I live and breathe landscape photography and there are so many great tips you can test and try out yourself. Here are five tips I benefit a lot from in my work that you can implement to improve your landscape photography right now.
What is the Best Light?
The best light is not always the light you will find in the golden hour. It can be soft and rich in color, but comparing the two photos below it is interesting to see the majority preferring the non-pink version. Despite the gorgeous pink colors, most people on my Instagram reported that it was the high contrast version with the dark clouds that worked the best. The best part is you can actually get a similar photo way out of the golden hour. All it takes is light on the church and foreground and dark clouds in the background.
Another example is this photo where the fog did not lift before a couple of hours outside the golden hour. Had the light been golden you would not have got that fresh feeling that the green and blue colors provide.
The second tip follows naturally from the first and that is to stay put. Not necessarily in the exact same spot, but in the same area at least an hour more than you think you need. I know it is easy to give up and go home if you have been up early, but you never know what you may find. The photo below is a great example of staying in the same area and keep exploring even though the golden morning light is not present anymore. It is actually beneficial to the photo to keep the color palette simple, as the photo is already quite complex with the many bubbles.
Shoot, Shoot, Shoot
The third tip is to keep shooting and point your camera towards anything that catches your attention. Even after years of experience, it is hard to judge in-field whether a photo works or not. Below you can see a before and after editing example. The before photo does not really look too interesting, but the scene caught my attention so I gave it a shot just to be sure. With a bit of editing, it turned out really well and is more in line with what I saw. Looking in hindsight this is one of my favorite photos from that morning.
Beneficial Light Is Better Than Good Light
I bet we have all heard about “good light.” However, good light is not everything. The two examples below where photographed at the same time but with about a 90 degrees difference. The vertical photo works quite well with the light hitting the mountains making some curves down the photo and having the waterfall as the focal point. The horizontal photo also has fantastic light that really shapes the landscape and emphasizes the weather but the scene lacks an interesting focal point and the lower left part is just empty boring space. Think of light as beneficial light to your scene more than just “great light”.
Use the Seasons
Throughout the year nature changes and each season delivers new opportunities for beautiful photographs. I am the first to admit spring never really was my favorite season but I have come to appreciate it now. The number of flowers in the forest bed is amazing and the neon green beech trees look fantastic. Summer also delivers gorgeous optimistic scenery and late summer gives you heather. Autumn colors are already famous in landscape photography and winter comes with snow and frost. Even if winter does not deliver the typical winter mood maybe a storm or two passes by. There are of course many more examples throughout the year and it differs a lot from country to country.
I show even more examples from each category in the above video so be sure to check it out. Let me know down below if these tips resonated with you.