By Lane Erickson
“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer.” – Ansel Adams
When I see great landscape images I’m always thrilled. But I get an even bigger kick out of creating my own powerful photos of landscapes. My guess is, if you’re reading this article, you feel the same way.
You want to be a better photographer and so do I. The more beauty we can create and bring into this world the better a place it will be to live.
Today’s article is about landscape photography, but really the suggestions made here could apply to any type of photography. Here are three things you can do to become a better landscape photographer.
1. Look at Images Others Have Done of the Same Subject
First, study images others have taken of the same subject. When you take some time to look at images others have created of the same subject It gives you the chance to see what that subject looks like in different light and to begin making plans of how you can create your own images.
As an example, the town I live in is where Idaho State University is located. There is a small hill close to campus called Red Hill. On top of Red Hill there are some columns that were donated by a contractor to be used as landscaping decoration for the University.
I’ve seen hundreds of photos of these columns with people by them that look similar to this one.
I knew I wanted to take some different photos. I went back and looked at all the photos I could find and then came up with a plan of different locations and different times of day that I could go shoot photos of my own.
In addition, one summer we had an unusual amount of forest fires near town. The smoke in the air made for some unusual looking sunsets. I took advantage of one of these to get some additional pictures of the columns that are unlike any I’ve ever seen before.
2. Bring a Lens You Wouldn’t Normally Use and Then Use It
The second tip I can offer to you that will help you become a better landscape photographer is to bring a lens you wouldn’t normally use, and then use it. As an example, in Yellowstone National Park near the Continental Divide there are some small ponds that grow lily pads in them. I normally take photographs here with a telephoto lens so I can zoom in on just a portion of the lily pads like this image.
However, I also had a normal lens and a fisheye lens with me as well. I used these two lenses To create a different perspective of the lily pads. Here is the normal lens perspective.
And here is the perspective I was able to get with the fisheye lens.
3. Come Back to the Same Subject Again and Again
The final tip is to come back to the same subject again and again. Look at the subject in different light. Look at the subject in different seasons. Each of these will offer new elements you can use to enhance your subject in unique ways.
I live fairly close to the Teton mountain range in Idaho. Because of this I’m able to visit that location often. I visited it during the summer and was able to capture this image.
On a hike I found a unique angle of view that I had never seen before and created this image.
Finally, I’ve gone back in different seasons to capture images that are different than what I have seen before. Here is an image I took during winter.
I’m convinced that if you want to be better at something you have to do it over and over again. You have to study it. You have to learn. And you have to do things differently than everyone else. If you want to better yourself as a landscape photographer then look at images others have done of the same subject, bring a lens that you haven’t normally used, and then come back to that same subject again and again. If you do these things I’m certain your landscape images will improve.
As always, feel free to comment, critique or criticize. Thanks for reading.