- Landscape Photography Technique #1 - Invest in the Right Gear
- Landscape Photography Technique #2 - Scout the Location
- Landscape Photography Technique #3 - Know Your Timings
- Landscape Photography Technique #4 - Make a Shot List
- Landscape Photography Technique #5 - Check the Weather
- Showcase Your Improved Results With High-Quality Prints
- More Landscape Photography Tips for Beginners
- Recommended Photography Gear
- Crucial Tips for Preparing Your First Photography Exhibit
- 5 Ways to Help Your Kid Develop as a Young Photographer
- Understand the basics of the exposure triangle (shutter speed, aperture, ISO)
- Learn proper composition and lighting technique
- Shoot RAW files
- Don’t be afraid to edit your images
- Practice, practice, practice!
Photo by Sam De Nike via iStock
Landscape photography is a beautiful art form practiced by millions of people across the globe–professionals and amateurs alike. And while we would all like to believe we shoot images capable of gracing the cover of National Geographic, sadly, that’s not true (yet!).
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at an essential landscape photography technique most photographers overlook: planning! Trust us. You’ll be amazed by how quickly your landscape photography results improve with just a little planning.
From owning the correct gear and location scouting to creating a shot list and understanding weather/sun patterns, we’ll share five key things we do before every successful landscape photography shoot. Additionally, we’ll recommend our favorite way to display our best landscape images.
So, whether you are a beginner just starting with landscape photography, an amateur looking to take the next step in your photography career, or a professional searching for ways to enhance your images, join us as we discover the lost art of planning!
Check out the video above by Thomas Heaton to learn how a successful professional landscape photographer plans his photo shoots.
Table of Contents
Landscape Photography Technique #1 - Invest in the Right Gear
Photo by Anastasiia Shavshyna via iStock
The first step in planning any activity is ensuring you have the right equipment, and it’s the same for landscape photography. Starting with the basics, you need a good DSLR or mirrorless camera and a wide-angle lens. Since nature is unpredictable, both should be environmentally sealed to protect against water, moisture, dust, sand, etc.
Other essential landscape photography gear includes a stable tripod, a camera backpack, lens filters, and spare batteries/memory cards. Also, drones are a magical tool for capturing unique perspectives of landscapes through aerial photography. We love the DJI Mavic 3 because of its high-quality photos/videos and portable size.
Landscape Photography Technique #2 - Scout the Location
Photo by courtneyk via iStock
Once you have the right gear and know where you want to go, scouting the location is the next step to planning a landscape photography shoot. Visiting beforehand lets you create a mental map of the area and start visualizing the shots you want to capture. Pro tip: leave the camera behind during scouting and bring a notepad instead–use your phone for photos if necessary.
Physically scouting the location is ideal, but we know that may not always be possible. If that’s the case, Google is your best friend. Use Google Images to better understand the landscape/terrain and Google Maps to get yourself oriented to the location. Webcams are also a great tool to check out if they are available.
Landscape Photography Technique #3 - Know Your Timings
Photo by AngiePhotos via iStock
Knowing the sunrise, sunset, and the local sun pattern times is also critical. Typically, the best times of the day to take photos are during the golden hour (the hour after sunrise) and the blue hour (the hour before sunset). In contrast, you usually want to avoid shooting around midday when the sun is directly overhead.
Depending on where you are and the pattern of the sun, those timings may change, though. For example, when shooting in a valley, you must work when the sun is high to avoid shadows. Or, if you want a specific scene backlit, you have to know when the sun will be in the right place to make that happen. PhotoPills is an amazing app for tracking the sun, moon, and Milky Way.
Landscape Photography Technique #4 - Make a Shot List
Photo by pixelfusion3d via iStock
Now that you have a good idea of your area and your timings, it’s time to sit down and make a detailed shot list. This is when you can state the goals of your landscape photography photo shoot, the images you hope to capture, and why. Shot lists are even more important if you make videos because they function as a “storyboard” of what you want to share with your audience.
Based on your shot list, it’s also a good idea to make a schedule for the day. That way, you can be more efficient, increase your workflow speed, and prioritize being in specific locations at the right time. With that said, if something unexpected happens and you need to divert from the original plan, it’s not the end of the world.
Landscape Photography Technique #5 - Check the Weather
Photo by aimintang via iStock
Finally, the last step of our landscape photography technique is staying on top of the weather forecast. And this doesn’t mean checking it once a week beforehand, saying, “OK, looks good,” and forgetting about it. You should be looking consistently until you hit the road (and keep doing so once you are at your destination).
Other things to consider are the time of year you are going, seasonal weather patterns, and the type of landscape (mountain, desert, rainforest, etc.). One final tip is to check the weather forecast on multiple platforms. We use the Apple Weather app, Yr.no (especially for Europe), and WeatherBug (great for rain and real-time lighting updates).
Showcase Your Improved Results With High-Quality Prints
Photo by Rawpixel via iStock
Once you’ve successfully implemented our landscape photography technique into your workflow and your images start improving, the next step is to display them to the world! And while we acknowledge that the internet and social media platforms are popular ways to share your photos, small screens won’t give your landscape images the justice they deserve.
That’s where physical prints come in! They are perfect for decorating homes and offices and make fantastic gifts. One thing to keep in mind, though, is it’s crucial to only order prints from trustworthy and reliable printers. If you don’t, you could end up with poor-quality prints, and all your hard work up until this point will have gone to waste. That said, we always use Lumaprints.
Who are Lumaprints? They are an innovative online printing company known for their state-of-the-art printers and high-quality products. Additionally, they offer affordable prices and a 100% satisfaction guarantee, allowing you to work with them confidently and worry-free.
We recommend ordering their Fine Art Paper Prints to add a creative touch to your landscape images. They are artistic prints known for their vibrant colors, unique look, and outstanding durability. Moreover, there are eight different fine art papers to choose from, and standard sizes range from 5x5” to 43x110.”
More Landscape Photography Tips for Beginners
Photo by Sam De Nike via iStock
Thanks for taking the time to read our landscape photography technique article about planning. Better planning instantly improved the quality of our landscape photography, and we hope it can do the same for you!
As a farewell gift, here are a few bonus landscape photography tips for beginners: