Five Tips to Avoiding Mistakes as a Landscape Photographer
If you are an aspiring landscape photographer, you've undoubtedly had your share of mistakes right out the gate. No worries. It's pretty typical to make mistakes and, even though you'll improve with time and practice, no photographer is perfect - regardless of their experience.
However, here are five quick and easy tips to help you avoid certain mistakes.
1. A Your Light Meter Matters!
All too often, beginning photographers will ignore their light meter. Big mistake. Practice using it along with your histogram to ensure better and more even exposure. It will also help you to understand better how the exposure triangle (aperture, shutter speed, and ISO) work together for a balanced exposure.
2. Flat Compositions
Just because you're shooting a landscape, doesn't mean it should have the main subject. You should pick one and compose your shot around the subject just like you would with any other genre. Why does this matter given that in a landscape image there are many "mini-subjects"?
It matters because, without the main subject, the eye doesn't know where to land. The image quickly becomes confusing or convoluted. A subject also helps define your image's purpose and provide depth. No subject for the eye to land on and your image is likely to look flat. You need a foreground, mid-ground, and background to create depth - along with a subject. The result is a three-dimensional image.
3. Practice! Practice!
How are you spending your time as a landscape photographer? You should be practicing. That means getting out there and shooting, shooting, and more shooting. Get to know your equipment. You don't need a lot of it or the most expensive, but you do need to know how to use what you have very well. Novice photographers tend to spend too much on equipment and not enough on time practicing.
4. Mind the Light
We've said it before, and we'll keep saying it because it's very important: avoid shooting in the bright, harsh light of midday!! It can ruin an otherwise great image. The best time to take pictures is just after sunrise and just before sunset.
Yes, inevitably, the day will come when you are traveling and see a magnificent landscape you can't pass up. That's fine. Just keep in mind that shooting at around midday on a bright, sunny day will likely ensure a washed out image.
5. Study the Landscape First
Before you pull your camera and equipment out and start shooting, get to know the landscape. This will help you create a better composition, best angle, and identify a subject. Most great landscape photography comes from the careful composition that is well thought-out.
If you keep these tips in mind as you shoot your landscapes, you'll find that you will get better at avoiding the typical mistakes of a beginning photographer.