather conditions is just a waste of time. The reality is not that every day you shoot you will experience spectacular lighting, and it can very well happen even when you are about to photograph the destinations of your dreams. While there are many weather apps and tools that can help you avoid such days, it is inevitable to experience such disappointing conditions.
If you avoid seeing it as a waste of time and instead start seeing it as a challenge, you are able to explore different approaches to shooting and hone your creativity in the process. It helps you develop the ability to get the most out of any location and any lighting condition, wherever you go. Landscape photography is all about identifying and adapting to changes in the environment to achieve a pleasing visual design.
3. Don’t rush or run after spectacular places
Granted, many of us got into landscape photography because of the inspiration we got when we saw beautiful landscape images of the world’s most iconic places, and it kind of shaped our dreams as landscape photographers to see these places and photograph them ourselves. However, there is this tendency to rush to do it, and if you are someone who has travel limitations, either physically or financially, it would be best to be well prepared for what could be an opportunity. unique to shoot. .
Perhaps the most convenient way to learn landscape photography is to find a place nearby that you can visit often to practice and be exposed to various weather and lighting conditions. These don’t have to be the most iconic places, but if you live right outside of a world wonder, then nothing is stopping you. These experiences prepare you for the most crucial shots of your landscape photography trip, where you might only be spending a day or less in a particular location and all you can do is take whatever is right for you. given. There will always be good days and bad days in landscape photography, but it’s best to shoot anyway.
4. There are pieces of equipment you should never compromise on
Landscape photography is never about equipment. It is and always will be. However, there are only a few pieces of gear that are non-negotiable, and settling for cheap and mediocre variants can set you up for failure and regret.
In particular, they are accessories that can compromise the quality of the image. The most important of these are cheap and poor filters and fragile, unstable tripods. While there are pieces of equipment where you can settle for cheaper alternatives, from experience most photographers would say they wish they had terrible filters and tripods at the start of their photography journey. landscape, because the implications of a terrible quality in them are often irreversible and ultimately mean wasted. time, money and effort.
While not all cheap filters mean terrible color and / or clarity, most experienced landscape photographers would tell you to avoid them altogether. Extreme color cast can give you unwanted colors in your photos that are either impossible or very difficult to correct in post processing. Some filters are just not designed for extreme weather conditions and tend to stain moisture very easily, giving you irreversibly smooth images.
The tripods are the same. Many (not all) inexpensive tripods are just for holding the camera for timed self-portraits and family photos. For landscape photography, lightweight tripods are easy to carry on long walks and hikes, but being too light would also mean less resistance to camera shake. Many cases of landscape photography require resisting strong winds or strong water currents. Needless to say, taking a long exposure with shaking tripods guarantees blurry landscape images.
5. Landscape photography can be done with any camera
Unlike the previous point, it is also important to know that the wonderful kind of landscape photography can be achieved with any camera. Countless photographers prove this even with smartphones. While there are cameras better designed for landscape photography that make them either more efficient when shooting, offer higher resolution, or a wider dynamic range, it is still possible to do so, and more importantly, learn landscape photography with even the simplest camera.
Scenery can also be done with any lens. Yes, there are different lens kit recipes that you will learn online depending on who you listen to, but if you are new to it it can be done with any camera and lens. Better or more suitable landscape photography equipment makes you more flexible and efficient in the long run, but not having it doesn’t stop you from taking photos. Similar to the previous tips, being able to learn how to overcome these limitations might even help you be a more creative photographer.
Landscape photography faces a lot of disappointments, challenges and setbacks. There are so many ways to learn the trade, but nothing beats substantial experience. These challenges make triumphs all the more rewarding, but that doesn’t mean they’re all inevitable.
Do you have any tips to add? Feel free to share them in the comments.