A Landscape Photography Tutorial



focus focus okay today I'm gonna do a landscape photography tutorial that's what we're gonna do and I'm gonna start with the disclaimer not everything I say in this video as a matter of fact photography is subjective and life is full of contradictions as probably will be this video [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] so tip number one in mind landscape photography tutorial is the weather the weather is so important for crying out loud check those weather forecasts me breezy today there's a certain stillness in the air it's no accident that me and Marie got superb conditions when we were up in the Highlands of Scotland in my previous videos you know we we kept our around the forecast we watched it develop we made a plan and then we executed it in that window of good weather now I appreciate that not everybody has the luxury of time and sometimes you're in a location for a certain period so in that instance still obviously check the weather book shoots the conditions you know if hurricane-force winds and rains of forecasts don't go up onto the mountains trying to get a big Vista go down into the woodlands so how to have to check the weather and more importantly how to interpret that whether it's photography terms I've got my phone here and the discuss a few apps and a few websites that I use now let's discuss my trip to Scotland where we've got beautiful weather so if you're in the UK and you're going up into the mountains the website I would use over any other is MW is which is mounting weather information service and this is great this gives you accurate weather forecasts for the mountaintops winds sunshine visibility and everything like that because if you're going to I don't know the Lake District for example and you think I'll check the weather and the lakes and you check a weather forecast for Kazik because it could be lovely calm and sunny but you know 3,000 feet up in the mountains it's different story so you need to check the mountain weather forecast another app that I use is called clear outside this gives you a ton of information but more importantly it gives you your dew points and your humidity levels yr is another fantastic app I found this to be very very accurate and it actually gives you a really cool display on your screen which I quite like meteo Earth is another fantastic app it shows you cloud cover wind and pressure charts which are very very useful when planning landscape photography shoots skippy sky is a website it's very basic but that gives you an overview of the cloud cover similar to meteor earth but what it does is it separates low cloud middle cloud and high cloud and I use all of this information in conjunction with the photographer's ephemeris app so I can see what the clouds doing if there are any breaks in the cloud and if those breaks are going to let through lights from the Sun it's very useful thing to do so I guess the message here is don't just rely on one source you know i cross-reference many many apps and then that just allows me to make a good educated guess as to what's gonna happen that day or the next day okay so interpreting all of this information I mentioned humidity and dew point now I'm not a weatherman I'm not an expert but as far as I'm aware if you've got high levels of humidity and a high dew points that we're talking late 90s to 100 and they're the same then there's a very good chance that you're gonna get missed I mentioned cloud cover so cloud cover you get low cloud mid Claude high cloud as a general rule low cloud can really really kill a scene you know it can snuff out any lighting it can be miserable and horrible but then again low cloud depending on the amount of cloud cover can give you excellent drama you know moody skies heavy rain showers and you can get very dramatic images with a load low cloud cover middle cloud is your equally likely to get some drama in the sky but then you also have a good chance of getting some nice color and some nice lights and then high cloud high cloud is that Daddy high cloud is what really catches fire because that thing although those that cloud base could be like 3040 thousand feet and as the Sun drops below the horizon it still of that red light is bouncing off the high cloud and it's generally when you see those burning red sunrises and sunsets that's usually the Sun reflecting of high-altitude cloud pressure and low pressure is always associated with unsettled conditions rain showers wind generally miserable weather if you having a picnic but can be fantastic for photography break out the tents up get some motion in the clouds pakiya waterproof pack your umbrella could get rainbows or that's usually associated with low pressure high pressure means everything's gonna be settled it's gonna be still a chance of cloudy inversions there's also a good chance of high-altitude clouds catching all that beautiful red light so you're interested in landscape photography and you want to capture a beautiful hero image something that's really gonna pop well you know not everyone knows this but those types of images almost always happen around sunrise and sunset so you need to get up early and you need to stay out late okay so my biggest tip my biggest secret to those landscape photography images that everybody wants to get our biggest tip the biggest secret is that you have to be in it to win it it sounds stupid but it's no good just sitting there daydreaming about these images that you want to capture you how to actually have to get out there day after day time after time use all the weather apps and everything that I mentioned before to give you the best idea of when to go but really there is no substitute for putting on your boots getting out there every day you know even if all you achieve is to know that that location is no good you take it off your list you don't bother going back there eventually the more you go out the more you practice the more look you'll get and the more images you'll capture the best images I've ever photographed have been technically so easy it's just been like get the camera click job done the difficulty was getting up early having the motivation to go there stand around in the freezing cold hike for miles in the dark wait out the rain that is the most challenging part of landscape photography technically it's easy let's talk about composition now I can't tell you what to photo Earth only you can decide that what I would say is don't photograph images that popular photograph what really you know things that mean something to you so if you if you enjoy hiking and the doors go and photograph on some mounds in trailers if you find peace and solitude in the woodland go into the woods and try some photography in there pure a beach bum shoe seascapes do what feels good for you because there is more to photography and just getting the images it's about the whole experience a few compositional tips the first thing is balance that no actually the first thing is a subject find a subject and make sure that you have that subject in your frame at the right times at the right time of day and when the weather conditions are good and fit that subjects another another tip is balance make sure that subject is balanced within your frame you know just look all the elements inside of your composition and make sure that's not too heavy on one side there's nothing really distracting on the other side and then the hair I am talking about subjects sometimes you don't even need a subject is you can take images that are full of negative space and have nothing but color texture and lights you know those images I found beautiful and very peaceful I'd also say with composition less is more so don't try and fill your frame with everything you know pick out certain parts of the landscape that are attractive to you and try it hone in on that I think a single subject surrounded by negative space it's gonna be a far more impactful image and something that's cluttered and there's a lot going on you know really look at your composition before taking the photograph and just ask yourself is anything in this composition distracting me what