ApertureXplorer Photography Articles

3 of the Best Places for Landscape Photography in the U.S.

best places for landscape photography in the usImage Credit: theasis via iStock

I know what you're thinking...

How can one possibly narrow the list of beautiful landscape photography locations down to just three spots?

Well, the answer to that question is by getting very specific with the parameters.

For this list, I've not only narrowed it down to locations in the U.S., but I've further narrowed it down to an area rife with beautiful landscapes of all kinds - Southern Utah and Northern Arizona.

Home to numerous national parks, each with its own unique identity, the American Southwest is most definitely a landscape photographer's playground.

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So, not only are the locations I outline below clustered close to one another for easy travel between them, they are also easily accessible for photographers of all types.

There's no need to be a triathlete or a rock climber to find the best views here - with short, easy hikes, you can find jaw-dropping vistas to document with your camera.

That being said, here are three of the best places for landscape photography in the U.S.

The Grand Canyon

grand canyonImage Credit: ApertureXplorer

Clearly, the Grand Canyon needs no introduction.

The canyon is over 1,900 square miles in size, and at some points is over 18 miles wide and over 6,000 feet deep.

Not only do the millions of years of layered red rock impress, but so too does the Colorado River at the canyon floor, which, depending on the time of year can appear to be blue, green, or red.

One of the best vantage points for photographing the Grand Canyon is from its North Rim.

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As you travel along the North Rim, you'll want to stop at Point Imperial, Vista Encantada, Roosevelt Point, Walhalla Overlook, Angel's Window, and Point Royal.

Each of these locations offers incredible views of the canyon and plenty of opportunities for you to get breathtaking photos.

Here's a quick tip - don't just explore these areas during the daytime. Sunrise and sunset photos are a must!

Plan your Grand Canyon photo adventure.

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Zion National Park

best places for photography in the usImage Credit: ApertureXplorer

Located in Southern Utah, Zion National Park affords landscape photographers with many various types of landscapes to highlight in their photos.

The park is best known for its soaring red, pink, and cream-colored cliffs, but you'll also find forests, streams, waterfalls, and otherworldly rock formations within the park's boundaries.

Established in 1919 as Utah's first national park, Zion is a place where you can explore breathtaking landscapes while also walking in the footsteps of ancient native peoples that lived in the area for millennia.

best places for landscape photographyImage Credit: ranplett via iStock

While exploring the park, be sure to save time to visit the Canyon Overlook, where you're rewarded with fantastic views of the canyon below after a short and easy hike to the overlook.

Another spot you don't want to miss in Zion is the Emerald Pools, which include three pools along a stream that might be raging in the spring but down to a trickle in the fall.

No matter when you visit, you'll love the interesting variety of plants and animals that make the landscapes found here - which are usually found under bright, blue skies - all the more appealing for your photos.

Plan your Zion National Park photo adventure.

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Arches National Park

arches national parkImage Credit: ApertureXplorer

Like the Grand Canyon and Zion, Arches National Park's claim to fame is its breathtaking red cliffs.

But what sets Arches apart from the Grand Canyon and Zion is the fantastic shapes that erosion has created in the red sandstone.

While some areas of Arches have tall, thin sandstone spires that seem to reach forever towards the heavens, the park's namesake arches - which number more than 2,000 - are what most photographers come here to document.

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From Delicate Arch in the eastern reaches of the park to the Landscape Arch in the north to the Courthouse Towers in the south, there is no shortage of dramatic landscapes to photograph.

But don't think that Arches National Park is just about rock formations...

Instead, you can photograph the Colorado River, which forms the park's southeastern boundary, and you can find some of the darkest skies in the United States to capture stunning shots of the night sky, too.

And, as noted earlier, since Arches, Zion, and the Grand Canyon (as well as other must-see locations like Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Canyonlands National Park, and Moab) are so close in proximity, you can explore more areas that you can imagine, and snap gorgeous photos along the way.

Plan your Arches National Park photo adventure.

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See These Locations in Style (and Learn Photography Skills, too!)

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I'm all about multi-tasking, even when I'm on vacation.

That's why I love the idea of exploring the American Southwest as part of a photography tour.

Think about it - you don't have to plan a thing. Just show up with your gear and start exploring!

Expert photographers not only plan the trip so you can see the iconic locations that all landscape photographers want to experience, but they're also along for the ride to help you develop your photography skills.

What better place to learn how to take better photos than the Grand Canyon, Zion, Arches, or one of the many other amazing locations this area has to offer?

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But beware when you look at photo tours.

Some cram as many people as they can into a bus to maximize their profits.

Others, like ApertureXplorer, keep their tours small - just a handful of people - that way you're assured of getting the most personal attention possible.

Plus, traveling in a small group allows you to form new relationships with other photographers and learn a thing or two from each other as well.

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ApertureXplorer offers a tour of these iconic landscape photography spots in May 2019, and from the looks of the itinerary, it's not something you want to miss!

May is a great time to visit these areas as the temperatures are cool, waterfalls and streams are full of water, and you might get the chance to photograph a springtime storm rolling across the landscape as well.

Since spots are limited, they go fast, so be sure to visit the ApertureXplorer website to learn more about this tour and to sign up for a spot today!

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3 Ways to Make Your Landscape Photos More Impactful

improve landscape photosImage Credit: ApertureXplorer 

The key to a great landscape photo is having visual impact that makes the viewer say "WOW."

The question is, how do you do that?

There are tons of different ways that you can enhance the look of your landscape photos. Below, I outline three of my favorites.

Wide-Angles are Great, but Not the Only Option

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Part of taking your landscape photos to the next level is experimenting with different gear, getting out of your comfort zone, and seeing landscapes through a different lens - no pun intended.

Though most landscape images you shoot will likely be with a wide-angle lens, it's certainly not the only option available to you.

In fact, I enjoy shooting landscapes with a telephoto lens quite a lot because the longer focal length offers such a completely different view of the landscape than a wide-angle lens.

As you can see above, there's a much greater intimacy to the shot when you frame all the extraneous features out of the image.

landscape telephotoPhoto by Rucksack Magazine on Unsplash

What's more, there's something to be said for focusing on the little details of a landscape that's so hard to do with a wide-angle lens.

By shooting telephoto, you can make a shadow or highlight, the shape of a mountain peak, the texture of a tree, and other smaller elements of the landscape the star of the shot.

Besides, since everyone else mostly shoots wide-angle, shooting a telephoto landscape image now and again will only help your photos stand out as being more unique and visually impactful.

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Make Your Shots Easier to Get With the Right Accessories

landscape photography concepts silhouette of professional picture id1065309602Photo by sukanya sitthikongsak via iStock

When I first started in photography, I just shot handheld all the time.

