Portrait and Landscape Photography: Similarities and Differences
- Portrait and Landscape Photography Planning
- Preparing for Portrait and Landscape Photography
- Printing Portraits and Landscapes
- Gear Options for Portrait and Landscape Photography
- You Can Be an Expert in Both Portrait and Landscape Photography
- 5 Photographer Tools for Beginners
- Simple Landscape Photography Tips for Beginners
- Get Better at Landscape Photography
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Portrait and landscape photography are a lot of fun to do and can also provide extra income for established professionals in any genre of photography work. The images for each genre also look fantastic when we get creative with shooting, post-processing, and display options.
Here is a view of all of the things we consider, such as our planning, preparing for capturing the images, what gear is involved, what techniques are used, and how similar the two genres can be, as well as what differences are involved in these photographic endeavors.
Table of Contents
Portrait and Landscape Photography Planning
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With regard to planning our portrait and landscape photography, there are many similarities, some of which may be a little subtle, and a few major differences.
What are those things we plan about portrait and landscape photography that are the same? In my mind, I always go through a mental checklist of everything I’m about to do regarding photography. That’s pretty much the day before and the day of the shoot, but I also do a lot of similar planning work long before that couple of days comes up.
Especially with regards to outdoor or environmental portraiture, my planning will be very much like how I plan landscape photography. The time of year and where I’ll be will influence quite a lot of my planning for outdoor portrait and landscape photography alike.
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The time of year will determine when my preferred outdoor lighting will occur. For a lot of my exterior imaging work, I lean towards a lower position in the sky for the Sun. Golden Hour is a great time of day for portrait and landscape photography, but any time of day where our home star the Sun isn’t directly overhead is a great time for me.
With regards to portraits, I can add reflectors or fill flash when the Sun is shining at an angle, any angle. This allows me to get soft eyes with no squints and the resulting facial frowning that sun squint also adds. It also lets me play around with contrast levels and gives me an opportunity to use backlighting, side lighting, and other shadow control techniques.
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For landscape photography, those times of the day which have the Sun sitting lower in the sky than directly overhead give me opportunities to use light and shadow for modeling effects in the scenery. The planning for my landscape ideas might also lead me to choosing my accessories, such as a tripod or tripod alternative for HDR photography or a graduated neutral density (GND) to use instead of HDR for contrast control.
Preparing for Portrait and Landscape Photography
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Planning ahead of time is part of my preparation for portrait and landscape photography and it naturally leads into preparing for the actual shooting either the day of the shoot or a day or two before I take the pictures.
So, what is involved in the preparation? Several things I always do: charge batteries, reformat cards, clean lenses, and repack my bags. This is a good checklist for any type of photoshoot.
Batteries going dead and not having spares already charged means there is no digital image capturing happening that day. That’s simply a fact of life in the digital age. Our newer cameras have great battery life compared to just a few years ago, but our camera’s high-quality sensor capturing an image file and employing all of those wonderful special features simply won’t happen with no power.
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I reformat my cards in the camera I’m going to use them in. There are many options of how to accomplish the same thing, it gives me peace of mind to do it this way. I know for sure that the card or cards are at maximum capacity and that no time is wasted with the camera attempting to lay down a file without the card being ready for it.
Cleaning the lenses may also include cleaning the camera and possibly the camera sensor. I make a habit of cleaning my lenses before and after every photoshoot, portrait and landscape photography. Cleaning the camera and especially cleaning the sensor I do on an as needed basis.
photo by Mikhail Dmitriev via iStock
Preparing for portrait and landscape photography will also include repacking my camera bag or bags so I’m bringing the equipment I think I’ll be needing.
The equipment I end up packing may vary somewhat between portrait and landscape photography, things such as reflectors and a fill flash for portraits and GND filters or maybe a nodal panorama mount for landscapes. Some lenses and my favorite camera mounts will be in my bag for all photoshoots.
Printing Portraits and Landscapes
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Before I dive into some gear recommendations for portraits and landscapes, I want to mention a critical component of the process that sometimes gets left out - printing your images.
I know we live in the digital age and that most of our work exists online, but I argue that printing our work is still a crucially important part of the process.
I'm not saying you need to print every image you create, but getting prints of your best work is a nice way to tie the process together and celebrate your success. You don't even have to keep all the prints - they make great gifts!
The question is, what printing company should you use?
After getting many prints over the years from Artbeat Studios, I wholeheartedly recommend them for your portrait and landscape photo printing needs.
As you might know, I'm a landscape photographer, so most of the prints I've ordered from Artbeat Studios have been landscapes. I can tell you that the prints I've gotten have been outstanding in terms of their color accuracy, vibrancy, contrast, and detail. These guys won our metal print shootout in 2020 and again in 2021 for a reason!
Since I've mostly ordered metal prints from Artbeat Studios, that's the specific substrate I'd like to highlight.
Their HD metal prints are nothing short of breathtaking - the ChromaLuxe® aluminum they use offers the highest quality possible and since the image is heat infused directly into the metal, you get unparalleled color vibrancy and resolution.
So, in other words, Artbeat Studios takes their craft very seriously - and it shows!
Now, I know from experience that some printing companies talk a big game and deliver prints that are nowhere close to what was promised. But Artbeat Studios is different. They know that their products are a cut above, which is why they offer a 100 percent happiness guarantee.
If you don't like your print, just send it back and you'll get a full store credit. They're that confident in their products - and they should be!
Give Artbreat Studios a look to see for yourself. There's simply no better printing option for your portraits and landscapes!
Gear Options for Portrait and Landscape Photography
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Here’s where I may surprise some of you. Much of my gear for portraits and landscape photography are interchangeable between the two genres. In fact, I may use some of the same items for most of my photography of any kind.
What items go in my gear kit for portrait and landscape photography? If I am planning a photoshoot, I almost always have 2 cameras in my bags. In addition to having the insurance of a usable camera should one fail, I can also mount a different lens to each camera for speeding up my response to changing ideas or needs.
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A general setup for me has a wide lens (zoom or prime) on one body and a fast telephoto zoom on the other. Additionally, I may have a macro lens when shooting landscapes so I can capture close-ups of flowers and stuff, or I may include a really fast prime lens such as my Nifty Fifty or a short telephoto for portrait sessions in order to allow for greater application of the selective focus technique.
A good filter kit can be useful for portrait and landscape photography. With landscapes, a GND filter and a circular polarizer (C-POL) could be considered essential, while a softening filter could be useful for portraits.
There are two things I use on a regular basis for camera support for both portrait and landscape photography. A steady tripod is essential for some types of photography and there are extremely useful tripod alternatives such as the OctoPad that can do the job of a tripod without all the bulk and bother of hauling around a full-featured tripod.
OctoPad is a small weighted disk with a ball head on top and with a non-slip pad on the underside. It can hold a camera and lens on virtually any surface indoors or outside, even if that surface is angled up to 45 degrees. Besides mounting a camera for long exposure landscapes, you could also use it for outdoor portraits to hold a fill flash or LED lights to create great modeling effects for that portrait.
You Can Be an Expert in Both Portrait and Landscape Photography
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You really can, since they are actually very similar in about 80 or 90 percent of what you need to do with portrait and landscape photography. And what few differences there are, usually concern how best to expose, frame, compose, and post-process the image. As an expert photographer in any of the genres, you have the skills and probably most of the equipment needed to also excel in another.