bothers me about it you know that rock there or a telegraph pole in the corner check check the edges of your frame and see if you can adjust your composition to eliminate those things other things with composition look for s curves look for Z shapes in the landscape because they really help the viewer move through the image this one is sounds counterintuitive just just because something's beautiful doesn't mean then it necessarily adds to your photograph so here's an image I took in Iceland this is a lovely waterfall with a river running through and look at that sky that sky was burning it was on fire and above my head and behind me was orange red and purple and pink it was phenomenal and and part of me why did I get the 16 mil lens out and just get the sky in and the waterfall but by doing that I would have totally taken away from the true subject that's true interest in the image which was the river and those waterfalls you see I didn't think that although that although the sky was beautiful it wouldn't have added to my composition so you know probably less than 10 percent of this image is that sky and that can feel very counterintuitive at the time but you know you try not to be seduced by everything and if you are seduced by a few things that don't work together as one image take a couple of different photographs next lesson in landscape photography is your exposure check your exposure check your histogram and don't blow out your highlights that's it simple don't blow a highlights because you you can't recover those blown out highlights whereas shadows you can easily recover those and if you find that your image is has too much dynamic range and you can't get your hand lights and your shadows in just drop in a graduated filter to pull those highlights down it really is quite straightforward let's talk about focus I always get asked where to focus how to focus how to get sharp images it's really simple don't overcomplicate it if I have a clear subject in my image I focus on that subject easy if I if I don't have a clear subject it's more of an open scene I focus to infinity infinity is the farthest object away so usually the mountains or the horizon which is like you know 50 miles away or something then of course if you if you have interests like 2 feet in front of the lens and 20 miles away from the lens and you want to get shot from its back and then I focus that if you don't know what focus stacking is or how to do it just watch my video here it's very very straightforward tilt shift lenses are excellent for achieving the effect of infinite focus from the back but all you're doing is shifting the plane of focus so you still the area of depth field if you like and extends top to bottom rather than front to back so if you've got any verticals in your shop and they're gonna be softer topping at the pond so focus is tricky it's actually physically impossible to get perfect sharpness front to back camera setting so I'm going to assume that you're shooting landscapes you know you're not shooting night time images because a whole different ballpark on general landscapes does dawn low-light whatever mid like and my settings are always the same they're always ISO 100 and anywhere between f9 to f11 is usually my ballpark f-stop and then my shutter speed whatever it wants to be it's always irrelevant the only time the shutter speed is not irrelevant is if you have moving subjects in your frame such as breaking waves or moving trees in the wind rivers waterfalls things like that then shutter speed becomes very important in your priority should go from ISO f-stop shutter speed to shutter speed f-stop ISO I think no should speed ISO f-stop that's how I prioritize it because the one hundredth of a second image of a wave looks vastly different to a one second image of a wave and now the subject that has been worrying me the most is gear that's right we're gonna talk about gear so if you're easily offended look away now worry more about the lens choice than the camera choice you'd be surprised you know there aren't any in the math I don't think there is a bad camera on the market today and you'd be surprised at how many cameras share the same sensor so for me it's it's definitely image quality all comes from the lens and a lot lolis fancy cameras what you're paying for is features and stuff that landscape photography on I think landscape photographers are the simplest of all photographers we don't need all the bells and whistles that cameras come with these days you know dual-pixel focus not really you know I manually focus what about dual pixel shift no why is that GPS anyone I've never used GV I get it I understand it I've personally never used GPS 56,000 autofocus points all over that not don't need them because again manual focus you see all we really need is a good sensor and a good processor so here's a hard truth and people may disagree but generally speaking the more expensive the lens the better quality of image you're going to get you see the image is really made but you know the image is made here but you know it's the lens that puts the image together yeah so there is usually you know there was a huge difference between a kit lens and the professional lens and it's it's sad because professional lenses are ridiculously expensive but what I would say is to spend if you have a budget for a new camera system and you camera setup spend you know prioritize that budget on the lens and not the camera body lenses hold their value manufacturers don't bring out lenses every nine months and make the other lenses obsolete in your lens last pretty much forever where's camera bodies there are always changing and always renewing they're always getting updated so definitely prioritize your lens over your camera body get a tripod get a good tripod on cheap tripods are fine until it gets a bit windy and if you're doing landscapes it's gonna get windy in terms of tripod heads I'm a fan of like a 3-way ball head and it should be arca-swiss compatible cheap tripod heads have a tendency to slip that's where the plates on the camera doesn't you know it starts to twist so if you if you're doing a vertical exposure and you've got your camera attached to your tripod head the lens will slowly bring it down that's called slipping and cheap tripod heads tend to slip they're not great I would also I would advise getting an L bracket L bracket superb you can pick them up for like 20 or 30 and it just gives you the ability to instantly switch from horizontal to vertical another thing I'd say about your camera gear is if you just get into this buy old buy second-hand it'll be much cheaper and then all of the money that you've saved by buying old and secondhand gear get that money and use it to go on a trip buy a plane ticket by train ticket buy a bus ticket goes when you go somewhere inspirational go somewhere that you're gonna remember for life shooting locally it's fantastic it's great to get those original images and it should be practiced on a day to day basis but you can't be a dedicated photography trip to a foreign and faraway location to really get the juices flowing you know what I mean yeah I love to travel processing so yeah you like what you like right you do what you do you have a vision and I'm not going to tell anybody how they should process their images I think photography is an art form and you know do what makes you feel good but what I would say is if you go out as you a beautiful landscape in perfect conditions you don't need to process that image really you know Nature has done all the Photoshop work for you so in good light with good subjects and well executed well exposed photograph when I walk that into Lightroom I add an own blacks white levels tweaked my white balance a bit sharp Lin and that's it I'm done I find that the best images need the least amount of processing so there it is my very own landscape photography tutorial I hope you've taken something away from this and if you are new to this channel you can go and watch all of my back catalog of videos and see how often I don't listen to my own advice so yeah thank you so much for watching and until next time bye for now you

26 Replies to “A Landscape Photography Tutorial”

  1. Apologies for my lack of interaction of late. This week has been a busy one and now I am flying to Iceland for 10 days. The result is neglect here in the comments section x x x

  2. Thank you for all you do. As an old 4×5 film photographer who read every word Ansel Adams ever wrote and practiced his art, I find myself in search of a new digital mentor. Your videos are not only helpful, spot on, artistic, beautiful, and fun, they align very well with my own view of image making. Please continue to follow your path and share your journey.

  3. Awesome video full of extremely valuable advice! Just wish it had been around when I first got into photography forty-five years ago… Last, but not least, delivered in that inimitable Thomas Heaton style of never taking oneself too seriously and maintaining a far too uncommonly encountered openness to other styles and views of and on photography.

  4. I give you a lot of credit, Thomas!! I find it much easier for me to shoot birds or insects mostly, because landscapes can be rewarding, but also very taxing on your time and requires soooo much patience. Not to mention itโ€™s so hard to keep a marriage when you have to be out at all those tougher times of day for so much time. I am definitely working on all of these things though and trying to develop more patience!!

  5. This is great. I've been subscribing for a few months now, but only just now watched this video after you linked it on your (hilarious) 2018 mean comments video. Thanks!

  6. Another great video! As for the processing, I tend to revert back to my film photography days by getting it right 'on camera', let's face it, we like photography, so why sit in front of a computer 'editing' when we should use that time to shoot? I think some edit images 'just because' even when the image is great and we all know what it's like to over process an image!
    Keep up the good work!

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