I didn't have a remote shutter release. I didn't have a tripod. I didn't have a ball head. I didn't have an L-bracket. Yea. Life was difficult!

So if you're determined to create more impactful photos, one of the best things you can do is get the gear that will make it easier for you to do so.

Of the accessories I noted above, I think an L-bracket is the most underrated.

Think about it - an L-bracket enables you to quickly release, turn, and remount your camera. That's true for both vertical and horizontal shots.

Not only is that an easier way to switch from vertical to horizontal shots, but it also means that you can retain your shooting position.

That, in turn, means you spend less time fiddling with your gear and more time actually shooting and concentrating on getting the most high-impact photos.

I personally use the Kirk BL-D850 L-bracket shown above, and I can attest to its ease of use, craftsmanship, and durability.

In fact, this thing never leaves my camera - it's that valuable to my workflow!

It fits my rig perfectly, doesn't impede my ability to swap out the battery or access the ports, and the lines on each axis help me be sure the sensor is centered.

If you want to improve your workflow (who doesn't?!) and get better shots more quickly and easily, an L-bracket is a great investment!

Plan and Prepare

Image Credit: ApertureXplorer

Sure, there are times when you're in the right place at the right time and just happen to take an incredible photo of a landscape.

But those times are few and far between. To get shots like the one you see above, you have to plan and prepare well before the shoot.

Planning and preparing runs the gamut from doing research on the location to determine the best spots for great shots to having the right apps on your phone so you know when sunrise and sunset occur.

What's more, you have to figure out how to get there, where to park, how far you need to walk or hike to get to your desired spot, and so forth.

Image Credit: ApertureXplorer

Of course, you can let someone else plan and prepare for you, that way you can concentrate on the creative aspects of improving your photos.

A great way to hand the reins over to someone else is to take a photography adventure...

Think about it - not only do you get to travel to gorgeous locations to take breathtaking photos, but you do so without having to plan or prepare anything.

Instead, you rely in the experts in charge to find the hot photography spots, to get you there in style and comfort, and to give you some pointers along the way to enhance your images even further.

Companies like ApertureXplorer specialize in giving their clients the utmost of landscape photography experiences.

Everything is planned down to the T, that way you don't have to worry about things like ground transportation in-country, accommodations, and most of your meals.

These small-group outings are ideal for photographers that want to improve the results they get because there's many opportunities for one-on-one instruction and for discussions with fellow travelers.

Whether you fancy a trip to the Pacific Northwest or Banff, Norway or Iceland, or someplace in between, the experts at ApertureXplorer will plan and prepare for you, that way you have the ultimate landscape photography experience.

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Bonus: Less-Than-Ideal Weather Can Equal More Impactful Photos

how to photograph weatherPhoto by Linda Söndergaard on Unsplash 

Though it's nice to head out on a perfect evening with no rain or wind and an unobstructed view of the sunset, the perfect weather doesn't always yield the best shot.

In fact, shooting in the rain or snow or fog can result in beautifully moody images that have an abundance of visual appeal.

Compare the image above with the image below and you'll see what I mean...

weather photography tipsPhoto by Lukas Neasi on Unsplash

Though there's nothing wrong with the first image, it doesn't have the same visual appeal as the second one.

The fog in the second shot gives the image wonderful mood - a sense of foreboding, even.

In that regard, the weather adds much more feeling to the second image that makes it a more impactful shot.

The point is that you can't control the weather, and if you head indoors each time the weather isn't ideal, you'll never get any shots off!

Instead, embrace what weather can do for your landscape photos and make it a highlight of the images you create.

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A Photographer’s Guide to Banff National Park

photographers guide to banffImage Credit: ApertureXplorer

If you've never been to Banff, you don't know what you're missing.

It's been years since I've been there, but what has never left me was the awe-inspiring beauty of that place.

I'm from California, so it's not like I don't have plenty of epic landscapes to explore.

But there was just something about Banff that seemed to make it a notch above anything else I've ever seen.

I'm not the only one that feels that way, either. Photographers flock to Banff year-round to document its beauty.

In this photographer's guide to Banff National Park, I outline a few of my favorite spots for photography.

Moraine Lake

moraine lake in banff alberta canada picture id546424192Image Credit: heyengel via iStock

Aside from being an incredibly beautiful place, Moraine Lake is also just a few miles from the town of Banff and Lake Louise (another must-see place), so it's easy to access as well.

The best time to be at Moraine Lake is before sunrise, that way you can capture the morning's first light illuminating the mountains that surround the lake.

Rather than simply standing on the shore of the lake, try hiking the Rock Pile Trail to get a higher perspective on the lake and the mountains beyond.

Likewise, renting a canoe and taking your camera out on the water gives you an opportunity to compose shots that offer a much more unique point of view than the typical tourist photos from the shore.

Must-See: The brilliant blue waters of the lake are a jaw-dropping sight, particularly if you capture shots at sunrise. The combination of the cool blue waters and the intense, warm colors of the sky is tough to beat!

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Johnston Canyon

waterfall at johnson canyon in banff national park of canada picture id503283849Image Credit: YinYang via iStock

What I loved about Johnston Canyon (aside from the fact that it's an incredibly easy hike) is that it was the most surprising of the places I visited in Banff.

By that, I mean that while Moraine Lake and Lake Louise and other iconic areas get all the attention, Johnston Canyon is equally as beautiful.

The trail leads you to two gorgeous waterfalls, which are worthy of the hike on their own.

hiking trail in johnson canyon in banff national park of canada picture id1020728512Image Credit: YinYang via iStock

But the hike itself is quite the experience - you walk along a number of catwalks that are attached to the canyon wall with the river raging below your feet.

Plus, this little Gem is just half an hour from Banff, so you can easily make a trip out to the Canyon and still have plenty of time to explore other areas the same day.

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Surprise Corner

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Another unexpectedly beautiful area in Banff is the aptly titled Surprise Corner.

Here, with a view across the Bow River, the spectacular sight of the Banff Springs Hotel greets your camera lens.

The hotel, which looks like a castle emerging from the forest in Bavaria, sits at the base of Sulfur Mountain, giving you the opportunity to create a postcard-like shot that includes a breathtaking landscape and one of the most beautiful structures in the world, all in the same shot.

Better still, Surprise Corner is the trailhead for two epic trails - the Hoodoos Trail and the Bow River Trail, each of which offers you stunning landscapes on which to train your camera.

This iconic spot is just a mile from downtown Banff, so it's easy to access as well.

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Final Thoughts

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When I visited Banff many years ago, I just winged it and asked locals where I should head next.

And while that ended up being an okay way to go about it, if I were to do it all over again, I'd do things much differently.

