Recently I compiled a list of Top Ten things you can do to give yourself the best chance of taking great photographs when you visit the extreme latitudes of the globe. The Top Ten Tips were also recently featured on View-Bug.
Nature and landscape photographs really require three things in my mind to be successful. Great Subject, Great Composition and Great Light. You really need all three to create an exceptional photograph.
Included below are my top ten in no particular order
- Be patient whenever possible: Wait for good light. Wait for the wildlife to be active.
- Give yourself a chance to get in tune with the landscape. Its almost impossible to turn up to a new area you have never visited and make outstanding photographs. It takes time to get in the rhythm of the landscape and really ‘see’ powerful images. Spend some time just looking before you start taking pictures. (See my articles on Landscape Photography with Mystery and Emotion – Part One, Part Two and Part Three).
- Know your camera gear intimately. It needs to be muscle memory to change settings on your camera. If you are fumbling with buttons and unsure of how to makes changes to your cameras setting your’e photography is going to suffer (See my article on Landscape Photography with Mystery and Emotion Part Three).
- Use weather sealed cameras or use weather proof covers for your camera gear.
- Think about what it is you are trying to say with your photography. Try and look past the cliche postcard. The strongest images are often the simplest and are those that leave the viewer wanting more or that evoke an emotional response in the viewer.See my article on Landscape Photography with Mystery and Emotion Part Two).
- Look for the edges of weather. The most dramatic light is often found at the edge of a rainstorm or snow storm. Avoid blue sky sunny days as they usually result in boring photographs.
- Be prepared and dress for bad weather. You need to be able to stay out in the snow storm if the light is incredible and keep making photographs. Having the right equipment for yourself is as important as having the right camera equipment.
- Try different focal lengths and compositions. Don’t always go for the super wide angle because it looks more dramatic on the camera’s LCD.
- Remember that landscape and nature photography are more often about what we exclude from the frame rather than what we include. Consider simplifying the frame when you are composing the image. A photograph that leaves the viewer asking questions is far more interesting than just a pretty picture. (See my articles on Landscape Photography with Mystery and Emotion – Part One, Part Two and Part Three).
- Look for leading lines in the landscape. Photography is the reproduction of a 3-dimensional scene into a 2-dimensional image or print. Strong leading lines will help you convey a sense of depth and help bring the image to life. Also use slow shutter speeds for clouds and water to help create a sense of movement that can also help bring a photograph to life.