After years on the road, here are my top tips for taking landscape photos.
1. Get off auto
Switch your camera’s setting to aperture or shutter or manual and go experiment. You may get terrible results at first but it will help you learn how shutter speed ties in with aperture size which ties in with ISO which ties in with ... you get the picture.
2. Get closer
Pay attention to your background - does all that stuff need to be in the shot? Before you press the button, look at everything in the frame and ask yourself if it really needs to be there.
3. Get some software
Processing your images in Photoshop (or Lightroom, or your preferred photo, image and design software) makes a big difference. But remember it takes two people to use Photoshop - one to do the editing and one to say STOP!
4. Spend your money on lenses
Bodies will come and go but you’ll keep your lenses forever and remember that no matter how good your camera’s sensor is, the light still has to come through the lens first, so a $5,000 body with a $500 lens makes no sense.
5. Don’t spend your money on lenses
Yes, it’s good to have all the best stuff and there are shots you can get with $10,000 worth of gear that you can’t get with $1,000 but don’t confuse spending big bucks with a guarantee of a good result. What you shoot and how you shoot is more important than what you shoot with.
There are a lot of really good photographers out there. Look at their work, read their blogs and their books and watch the YouTube tutorials. All the help, info and inspiration you could possibly need is out there, mostly for free.
7. On the road
Unless you’re willing to take the missus out on the road with you (and she, for some reason, actually wants to go) telling your partner you’re heading out to take a few pics and you not only won’t be back for dinner but it may be many months before they see you again is not conducive to a happy home life. As I’ve learned. Repeatedly.
8. On the road part 2
Live in your car. If you don’t, accommodation will be by far your biggest expense. Add a second battery for charging all your devices, deck it out with a good mattress and blackout curtains and you’ll sleep fine. Just be careful where you park. You don’t want to get woken up at 4am by cops knocking on your window (don’t park in a residential area), or by things bouncing off your roof all night (don’t park under a tree), or by a rock thrown through your window (don’t park in the CBD).
9. Shoot it now
Don’t think you’ll shoot it on the way back or the next time you’re there - do a U-turn, go back and shoot it now because you might not come back and you’ll regret it if you don’t.
10. Embrace poverty
What - you thought you’d get rich doing this?