Rather than just going it on my own, I think the best way to see Banff would be as part of a photography workshop.

Think about it - what better way to see the sights than with expert photographers that have intimate familiarity with the area, and who can help you take better photos at the same time?

banff2 1Image Credit: ApertureXplorer

Additionally, by visiting Banff as a member of a photography workshop, you don't have to worry about things like lodging and local transportation because those things are included.

I like the idea of traveling to a beautiful place with like-minded photographers as well.

There's no complaining from the kids each time you stop the car to take a photo, no eye rolling from your wife when she sees you reaching for your camera...

banff3Image Credit: ApertureXplorer

Not all workshops are made alike, though.

Some cram uncomfortable vans full of as many people as possible to increase profits.

Others only take you to the most touristy of locations, where you have to fight with hundreds of other camera-toting people to get the shots you want.

ApertureXplorer, on the other hand, offers small group tours that take you to both well-known and off-the-beaten path locations. Now that's the way to do it!

If you're ready to explore Banff and do it in a way that maximizes your time and offers many opportunities to learn from other photographers, check out ApertureXplorer's Mystical World of Banff workshop coming up in July 2019.

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Experience a Photography Adventure in Iceland Like No Other

iceland photography

Unless you've been under a rock your whole life, you certainly know that Iceland is a dream destination for photographers.

From black sand beaches to incredible waterfalls, volcanoes to glaciers, hot springs to canyons, and everything in between, Iceland offers perhaps more fodder for a landscape photographer's camera than any other location on earth.

beautiful iceland waterfall

As a result, when planning a trip to Iceland, it can be a little overwhelming trying to decide what locations you can live without and which ones are must-see.

Here's a quick list of some of the best photography spots in Iceland to help you plan your Iceland photography adventure.

Haifoss & Granni - The Twin Waterfalls

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What's better than one beautiful waterfall? Two beautiful waterfalls.

Located in southern Iceland near the highlands, these twin waterfalls, both of which are fed by the Fossá River, a tributary of the Þjórsá, Iceland's longest river, cascade hundreds of feet down a cliff.

The Þjórsá is a glacier-fed river that cuts through the Þjórsárdalur Valley. Both it and the Fossá River have helped create a gorge through which the river's waters flow.

The terrain here is stunning - the flat valley contrasts beautifully with the steep walls of the gorge, giving you all sorts of textures and colors to highlight in your photos.

What's more, you can photograph the twin falls from the ridge of the gorge, which provides an ideal spot for a panoramic photo. But you can also hike down to the bottom of the falls for impressive shots of their termination at the bottom of the gorge.

Reynisdrangar Sea Cliffs

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Also in southern Iceland is another must-see location for your Iceland photography trip - the Reynisdrangar Sea Cliffs.

These massive basalt formations stand more than 200 feet above the surface of the ocean and the black sand beach below.

Legend has it that these formations were created when two trolls who were attempting to pull a three-mast ship toward shore were caught in the sunlight and turned into stone.

The cliffs aren't the only feature here to photograph, though.

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Reynisfjara Beach is a gorgeous, dramatic black sand beach (just one of many in Iceland, as shown above) that can more than stand on its own as the subject of your photographs.

In fact, the beach has been noted as being one of the most beautiful non-tropical beaches on earth.

Akranes Fishing Village

Hfrungur shipwreck

First settled in the 9th Century, Akranes is a quaint fishing village on Iceland's southwestern shore, not far from Reykjavik.

Most photographers that visit this area concentrate on the town's two lighthouses, one of which is still in use.

Langisandur Beach is another popular destination, which, along with the other beaches in the area, provide excellent opportunities for photographing the incredible array of birds that call this area home.

But the best hidden gem in Akranes is an old dry-docked ship that's just rotting away.

The Höfrungur was built in 1955 in the Akranes shipyard and was originally part of the local herring fleet.

However, the ship has been sitting there decaying for years and years, and makes for quite a dramatic subject for your images.

How to See Iceland

Fjarrgljfur Canyon

Though you can certainly tour Iceland on your own and have a great time, for my money, seeing Iceland as part of a photography expedition is the way to go.

Of course, being that Iceland is such a fantastic place for photographers, there are tons of photo tours available.

One that stands out, though, is the Land of Fire and Ice Expedition by ApertureXplorer.

There's a few reasons why this photography tour caught my eye.

First, it's nine days of adventuring in Iceland, seeing its beauty, and honing your photography skills.

Though it's impossible to see all of Iceland's beauty in a week and a half, it'll sure allow you to put a dent in your list of must-see places that this island nation has to offer.

Slheimasandur Plane Wreck

Second, the itinerary for this trip is absolutely stacked.

There's the usual suspects - Reykjavík, the Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck, Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, and Kirkjufell just to name a few.

But you also get to see lesser-known places like those I described earlier in the article to give you a more complete picture of what this part of Iceland is like.

The beauty of the itinerary - apart from the laundry list of possible locations - is that these locations are all located near one another. That means less travel time and more time behind the lens to capture the incredible beauty of Iceland.

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Lastly, something else that helps you get more time behind the camera and less time traveling from one location to the next is the fact that this expedition puts you in mobile accommodations.

That is, each night you'll sleep in a camper van on location.

Not only do these camper vans offer a comfortable place for two adults to sleep on a full-size mattress, but they also allow the expedition to be far more flexible regarding the places to see and stay.

There's no more cutting your photo sessions short to catch a shuttle back to the hotel. Instead, you can stay out there in the beauty of Iceland with the ability to get up at a moment's notice to capture the breathtaking scenery before you.

photos of iceland

It also helps that ApertureXplorers is run by two young, ambitious gentlemen by the names of James Conomea and Kyle Doughty.

Like me, both James and Kyle are trained pilots that rekindled their childhood passion for photography later on in life.

Their approach to photography adventures - to bring people to areas of the world they might not otherwise get to see and to tell stories with their photos - is an inspiring way to see the world and learn more about how to take incredible photos.

James and Kyle's Iceland expedition is scheduled for October 15-23, 2018. If you've ever thought about visiting Iceland, doing so with these guys leading the way is the best way to do it!

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Landscape Photography Tips: How to Photograph Mountains

mountain photography tips

Not sure why your photos of mountains don't look that great?

Well, it could be because of any number of simple mistakes that diminish your ability to get the best shots.

In fact, I'd say that the majority of landscape photography mistakes are just that - simple errors that have a big negative impact.

With that in mind, here's a few tips on how to photograph mountains the right way.

How to Photograph Mountains: Pay Attention to the Light

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Perhaps the most common issue when photographing mountains is simply not paying attention to the light.

