1# Gear: using a tripod and filters to capture movement
When shooting landscapes, a lot of the time you are shooting in golden hour and in those times just before and after, meaning a lot of low light and slower shutter speeds. A tripod is essential to avoid blurring your image with movement and/or camera shake.
The use of an ND filter to capture cloud and water movement can dramatically enhance a landscape shot.
Always take a test shot, and always check your histogram.
If it is spiking to the left, it means your shot is possibly under exposed. If it is spiking to the right, your shot may be over exposed.
An evenly distributed histogram is the aim of the game.
3# Composition research
Depending on where you are going, try to do a bit of research on what the place looks like, what compositions are available. A lot of this can be done through google earth, searching images on line. But it can so often look different when you arrive, and conditions play a big part in that. But its always better to be a bit prepared and know what possibilities there could be.
4# Weather research
Make sure you know what the weather is doing before heading to a location. There are plenty of apps available which are very accurate with weather predications and others than can help with cloud cover, tides, golden hour times.
5# Rule of thirds
Using the rule of thirds method can help in the creation of an awesome landscape image. Imagine the frame is divided into thirds horizontally and vertically, creating four points where the lines meet. Aligning your focal point or main subject on these intersections creates a well balanced image.
Detailed foreground in a landscape image can make all the difference. It gives the viewer a starting point, and draws them into the image. I always search for foreground when shooting a landscape image.
7# Focus and depth of field
Make sure you focus your lens and choose a depth of field that is going to ensure the whole shot is clear and in focus. Choosing a smaller aperture will give you a greater depth of field.
8# Focal point
Most of the time landscape shots have a main focal point or subject that stands out in the image. It could be a mountain, boulder, person, tree .. it is important to have somewhere in your shot where the viewer can stop and look.
9# Golden hour
Golden and blue hours can be the best time to shoot a landscape. The light is always much nicer and less harsh during golden hour, and can create some great patterns on mountains, water, trees. During blue hour, lingering colour from a sunset or sunrise can create beautiful hues throughout an image and really bring out the scene. These are my favourite times to shoot and I rarely take photos outside of these times.
10# Does this make a good photo?
A bit of advice I once read: ‘Not every scene makes a good photo’. I don’t know why, but it’s something that I ask myself every time I am taking photos.