Though we all likely consider landscape photography to be a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the real world and set up shop for a relaxing photo shoot amongst nature’s beauty, the fact of the matter is that it’s a lot of hard work. What’s more, there can be a lot of stress involved with the potential for forgetting gear, having uncooperative weather, and even missing out on opportunities to get the shots you want.
If you want to improve your workflow and increase your chances of getting the best shots, give these three habits of effective landscape photographers a try.
Weather obviously plays an important role in your ability to get the type of shots you want. The presence or absence of clouds, the time of day you head out for a shoot, and the presence or absence of rain or snow are just a few weather-related factors that can make or break your outing.
Though it seems like an obvious thing to do, many photographers simply don’t check the weather when planning their photo shoots. By neglecting this important habit, you’re setting yourself up for a greater chance of failure.
Light is crucial to the success of a photo, so you need to arm yourself with as much information as you can regarding how the lighting will be when you head out. This isn’t to say that you need to become a meteorologist, but at least knowing when the sun will rise or set, if clouds will be present, if a storm is coming, and the like, you can be sure you’ve got the gear you need, and you can be thinking about the camera settings you need to use to take full advantage of the weather.
The thing with landscapes is that they can change in a matter of seconds. What was a cloud-filled sky that ruined your sunset shot could be a brilliant, glowing spectacle a few minutes later. Perseverance in the face of apparent failure is perhaps more a state of mind rather than a habit, but having that drive to stick around and see how things play out could result in getting many more stunning shots. Before you write the shoot off and pack up your gear, just have a seat, observe how the landscape is changing, and be ready to start taking photos again. You never know when Mother Nature might surprise you with a gem!
Keep It Clean
Cleaning your gear is zero fun, which is why so many photographers don’t do it as often as they should. For many of us, the first thing we do when we get home is import our photos and start culling images, finding the best ones to post-process. In the excitement of that moment, it’s easy to forget that you’ve just been out in conditions that might include dust, dirt, salt, wind, and other environmental contaminants that can wreak havoc with your gear.
Though it’s smart to bring your cleaning kit along with you on your shoots, a little spring cleaning here and there while you’re in the field isn’t going to cut it. Instead, make it a habit of giving your lenses and camera a good once-over each time you come home. Get out your blower to remove big debris from your camera’s sensor and your lens glass. Have a microfiber cloth and lens cleaning solution handy so you can get the grit and grime off your glass as well.
Periodically take your gear in for a professional cleaning too, just to be sure your camera and lenses perform at their best. The more you clean at home, and the more preventative maintenance you perform, the more time you’ll have to shoot and the better your images will be. You’ll also spend less time in post-processing trying to get rid of all those dust specks. It’s a win-win!