The whole point of photographing a mountain is to put its rugged beauty on display, and some types of lighting simply prevent you from doing that.

Frontlighting, or when the sun is behind you and shining directly on the mountains, eliminates any hope of seeing the textures and details of the mountains.

This is especially true when the photo is taken during the middle of the day when the quality of sunlight is its worst, as shown above.

how to photograph mountains

Instead, seek out opportunities to photograph mountains using sidelighting.

With the sunlight entering the scene from the right or left, you not only have light that accentuates the textures of the mountains, but you also have the opportunity to incorporate long, sweeping shadows into the shot as well.

This interplay between shadow and light gives mountain photos much more drama, especially if you shoot in the early morning or late evening when sunlight takes on a much warmer and appealing quality.

So, wherever the sun is, turn 90-degrees and start shooting. You'll end up with far more dramatic photos!

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Filters are a Must for Mountain Photography

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Even when shooting in the best light of the day, you'll often find that your images of mountains still need a little help when it comes to controlling contrast.

That is, the landscape is usually darker than the sky above it, and your camera can struggle to come to terms with how to manage that. In some cases, the sky might be well-exposed but the landscape is too dark. In other cases, the landscape might be well-exposed but the sky is too bright.

You can overcome these obstacles by using a graduated neutral density filter like the one shown above.

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These filters are dark on the top, which blocks some of the brightness of the sky, while having no impact on the landscape below.

The result is a more even exposure from top to bottom, as seen above.

And the best part? You take care of this problem in the field while you're staring at a gorgeous landscape instead of in post-processing while you're hunched over your computer in your basement. It's a win-win!

Editor's Tip: Add a polarizing filter to your camera bag, too. Polarizers help boost contrast in the sky, reduce glare off of water, and minimize atmospheric haze.

Mountain Photography Tip: Stop Shooting at f/22

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A misconception among many photographers that enjoy landscapes is that they have to slam their aperture down to f/22 to get the best depth of field.

The problem with doing that is that no lens - not even expensive, professional ones - is its sharpest at its minimum or maximum aperture. That means that when you shoot at f/22, you're sacrificing sharpness in the shot.

Instead, you'll get better results by using a wider aperture.

So long as there isn't anything immediately in front of you in the scene, you can go virtually as wide as you want with the aperture and still have good depth of field.

The best results, though, come from shooting in your lens's sweet spot, or the aperture at which the lens is the sharpest.

The sweet spot is different for every lens, but a good rule of thumb is that it's in the f/8-f/11 range.

Learn how to find your lens's sweet spot and start taking sharper photos of mountains.

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Tips for Photographing Mountains: Plan Ahead

the dolomites

I cannot emphasize enough how important planning is to the process of photographing mountains (or any subject, for that matter).

If you don't plan ahead, you will find yourself dealing with bad light, bad weather, getting lost, not having the right gear, and other factors that inhibit your ability to get high-quality photos.

That's why participating in a photo tour is such a great idea.

Think about it...

When you join a photography tour, all the planning is taken care of. You don't have to make hotel reservations or Google Maps your way from one spot to the next. You also don't have to scout locations or figure out the must-see locations that you need to photograph.

Instead, you can sit back, relax, and focus on honing your craft and learning from skilled photographers as they lead the tour.

landscape photography tips

For my money, there's no better way to learn how to photograph mountains than by a photography tour like ApertureXplorer's Southern France, Swiss Alps, and Dolomite Mountains Tour.

When it comes to iconic mountains, it doesn't get any better than the Alps.

Between the Matterhorn, the Dolomites, and all the valleys, lakes, forests, glaciers, and rivers in between, the Alps provide you with endless opportunities for photographing landscapes.

And to say that you'll travel in style is an understatement...


ApertureXplorers not only focuses your time on learning new skills and expanding your abilities as a photographer, but they also ensure that you enjoy hiking the countryside, enjoying excellent food, exploring the quaint villages and bustling cities in these regions, and meeting the wonderful locals.

On the Northern Italy leg of the journey, world-renown landscape photographer Nico Rinaldi will join the tour and take you to some of the best locations in the Alps for capturing breathtaking photos.

Perhaps even better, this photography tour isn't only about the mountains.

You'll spend time in Geneva, Milan, Pisa, and Monaco, as well as the breathtaking lavender fields in Southern France.

aperturexplorer alps tour

To top it all off, a photography tour like this one gives you a chance to learn how to be a better photographer and immediately put those skills to the test.

With personal photography lessons, time to learn how to process images, and opportunities to share and critique photos with the group, this is a true photography learning experience.

If you want to step up your mountain photography game, visit ApertureXplorers to sign up for their Alps photo tour. The trip is August 29-September 7, 2018, so time is of the essence!

Editor's Tip: Iceland is one of the most breathtaking landscapes on earth. See why you need to explore Iceland with your camera.

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Simple Ideas to Help You Improve Your Landscape Photography

improve landscape photographyImage Credit: MarioGuti via iStock

Landscape photography isn't just about aiming your camera at something pretty and pressing the shutter button.

Instead, good landscape photography requires that you develop the scene, compose the shot such that you guide viewers through it, and tell a story about what you've captured.

If that sounds hard to do, it is!

Becoming a master photographer takes a lot of time, patience, and practice, but there are steps you can take that will make that journey shorter and more fruitful.

Below, I've outlined a few of my favorite ways to improve your landscape photography.

Photograph the Same Subject at Different Times of Day

half dome in yosemite national park picture id507684122Image Credit: MarcusMeisler via iStock

I have a few favorite photography spots I like to visit, and I find that I tend to visit them at the same time of day each time.

Part of that is due to scheduling, but even on the weekends when I'm free, I go to the same places at the same time and take very similar-looking shots.

An easy way to change things up for you and me both is to try visiting your favorite photography spots at different points throughout the day.

yosemites half dome sunset from glacier point picture id480085336Image Credit: Brandon_Nimon via iStock

The beach you love to photograph at sunset will look completely different at sunrise. Likewise, late morning, noon, afternoon, and evening offer different looks as well. Just look at the two images of Half Dome above - you can see how dramatically different it looks at different times of day!

Granted, sunrise and sunset are usually the best times of day to photograph landscapes, but you never know when more direct sun might actually benefit the photos you take.

For example, black and white photos are a great option for those days when the sun is bright and harsh. The contrast the sun creates can make for a beautiful black and white image.

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Improve Landscape Photography by Shooting From a Low Angle

rocky beach in colors picture id669857298Image Credit: raung via iStock

If you look at landscape photos on Flickr, Instagram, and other storehouses of images, you'll find that many of them are taken from the same point of view - a normal eye level.

That's all well and good, and often an eye-level shot works just fine.

