There are, of course, thousands of tips which could be given to improve one element or another of your landscape photography. I have chosen 5 that are important to me; that’s not to say they are best for everyone, but they will certainly help.
Photography By Wandering About. I see many posts suggesting that you should plan your photography time down to the last detail so that you can maximise your time and effectiveness when you are there. Whilst there is certainly room for this approach, it seems to me that it will result in a predetermined outcome, something perhaps less creative. PBWA allows you to immerse yourself in your surroundings, be watchful, attentive and open to new, creative ideas. Find the images that are hidden away, waiting to be discovered by you in your explorations. Revel in the landscape and find something truly unique.
Light. Light is what makes a photograph, both physically and emotionally. The light at both ends of a day can be sublime; soft, gentle golds, reds, blues and purples are often worth the early and late hours needed to witness them, resulting in wonderful photographs. However, there is wonderful light to be found at other times of the day too. I know photographers who will only take photographs at dusk and dawn and belittle work taken at other times of the day. More fool them, I say as there are many opportunities at these other times; go out whatever the light looks like, you never know what might happen.
A Tripod. In my time teaching landscape photography, I have often met with resistance to using a tripod. I have some sympathy; they are cumbersome, awkward to carry, sometimes difficult to set up just how you would like and they slow everything down. However, it is this last point that I think is their greatest asset. Instead of rushing to grab the camera and take the photograph (usually from head height), a tripod demands a more considered approach. This will aid your composition, allowing you to look carefully at the whole of the viewfinder, and will also give you greater options for depth of field, since shutter speed is no longer an issue. They are certainly worth the slight inconvenience they can cause and perseverance will ease most of those issues considerably.
To help in these areas, and others, look at my Lake District workshop options.
Know Your Camera. This is key. You don’t need to know what everything is or does, to start with, but there are certain functions that I feel it is vital to be able to perform without too much trouble. I would suggest; switching between Aperture and Shutter Priority, changing the aperture size and shutter speed, changing ISO, viewing the histogram, how to use exposure compensation and how to adjust white balance. Each of these is worthy of some research and practise, but a basic understanding will at least allow you to start taking the photographs you want to.
Use The Histogram. Mentioned in #4 above, the histogram is another of those functions that I’ve seen plenty of reluctance to use. Representing the distribution of tones throughout a photograph, it gives you a quick and easy to understand verification of how well your camera has captured the data you want, and assists in diagnosing and fixing any problems with your exposure. It’s much more reliable than the method I have often seen; looking the image on the camera’s screen and declaring “Yeah, that looks about right.”
Not a complete list by any means, and a few will need some effort before you become familiar with them, but that effort will be rewarded with a competency with the mechanics of your camera which will, in turn, free your mind to concentrate on creating the type of images you want. If you feel you would like some assistance in developing these skills, I offer one-to-one workshops in the Lake District. Full details here.