How to take professional landscape photos

How to take professional landscape photos

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How to take professional landscape photos

So, maybe you’ve just bought a new camera or DSLR or fancy yourself an aspiring landscape photographer. You’ve invested in a good tripod, lens and lighting setup, and after fiddling with the manual you’ve mastered the concept of aperture, shutter speed and focal length. And, you’re thinking, “Now, I just have to take great landscape photos”. So, what do you do next?

There are a lot of books and websites out there on how to shoot the perfect landscape picture. And yet, in the end it’s all a bit academic, and a whole lot of trial and error. And we have all seen hundreds of “good” landscape photographs taken on a trip, where that shot (the one that makes the album cover) has something about it that just doesn’t translate into a well-edited landscape photograph. There’s a reason this picture is so popular and yet every single “best landscape photos” list has at least one image that it is clear came from a DSLR.

I’ve had a ton of experience in trying to take the best landscape photographs, so here’s my guide on how to take professional landscape photographs and how to edit them. And, I have a couple of caveats to this:

Landscape photography is not just about great landscape photography. It’s about capturing the landscape at it’s most beautiful at all times of the year. And, if you’re going to invest all this time and effort in developing your skill, you better have all these things covered.

If you’re shooting landscapes in New Zealand, don’t be under the impression that you’ll be able to get close to the iconic mountains of the Southern Alps. They are truly the only places to see them in this kind of pristine condition. For those of us who get to New Zealand, this is a lesson to learn when you get to the country.

I’m going to be a real jerk and I’m going to say there’s a very short list of photographers who take what you think is a great landscape photograph, and you can see that photograph on their portfolio/blog. Then, if you’re going to say they did a fantastic job editing their photograph, you might want to look at their personal portfolio. Don’t confuse a professional portfolio with the portfolio of the company they work for. That portfolio contains the type of photography that you can sell for profit and not all of it is going to be great landscape photographs. If you can’t differentiate the personal portfolio, why would you trust their knowledge of the landscape photography business?

I have my own portfolio. I’ve taken over 5,000 landscape photographs in my life. This is only half of them. I’ve edited them so you can’t tell what I shot. I don’t publish personal work or work from companies. You should find out before you hire someone. If I tell you I’m going to shoot the landscape for a client of some sort, you’d want to hire me because you can tell that this client wants to spend money on great photographs and, if I’m able to deliver it, you’re going to get what you pay for. I can deliver great landscape photographs for a living. If I can’t, I wouldn’t want you as a client. I’d be glad if I could just help you with something special and you find someone else to do it.

If you find someone that has a portfolio that contains nothing but personal landscape photography, find out who the person is and check their references.

5. Don’t shoot someone else’s photograph.

Shooting someone else’s photograph is called stealing and it is an unprofessional, unethical and probably illegal act.

Not only can you get into trouble with copyright laws but you could also lose your reputation for being the photographer who was once great but has fallen victim to a bad job situation.

You may have heard about the story about the man in San Francisco who was hired to shoot a photo for a woman who had bought her wedding dress at a garage sale. She paid the man very little for it and she found a print that he had made for her of a portrait of her that the woman never even gave to her. She was outraged.

If the woman who hired the man for the photo had been paying a skilled photographer who knows his craft and has shot weddings before, he would have known better. He would have known that the garage-sale photo he is shooting could cost him his career.

In this case, the photographer was the only one with experience and he was the man in the photo. The woman who commissioned him had to be the last one he’d ever get a job from.

You can see this story for yourself on YouTube here.

6. You have to pay attention to everything.

If you’re shooting from ground level, you’ll have to constantly pay attention to what’s around you. You’re not going to have a job if you don’t pay attention.

If you’re shooting from the air, you have to pay attention to the clouds, the wind, the movement of objects, the size of your shadow and more. If you aren’t careful, the results will be terrible.

7. Be flexible.

You have to be able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. Be able to switch from shooting stills to shooting action. When the subject’s moving, shoot quickly, and then take time to take a step back and get the best exposure.

8. Don’t forget to look happy.

A smile is an important part of being a professional, and it’s easier to get that smile if you’re happy. If you’re on a job and you’re not happy, your photos will be awful.

9. Get your lighting right.

You can’t go into a room with great light and expect it to turn out great. You need to understand lighting and then you need to know when to move closer or farther away from the subject to get the best results.

10. Have patience.

Working with a great photographer will mean that you won’t always get it right. Sometimes you’ll have a great shot and then it will be ruined when you edit it. It happens to the best of us. Be prepared for that.

And that’s it! Those are the ten tips I use to help me get great photos every time.

You can get this tips and more through my Photography and Video Course: The Professional Photographer in 30 days


  1. Nikoran

    And there are other deregistrations?

  2. Billy

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  3. Mezijora

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  4. Bragrel

    I went to the forum and saw this topic. May I help you?

  5. Tag

    This message is incomparable)))

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