However, to create a more impactful and unique image, getting down low to shoot your landscapes is a great tip.

the gold of dolomites picture id182066677Image Credit: Scacciamosche via iStock

By shooting from a low angle, you bring more foreground into the shot. The details in the foreground can adds tons of depth and dimension to the image, which, in turn, gives the image more visual appeal.

You can pair the low-angle trick with using a wide-angle lens to maximize your results, too.

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Participate in a Photography Workshop

Image Credit: ApertureXplorer

I'm obviously a huge advocate for learning photography online via tutorials, videos, and so forth.

But there's extreme value in taking part in photography workshops as well.

Think about it...

You get to learn photography in a beautiful location, often with a very small group of other photography enthusiasts.

What's more, if you choose the right photography tour company, you'll be led by a professional photographer that's invested in helping you learn how to get better at photography.

Image Credit: ApertureXplorer

Take ApertureXplorer as a prime example of why a workshop is an ideal learning tool.

For starters, they offer photography adventures the world over, from Utah to the Swiss Alps, the Pacific Northwest to Norway, and various points in between.

While in these stellar locations, you'll learn skills related to using your camera, composing the shot, post-processing, and more.

Additionally, ApertureXplorer keeps its workshops very small, that way you have more one-on-one time with the instructor.

Image Credit: ApertureXplorer

The amount of learning that takes place during a photography tour is incredible as well.

The intensive nature of these workshops means that you can end the tour having grown by leaps and bounds - something that happens in the course of a few days rather than a few weeks or months.

It's also nice to travel with other photography enthusiasts - people that won't complain about stopping the car to get out and shoot!

There are tons of landscape photography tips that will help you get better results, but at the top of that list should be taking a photography tour!

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Simple, Yet Impactful Landscape Photography Tips

easy landscape photography tipsImage Credit: skynesher via iStock

The great thing about landscape photography is that it's incredibly accessible - anyone with a camera has the opportunity to take photos of sunsets, mountains, beaches, lakes, and so forth.

Of course, taking photos of landscapes and taking good photos of landscapes are two different things...

To maximize your efforts, you need to rely on tried-and-true landscape photography tips.

Editor's Tip: Not sure where to take your next photography adventure? Learn why the Pacific Northwest should be at the top of your list.

Introduce Motion

sol duc falls picture id962037446Image Credit: HaizhanZheng via iStock

One of my favorite ways to create a landscape image with tons of impact is to slow the shutter down to blur motion of things like clouds or water.

Doing so makes the image instantly more dynamic, particularly if you concentrate on composing the shot such that there are static elements that contrast with the movement you've created.

And while long exposure photography might seem hard to pull off, it's actually a simple matter of adjusting the shutter speed to get the desired effect.

For example, if you're photographing a river that's moving at a rapid clip, a shutter speed of 1/4 or 1/8 seconds might be slow enough to blur the water's movement.

Of course, shooting long exposures at dusk and at night are a little more straightforward because the dim lighting means that you can slow the shutter without necessarily having to use a neutral density filter.

But if you want to shoot long exposure landscapes during the daytime, a neutral density filter is a must, otherwise you'll end up with photos that are vastly overexposed.

If you're new to neutral density filters, check out the video above by Josh Katz for a thorough explanation.

Quick Tip: If you want to shoot long exposures, you'll need a solid tripod to stabilize your camera. Even if you have the steady hands of a surgeon, you still won't be able to hold the camera still enough for a long exposure.

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Don't Just Shoot Wide-Angle

corbiere lighthousejersey picture id117147290Image Credit: Alan_Lagadu via iStock

If you look at any collection of landscape photos, the vast majority of them will have been shot with a wide-angle lens (i.e., less than 24mm).

Though wide-angle lenses have plenty to offer landscape photographers, they aren't the only option.

In fact, you can take some pretty epic photos with a longer lens, like a 50mm or 85mm prime, a 24-70mm zoom lens, or even a 300mm telephoto lens.

The advantage of using a longer focal length lens is that as the focal length increases, the larger that distant objects appear in the shot.

mists and light on ordesa walls picture id861647984Image Credit: Xavier Manrique via iStock

So, that mountain range 25 miles away that looks like a tiny hill in your wide-angle shot will look much more like a mountain in a shot from the same spot with a telephoto lens.

Another advantage of using a longer focal length is that allows you to create much more intimate photos of elements in the landscape that might get lost in a wide-angle shot.

A tree here, a wildflower there, and so forth can become the star of the photo, rather than just a supporting element.

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Don't Automatically Shoot at f/22

desert sunset picture id658653498Image Credit: 35007 via iStock

There's a common photography suggestion that if you're shooting landscapes to shoot at f/22.

That's because f/22 is a very small aperture, and the smaller the aperture, the larger the depth of field (the area of the image that's in focus).

On the surface, this makes perfect sense because most landscapes benefit from having a very large depth of field.

The problem, though, is that by using a lens's smallest aperture, you run the risk of the image being "soft," or not completely sharp.

That's because no lens - not even $5,000 professional glass - gives you the sharpest results at the smallest aperture.

So, instead of going immediately to f/22, try f/16, f/11, or even f/8.

Unless there's something immediately in front of your lens, using one of these smaller apertures will still give you plenty of depth of field to get everything nice and sharp.

Editor's Tip: There's gorgeous landscapes all over the world that you can photograph. Discover why the Alps can make a case for being among the best locations for landscape photography.

Never Stop Learning

banff photography tourImage Credit: ApertureXplorer

Learning how to become a better photographer is not something that ends after a particular amount of time behind the camera.

Instead, if you want to stay on top of your game, it's important to pursue learning opportunities at every turn.

Consulting tutorials like this is a great start. YouTube is a fantastic resource, too.

If you really want to learn a lot about how to be a photographer, though, one of the best choices you can make is to take a photography expedition.

how to learn landscape photographyImage Credit: ApertureXplorer

Think about it - on a photography expedition, you're put smack dab in an iconic and breathtaking landscape with the benefit of having an expert photographer and guide to help you along the way.

That means that you not only have the scenery you need to capture a magical shot, but you also have someone right alongside you to answer your questions, guide your development as a photographer, and provide you with crucial feedback to improve your photos.

You have to be selective when thinking about a photography expedition, though. Some are hastily planned or have huge groups that limit your one-on-one time with the instructor.

But others, like ApertureXplorer, offer top-of-the-line experiences in which everything is planned for you and your fellow learners.

landscape photography tipsImage Credit: ApertureXplorer

Take, for example, their Mystical World of Banff expedition in July 2019.

