[Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in taking a landscape photography workshop with Ramtin Kazemi and Scott Kelby next month in the Canadian Rockies, there’s a registration link and a discount code at the end of this post!]
5 Tips To Help Us All Make Some Awesome Landscape Photos This Winter
Ramtin Kazemi here! Just wanted to share some tips with you all about making the most of your landscape photos if you have a minute.
We’re all on the go. More and more people are traveling the world because of the transportation and technology that’s available to us now. As photographers, we want to capture and share its beauty with everyone. I don’t blame us; it’s what we’re born to do. But, in order to get the photograph that is unique and has your signature on it, we must venture out.
Places like Iceland have increased their tourists and visitors by millions. The thing about these locations is that the same composition has been shot a million times. This is why I venture out to find the right spot with unique compositions and photographic opportunities. The best part about this is that some of these locations aren’t hard to get to at all. In fact, some of my best shots in my portfolio that are my personal favorites were shot literally 5 minutes from where everybody else stood. All you need to do is to put a little bit of extra effort into it with your composition which I’ll get to in a sec but, first planning is a big part of successful landscape shoots yet not enough people talks about it.
1) SCOUTING AND PLANNING BEFORE YOU SHOOT
Scouting and planning is the start of a successful landscape photograph. As landscape photographers, our main light source is the sun (or moon) and the weather has a huge impact on when and where we can shoot. I sometimes spend days walking around before I even get my camera out. It takes time, passion and patience
In order to scout a location properly, we must understand some key elements. First, we have to figure out when and where we’re going. Seasons change things dramatically, so once we figure out what our goals are, we can decide when to travel. For example, if you wanted to have wild flowers in your foreground with snow-covered mountains in the distance in Switzerland, you might want to go there late spring/early summer. Or if you wanted to photograph the Northern lights in the Yukon, the best time to travel is winter and the shoulder seasons around winter.
Let’s say that you know where and when to travel. Next step would be to understand the light and the sun/moon. Where and when does the sun rise and set? What about the moon? Wait, don’t worry, there’s an app for that! I personally use Photo Pills. It gives me all the information that I need, including the position of the Milky Way, stars and the moon at a given time. And use Google Earth! Even Google maps is a very useful tool because you can see exactly where you’ll be standing and which way you’ll be facing when it’s time to shoot.
Next, I need to talk about dressing appropriately for weather. It might sound silly, but these details are very important and, believe it or not, some of the most common mistakes are silly ones. So, understanding the location, position of the moon, sun and stars, understanding weather and cloud formations at a given time of year, preparing both your body and your soul, and finally studying your composition and your spot before you put your tripod down.
Once all is set and you are on location in the field, then it’s time to figure out where you’re going to position your tripod. Use your camera’s viewfinder and walk around until you’re happy with a composition using the tips that I’m going to give you below. (more…)