When coming across the notion of ‘Landscape Photographer,’ many people have a surprising reaction, deeming the occupation as ‘quite interesting. In reality, most of them have to confess afterward that they do not know precisely what a Landscape Photographer does and do not know how Landscape Photography works. Since the very beginning of humankind, humans have shown a high interest in depicting the sights they have visited or lived in, starting with murals on the walls of caves down to paintings and photography later on.
In its essence, Landscape Photography can be defined as that particular branch of photography axed entirely on natural scenery and striving to capture its best possible and most accurate photo representation.
The Purpose Of Landscape Photos
Unlike photojournalism or documentaries, Landscape Photography does not focus exclusively on depicting the actual and most accurate state of scenery, nor on capturing its evolution in real-time. Most of the time, Landscape Photographers will prefer waiting for that particular moment in which nature reveals or presents itself in a unique form and will aim to capture the essence and natural feel of that instance through their photos. Each time the light will be too dim, or the winds will blow too strong, or some other obstacle will be in the way, Landscape Photographers will have to fight all these elements or wait for them to pass in order to capture a scene in its most natural state.
Tools And Tips For Landscape Photography
Without any studio lighting or setting, or background sounds or music, the Landscape Photographer will have to work under the constraint of the land or water and identify with the natural world surrounding him. In addition to this, when trying to capture a dynamic scene and having to face a static environment simultaneously, one will have to create depth for his stances, using the effect of two dimensions.
This might come quite difficult to achieve, and to reach the most authentic and professional result, we would highly recommend reading and taking into consideration the following set of valuable tips before engaging in Landscape Photography:
- Planning like a professional
The setup for the photo has to be exquisite, thus checking the weather condition prior can help you determine the best spot from which to take your picture. An iOS app called The Photographer’s Ephemeris will also help you with all the info in this regard, using Google Maps.
- Wide-angle lenses
Lenses are vital to photos depending on the desired outcome, and, for landscape ones, all photographers agree that an ultra-wide-angle one is mandatory. 15-30mm lenses will confer a dramatic and vast area of view for full-frame cameras.
- Packing carefully
Respecting the tools of your trade is also an essential aspect of a job well done, so the better you take care, constantly clean, and maintain your gear, the better and longer-lasting results you will have.
- Setting up the camera
For landscapes, the general settings will prove relatively easy: shooting in the Aperture Priority mode set to f/16 and the ISO to 100 to ensure the best possible image quality.
- Sharpness maximization
Even if your f/16 aperture is relatively narrow, focusing on the wrong part of the scenery can still end up having the background out of focus. Maximizing the sharpness of the image and combining it with the proper focus technique will grant your photo the most accurate depth of field.
- Polarizing the light
Polarization filters are among the most versatile accessories a photographer can come to use. From reducing reflections, deepening the blue of the skies, increasing the saturation of colors to removing glares, they will play an essential part in the perfect landscape photo.
- Extending time through NDs
Also extremely important for high-end results, neutral density filters will help one reduce and control the amount of light to enter the lens. This is how you can perform a live natural blur of a cloud or water.
- Capturing the details of the sky
Reducing the amount of light that surfaces at the top of a frame are also a crucial part of capturing the brightness of the sky and the darkness of the foreground. For this, we highly recommend using Neutral Density (ND) Graduated Filters.
- Waiting for the perfect hour
Also known as the ‘blue hour,’ that particular moment of the day when the twilight marks the transition from day to night may provide some of the most intense and vivid variations of light and confer photos with a subtle natural curtain of soft blue light.
- Go for the dramatic effect.
You were looking for that moment before the storm when the clouds seem heavy, and grey will only confer on your photos a gloomy, slightly dark, and tensioned feel.
There are numerous techniques and strategies when chasing the perfect landscape photos. While considering them along to technical aspects is a definite plus, the essence of landscape photography has to come from within you. As long as you truly feel the landscapes displayed before your eyes, the results are bound to reveal their true nature.