Limited to just a handful of participants, this photography workshop takes you to some of Canada's most breathtaking sites, including Banff, Mount Rundle, the Vermillion Lakes, Sundance Canyon, and Surprise Corner, just to name a few.

But it isn't just the locations you visit that are impressive.

Instead, ApertureXplorer ensures that everyone on the expedition has what they need to succeed.

Whether you're a beginner or an expert, your guides takes the time to learn about who you are and what skill level you're at.

You also get a quick syllabus of materials to work on during the expedition so you can set personal goals for growth.

photography expeditionsImage Credit: ApertureXplorer

And you don't have to worry about planning a thing! Lodging and transportation are provided once the group arrives in Banff.

Once in Banff, the group will also enjoy most lunches on the go in order to maximize shooting time, but the group will have opportunities to eat breakfast and dinner together at restaurants of the group's choosing in Banff.

In other words, you can explore the beauty of nature in style, learn a lot of photography skills, and enjoy the company of other photography enthusiasts all at the same time.

Now that's how to learn landscape photography!

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Top Tips for Photographing Waterfalls

waterfall photography tips

Of all the beautiful landscape features I love to photograph, waterfalls have to be a the top of the list.

There's just so many different types of waterfalls with so many different looks that the possibilities are endless for creating awesome photos.

Add in the long exposure element, and you've got even more options!

But if you've ever tried to photograph a waterfall before, you know it's a little easier said than done.

That being the case, here's a few quick tips for photographing waterfalls.

Necessary Gear for Photographing Waterfalls

adventurous landscape photographer at waterfall photographing natural picture id918142620

First things first, you need to have the right gear to get the best-quality waterfall photos.

Naturally, a camera with manual controls that allow you manipulate the exposure settings is a big plus. So is a wide-angle lens for capturing the breadth and height of the waterfall. A tripod is an absolute must, too.

I strongly recommend having a polarizing filter in your bag, as it will help eliminate glare off the surface of the water. A variety of neutral density filters that allow you to play with varying long shutter speeds is a good thing to have in your bag as well.

To ensure the sharpest images, either use your camera's timer function or invest in a remote shutter release. Either way, being able to trigger the shutter without pressing the shutter button will help keep camera movements that cause unintended blur at bay.

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Waterfall Photography Tips: Plan Ahead

amazing beautiful waterfalls in autumn forest picture id671988612

If you want the best results, you need to think ahead about what waterfalls you intend to photograph, the time of year you should visit to maximize the beauty of the surroundings, and even the time of day you visit each waterfall.

Clearly, the planning component isn't terribly fun, but the more time you spend figuring out what you're doing and when, the better off your photos will be.

It's great to visit a waterfall in the spring when the water levels are at their highest, but would it be even prettier if you visited in the fall when the plants in the area are bursting with color?

young photographer taking photos in sunset picture id814496198

Likewise, your view of a waterfall in the early morning might be breathtaking, but what if the waterfall looks even better at sunset?

When planning your outings, a quick Google search of the waterfall you'd like to photograph will reap you tons of information - including images that can help clue you in regarding the best time of year and time of day to go shoot, as well as popular and off-the-beaten-path vantage points for taking photos.

seljalandsfoss waterfall in iceland picture id861606856

Of course, an even better option is to join a photography expedition in which all that planning stuff is taken care of for you.

Think about it...you let seasoned photographers and travel experts do all the heavy lifting of finding the best landscapes to photograph, and then you go along for the ride, taking photos of breathtaking waterfalls and other scenery while learning a few tricks of the trade along the way.

Not a bad proposition, right?

Multnomah Falls

If waterfalls are your landscape photography holy grail, then consider visiting a couple of the most spectacular waterfalls the Pacific Northwest has to offer in March 2019 with ApertureXplorer.

This five-day expedition will take you to the famed Multnomah Falls with its cascading waters rushing underneath a beautiful, arched bridge. Then you'll head to Silver Falls, where you can actually walk behind the waterfall and explore the lush, green landscape surrounding it.

silver falls

And since it's a true expedition, you'll get to see other gorgeous sites in the area, from Portland, Oregon to the Columbia River Gorge, Thor's Well to Cannon Beach and various points in between.

That means that you get to explore all sorts of landscapes and cityscapes while further developing your photography skills and your creative eye.

landscape photography tips

If a photography adventure is what you want, then the ApertureXplorer Oregon expedition is for you.

Let them do the planning, the guiding, and the driving so you can sit back, enjoy the scenery, and learn skills to improve your photography, too.

Registration is open for this March 3-8, 2019 expedition. Click here for details.

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Camera Settings for Waterfall Photography

male hiker photographing a waterfall in forest picture id580120812

Every waterfall is different with varying lighting conditions that necessitate changing your exposure settings.

That being said, you can at least start out with certain camera settings as a good base from which to work.

One constant is that you'll want to use the lowest ISO value possible.

Not only does this help minimize noise in your shots, but it also facilitates longer shutter speeds to get beautifully blurry water. Get more details on how to shoot waterfalls in the video below by Tony and Chelsea Northrup:

Another setting you should minimize (within reason) is the aperture.

By using a smaller aperture, you again facilitate longer shutter speeds because a smaller aperture allows less light into the camera.

But I say to minimize it within reason because shooting at the smallest value possible - which is usually f/22 - will cause the image to be soft or blurry around the edges.

Instead, try f/11 or f/16 (which is nearer the lens's sweet spot) and see if that gets you a long enough shutter speed without having to use a neutral density filter.

multnomah falls in autumn picture id505717166

Granted, if you're using a neutral density filter (and to a certain extent, a polarizing filter), there will be less light entering the lens.

That means that you can use a higher ISO or larger aperture if needed because the filter will block out enough light to maintain a long shutter speed.

For example, if you're shooting at ISO 100 with an aperture of f/16 and have a shutter speed of 1/250th seconds, using an ND 0.3 filter would extend the shutter speed to 1/125th seconds. Add an ND 3.0 filter and the shutter speed can be extended to 4 seconds.

So, depending on the lighting that's available, the look you want in your photos, and the presence or absence of filters, you'll need to do some experimentation with your camera settings to get the best results.

In the end, learning how to photograph waterfalls and other landscapes simply requires practice and patience. Use these landscape photography tips as a springboard for getting improved photos, and consider taking a photography expedition to get tons of time behind your lens to perfect your craft.

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Why Every Photographer Needs to Visit Iceland

iceland photography guideImage Credit: ApertureXplorer

Iceland is a magical place to visit and to photograph with a variety of landscapes that is unparalleled in the world.

For that reason, my guess is that if you ask a group of landscape photographers that the vast majority of them would say Iceland is on the top of their list of places to visit.

I know it's at the top of my list!

