15 Rules of Landscape Photography

2nd February 2017

For you photogs out there who love to create those luscious landscape scenes here’s a list of my top 15 Landscape photography tips that will save your behind when the time comes to knuckle down to getting those images picture perfect.

1. Plan out the location on a map.

Never travel out to shoot without a good map and without knowing your location. Topographic maps of the terrain are worth their weight in gold as is Google Maps (satellite view) in giving you a taste of what the land form will look like prior to you reaching that location. The journey and photos can be twice as rewarding when you discover that serene location, that you’ve found, that you’ve discovered, that you’ve put the hard yards in to get there. Let’s face it landscape photography and hiking go hand in hand we’re out there to capture the beauty of the undiscovered, untarnished and unforgettable.

2. Position, Position, Position.

We all know as a general rule that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Learn to be proficient at navigation, or if you want things to be easier download The Photographer’s Ephemeris App and have discipline. A true landscape photographer will wake up before sunrise and leave after sunset so that they can capture the beauty of the landscape in its soft, silky, form where the colours of the sky become its most graceful and vibrant. Know where you need to be, what direction you need to face and 90% of the time if it doesn’t rain your hard work will be rewarded with a glorious scene.

3. Get off your butt, don’t be lazy.

Don’t sit in the car waiting for that beautiful scene to come by you. The truth is that it’ll never happen. Like a wet cloth a picture perfect scene is one you need to actively hunt for, grasp it by the crook of the neck and dominate the composition on all ways possible. If you’re photographing a mountain you may need to climb up to shoot that grand top down view or you may need trek to its base to photograph the gigantic majesty of it. If you’re 1km from the lake’s edge you may need to walk that 1km to get to see that water reflection of the distant mountain or sit there on a 2 minute shutter speed to get that water blanket smooth. The point of this rule is to have discipline and do what other’s won’t.

4. Recon, like a boss.

This rule is about scouting out your location, walking around and conduct recon to discover the best possible place to setup for the best composition. You may need to wade through swamp, be knee deep in water or hike up a mountain to setup for that perfect photo. Conduct your recon like an army sniper and when you find that eye-catching composition, the world’s beauty will be at your fingertips.

5. Use a Tripod.

As a landscape photographer you’ll find your optimal shooting times before, during and after sunrise and sunset. During these times to get those crisp, noise-free images you’ll need to shoot on a tripod so that you can drop down the ISO as low as it can go. If you’re not a huge filter geek, like me, you’ll probably end up bracketing shots and blending them together to create an image with a well balanced sky and decent foreground. In doing this you’ll need to overlay your images in Photoshop and for this a tripod is a must. So use a tripod, your images will also be significantly sharper subject to the weather Gods and shoot on either a timer or with a remote trigger.