If you've ever wondered if Iceland is the place for you to explore your landscape photography abilities, check out the reasons below why photography in Iceland should be a priority for you.

Iceland is Home to More Than 10,000 Waterfalls

photography in icelandImage Credit: ApertureXplorer 

Iceland might be a tiny island, but it has its fair share of waterfalls, like Skogafoss, the nearly 200-foot-high waterfall in the image above.

Iceland doesn't have run-of-the-mill waterfalls, either...

The climate in Iceland is ideally suited for waterfalls because of the frequent rain and snow the island receives throughout the year.

Add to that the fact that there are 269 named glaciers on the island that add melt water to rivers, and you have a recipe for some of the most breathtaking waterfalls on the planet.

iceland photographyImage Credit: estivillml via iStock

One of the most breathtaking waterfalls in Iceland is Ofaerufoss (shown above), a multi-level waterfall that's located in the Canyon of Fire in the Icelandic Highland.

The canyon is nearly 25 miles long and was formed by a volcanic eruption around the year 930.

The waterfall emerges from the canyon in an area in which the canyon is over 650 feet high and nearly 2,000 feet wide.

Editor's Tip: Don't have much time to explore Iceland? Make plans to see these 5 Top Photography Hot Spots.

Sunsets in Stokksnes Can't Be Missed

iceland photo guideImage Credit: skynesher via iStock

If you're a fan of sunsets (who isn't?!), then the Stokksnes peninsula in the southeastern portion of Iceland is a place you have to see and photograph.

Stokksnes is home to Vestrahorn, one of Iceland's most impressive and beautiful mountains.

Its peak rises nearly 1,500 feet above the sea, with steep cliffs dipping down to the black sand beaches below.

As if that's not tantalizing enough, the setting sun perfectly illuminates the jagged rock formations, leaving you with a scene with gorgeous light and contrast across the stark landscape.

Reykjavik is a Center of Culture and History

northern lights shining over the church in reykjavik picture id902340752Image Credit: f11photo via iStock

Though Iceland's landscapes are its claim to fame, it would be a shame to dismiss the beauty and history offered by its capital city, Reykjavik.

From Hallgrimskirkja Church (shown above) to quaint streets filled with brightly colored buildings, there's no shortage of cityscapes and architecture for you to capture with your lens.

If that's not up your alley, the city is a vibrant cultural center with museums and historical areas that can occupy your time for days and days.

Reykjavik has an incredible culinary scene as well, and local delicacies are not to be missed - nor is the city's nightlife!

As if that's not enough, the city has tons of parks and green spaces that allow you to soak up the sun and enjoy the temperate climate in the winter, or grab a few friends for a snowball fight in the winter.

Reykjavik is also a fantastic place to see the Northern Lights, and if you have your camera, you can capture dazzling shots of the auroras dancing above the city.

Editor's Tip: Ready to take the plunge and tour Iceland? Do it in style in a photography tour like no other.

How to See Iceland

Image Credit: ApertureXplorer

The problem - if you can call it that - with visiting Iceland is that there is just so much to see, do, and photograph that it can be almost crippling trying to decide where to go once you get there.

Rather than wringing your hands with indecision and worrying about things like ground transportation and lodging, it makes sense to explore Iceland as part of a photography tour.

And man, do I have a photography tour to recommend...

ApertureXplorer has an incredible 9-day Iceland adventure coming up in October 2019 that will make you wonder why you ever considered exploring this gorgeous country on your own.

Image Credit: ApertureXplorer

For starters, the itinerary for this trip is chock full of incredible locations, from well-known areas like Reykjavik, Haifoss, and the Solheimasandur Plane Wreck, as well as off-the-beaten-path locations where you can get away from the crowds and enjoy the beauty of Iceland with your fellow tour mates.

Additionally, this photography adventure takes you all over the island, so you can experience all the best that Iceland has to offer from coast to coast.

ApertureXplorers specializes in small group tours as well.

That means that you get more one-on-one time with the group leaders, getting advice on how to improve your photography. It's also a great way to get to know your travel partners better because there's so few of you!

Image Credit: ApertureXplorer

Perhaps best of all, for the majority of your time in Iceland, you'll be traveling and staying in awesome camper vans.

Each van has sleeping accommodations for two adults and allows the group to spend less time traveling from hotels to shoot locations and more time actually out taking photos of all the breathtaking scenery that Iceland offers.

The flexibility that these mobile accommodations gives you means you'll be more likely to see the Northern Lights in addition to being able to make quick adjustments for weather conditions.

In other words, this photography tour is the ultimate way to see Iceland!

Get more details about ApertureXplorer's Iceland Adventure, scheduled for October 15-23, 2019.

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Why Every Photographer Should Attend a Photography Workshop

best photography workshopsImage Credit: AleksandarNakic via iStock 

I often get the question, "Why should I attend a photography workshop?"

Usually, that question comes from beginner photographers that want to improve their skills, but are a little shy about joining up a group of photographers that might have more experience and a  better skill set than they do.

Sometimes, I even get that question from more experienced photographers that might think that they already know enough to get by.

I've attended numerous photo workshops over the years, and each time I've come away with a better understanding of why they're so valuable.

So, if you're on the fence about taking a photography tour or joining a photography workshop, here's a few reasons why I think there's no better way to learn photography.

Editor's Tip: Improve your photography skills in one of the most breathtaking areas on earth. Learn why Iceland should be on your must-see list of places to visit.

Photo Workshops Provide Deep-Dive Learning Opportunities

tourist finds a vantage point to photograph the three sisters in blue picture id939558392Image Credit: CBCK-Christine via iStock

The whole point of a photography workshop is to help you develop improved skills and deepen your knowledge of photography.

So it should be no surprise that one of the greatest benefits of a photography workshop is that you have the chance to learn a lot in a relatively short amount of time. Think of it like an immersion class, only instead of being in a classroom, you're out and about in some of the most spectacular locations in the world.

Photographers of all skill levels join photography workshops, so no matter if you're a beginner or an expert, you'll likely find other people in the group with a similar skill level.

That's advantageous from a learning perspective because you can work together and offer one another feedback that helps you both improve the quality of your photos.

photo workshopImage Credit: lucascavalheiro via iStock

What's more, some photography workshops limit the number of participants to just a handful of people.

As you might imagine, the smaller the group, the more one-on-one time you'll get with the group leader for fine-tuning your approach to taking photos.

When looking for a photography workshop, definitely check on the size of the group, the number of leaders, as well as the experience level of the leaders.

After all, you want to maximize your opportunities to learn, and you want to learn from photographers that have experience not just taking great photos, but teaching others how to take great photos as well.

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Photography Workshops Offer No-Worry Travel

photography workshopImage Credit: pchoui via iStock

Another benefit of participating in a photography workshop is that you can actually focus all of your attention on photography because the travel arrangements are taken care of for you.

Apart from getting yourself to the destination, you really don't have to make any decisions about lodging, transportation, or the locations you visit.

Most photography workshops are guided by experts that have been to the location you visit over and over and over again.

So not only do you benefit from the fact that you can have a no-worry travel experience, but you'll also benefit from their knowledge of the area and their ability to get you to both popular and lesser-known sites at the right time of day at the right time of year to maximize your experience.

Editor's Tip: You don't have to travel far to have the photography experience of a lifetime. See why the Pacific Northwest is a photographer's playground.

Photo Workshops Will Inspire You to Be Better

nature photographer with tripod an backpack in the alps picture id598829240Image Credit: DieterMeyrl via iStock

There's nothing quite like being outdoors with your camera, taking photos of beautiful scenery.

I find that my visits to places like Joshua Tree and Yosemite inspire me to work harder and be better as a photographer.

But when you visit iconic locations like Iceland or the Alps, doing so as part of a photography workshop only amplifies the inspiration you find.

That's because you feed off the energy of the other photographers and the group leaders. You find another degree of passion for photography and landscapes that you didn't know existed.

Reveling in the success of your peers as you share images and offer feedback to one another further inspires you to be better, too.

Learning about photography by reading a tutorial online while you sit on your couch is certainly one way to improve your photography.

But actually getting out there with like-minded individuals and exploring your talents as a photographer in a jaw-dropping location is definitely worth the time, money and effort!

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Bonus: The Best Photography Workshops Help You Find Your Voice

some views are worth the effort picture id522142896Image Credit: pixdeluxe via iStock

A problem in modern photography - as I see it, anyway - is that too many of us are wrapped up in trying to replicate what others do.

By that, I mean that instead of seeing gorgeous photos of this location or that location on Instagram and trying to redo what's already been done, we should focus more on developing our own voice and photographic style.

And a photography workshop is the ideal situation to do just that...

In the supportive environment of a photo workshop, you feel free to experiment with your approach and learn new ways of seeing the world through your camera.

What's more, you can find new ways to challenge yourself to learn technical or artistic skills that will improve the quality of your photos.

Again, the immersive nature of a photography workshop makes all this possible in a very short period of time. If you want to quickly improve your skill set and produce images with more visual appeal, a photography workshop is the way to do it!

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Why Your Landscape Photos Are No Good (and What to Do About It)

improve landscape photographyPhoto by Rob Bates on Unsplash

While some people believe that landscape photography is easy, good landscape photography is anything but.

It's much more than getting out of the car, pointing your camera at something pretty, and pressing the shutter button.

In fact, there's a million different ways that a landscape photo can go wrong.

If you find that your images are boring, uninspiring, or just otherwise not all that impressive, you might be making one of these crucial landscape photography mistakes.

Landscape Photography Mistake #1: No Focal Point

big sur coastline panorama at sunset california usa picture id917302792Image Credit: bluejayphoto via iStock

One of the most common mistakes people make when taking a photo of a landscape is not having a strong focal point to grab the viewer's attention.

This usually happens because in real life, the scene is so striking as a whole that we assume the scene will be equally as striking in an image. That's not always the case.

The image above, for example, has many great qualities about it. I would even say that it's a good photo. It would be better with a strong focal point, though.

mountain landscape ponta delgada island azores picture id944812540Image Credit: boule13 via iStock

One solution to this issue is to use leading lines as a means of directing the viewer to a specific area of the photo.

In this example, the pathway leads us directly to the sunset, which helps define it as the focal point of the image.

What's more, the pathway acts as a means of restricting our view a little bit - rather than the scene seeming so wide and featureless, our eyes immediately have a place to go and the image makes more visual sense.

Something as simple as adding leading lines can make all the difference in the world when trying to establish a feature in your image as the focal point of the shot.

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Landscape Photography Mistake #2: Lack of Depth

mam tor at sunrise in the english peak district picture id642591084Image Credit: Daniel_Kay via iStock

Another mistake that landscape photographers often commit is not having enough depth in their photos.

By that, I'm not talking about depth of field, rather, I'm talking about incorporating elements into the foreground that provide some clues as to the dimensionality of the scene in the shot.

This is difficult, given that a photograph is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional space.

However, there's an easy trick to add depth to your landscape images...

landscape foregroundImage Credit: Oleh_Slobodeniuk via iStock

All you have to do is take up a lower shooting position and incorporate something in the foreground.

By dropping down to ground level, you're more able to highlight elements like rocks or plants that can provide depth and layers to the shot.

In comparing the two example images above, you can see how the eye-level perspective of the first one all but eliminates the visual interest in the foreground.

But in the second example, the lower angle brings in the additional layer of the plants in the foreground that give us a little more context regarding the distance of the lake, the treeline, and the mountains beyond.

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Landscape Photography Mistake #3: Not Taking Your Skills to the Next Level

kal loftus 592129 unsplashPhoto by Kal Loftus on Unsplash

Getting complacent with photography is a surefire way to produce images that aren't all that compelling...

Sure, you might have good skills now that result in more nice-looking images than not, but there is always something to learn that can elevate your images even more. That's true whether you're a brand-new photographer or a seasoned pro.

Naturally, the way to rectify this mistake is to commit yourself to constantly learning new skills.

From camera tricks to compositional ideas to post-processing hacks and everything in between, there are loads of ways that you can enhance your ability to create a better image.

improve landscapesPhoto by Nicola Nuttall on Unsplash

And as great as free learning tools (like this!) can be for your development, there's something to be said about the value of taking part in a photography workshop.

I know that "workshop" conjures up notions of sitting in a classroom listening to a boring lecture about photography. That's not what I'm talking about.

Instead, a photography adventure in which you get to explore some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world sounds like a much better learning experience, don't you think?

Companies like ApertureXplorer specialize in taking small groups of photographers to off-the-beaten-path locations for field-based learning that you simply cannot beat.

landscape photography mistakesPhoto by Fredrick Kearney Jr on Unsplash 

Given that the groups are so small - sometimes just three or four people - you're guaranteed a good amount of one-on-one time with the expedition leader.

Not only that, but the small groups facilitate camaraderie between you and the other participants and gives you a chance to learn even more about photography from the other people on the trip.

There's no planning on your part, either (apart from getting yourself to the destination, of course). Once you're there though, it's a simple matter of going along for the ride and learning new skills as you explore iconic locations like Iceland, the American Southwest, and points in between.

It's a mistake to settle for images that are "good enough." Instead, strive to always be better! Using these tips, you can do just that.

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