Here at That Wild Idea, we are always being asked a lot about nature landscape photography by our trusted clients, friends and our social media following. So, we have decided to take this opportunity to do some research and find the 10 most asked questions on Google about landscape photography.
So here are some of the most common nature landscape photography questions we get asked, answered and lots of landscape photography tips to help you along the way.
What is landscape photography?
Landscape photography focuses on areas of immense natural beauty in the areas we inhabit. Often vast open spaces, but there are also times when the photographer will focus on the microscopic details. Nature landscape photography typically captures the presence of the wild but can also focus on man-made features within the landscape.
Landscape photography is practised for various reasons but perhaps the most common is to record and preserve a personal memory, observation or experience in nature, especially when travelling in an unfamiliar location.
Nature landscape photography is most commonly enjoyed as an outdoor lifestyle that provides the opportunity to spend time in nature and its elements. Landscape photography is a great way to alleviate the stresses of the modern world.
The majority of landscape photographs show little or no human life and choose instead to depict the raw beauty of nature, unique geographical topography, weather, and natural light. As with all forms of art, the definition of what exactly constitutes a landscape photograph is hugely varied and can include rural or urban, industrial areas or simply raw nature photography.
How to start a landscape photography business?
There is no sure-fire way to successfully start a landscape photography business. But like most things, if you are prepared to work hard and dedicate yourself to your craft you will succeed.
The key is to find your niche. If you like mountain landscape photography then concentrate on this specialist area of nature photography. Photographing mountains isn’t easy or even possible for some people so this is a good niche and can be combined with adventure and lifestyle photography.
Aside from finding your niche you also need to monetise your nature landscape photography business through as many avenues as possible. This could include commissions or assignments, selling stock, running photography workshops (if you are at that level) and selling prints.
Photography is a hard business but once you have made a success of your business doesn’t even feel like working as you are doing what you love.
What is abstract landscape photography?
Abstract nature landscape photography is the art of concentrating on the finer details of the landscape. These images are generally a small select area of a greater landscape that the photographer has chosen the isolate from its surrounding, resulting in an abstract landscape photograph. More often than not, abstract landscape photography is shot using a telephoto lens.
But even if you don’t own telephoto lenses, you can still take abstract landscape shots. Just try to focus on a small area of a scene rather than the whole landscape.
Given the unique demand for abstract images, these are often sold as fine art landscape photography prints or books.
How to find landscape photography locations?
With the internet at our fingertips, there are quite literally thousands of ways to research locations for your landscape photos. But these are a few of the methods that I use to find locations for fresh, new images.
- Google earth – you can put in any location you are planning on visiting or think may have some interesting nature landscape photography options and have a nose around from the comfort of your home.
- Instagram – search any location on Instagram and you will almost certainly get lots of results from the area you are looking to visit. These can provide a great source of inspiration but be careful not to just copy the shots you have seen from other photographers and instead look for a new angle.
- Get out and explore – pack up your gear and take a walk around to see what you find. This is a great way to make sure you produce original images
- Local knowledge – from the people of the street, shop keepers and tourist information. These are all great resources to find out what the local area has to offer that you may not be aware of from your research.
How to focus for landscape photography?
There are a few focusing methods that will ensure you get sharp nature landscape photos time after time. They are:
- Focus one-third of the way into the frame
- Focus on the subject matter
- Keep an eye on your aperture (you want a pretty small aperture)
- Know the hyperfocal distance of your lens
- You can use focus stacking
- Use AF-ON or back-button focusing
- Don’t just focus on infinity
What is the best focal length for landscape photography?
There is no ideal focal length for landscape photography. Your focal length is generally determined by your distance from the subject of your image. More often than not this will be in the wide spectrum of the focal lengths such as 14mm to 35mm but could easily go to 200mm if you are looking to focus on a select area of the scene.
What is the best lens for landscape photography?
Again, there is no specific best lens for your nature landscape photography. But there are a few things to consider when buying a lens or lenses for landscape photography.
The higher the quality of the glass in the lens the sharper and more accurate colour rendition you will achieve. These lenses come at a price but in general, are worth the money if you require the very best results.
Prime or fixed focal length lenses often provide the best results but have limitations in that you only have one focal length per lens. This is fine if you know exactly what lens you will need or don’t mind carrying lots of lenses uphill when you are doing some mountain photography.
I personally use both prime and zoom lenses but when I am going to be hiking long distances to unknown locations I will carry what is classed as the holy trinity of lenses; 14-30mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm. I find that these are easy enough for me to carry on a full day’s hike and will almost certainly cover every eventuality I may encounter and give me the image quality I require from my photos.
What f/stop to use for landscape photography?
In general, when shooting landscape photos you will require a large depth of field. To achieve this you will typically want to use a higher f/stop, or small aperture, to get most of your scene in focus.
This means you will want to be shooting in the f/8 to f/16 range. The majority of lenses have a sweet spot for aperture between f/8 and f/11 so when possible its a good idea to use these apertures. If you require a larger depth of field than f/11 can provide for your nature landscape photography then you can go to f/16 but I would suggest avoiding going any higher even if your lens offers this possibility.
The reason for this is that when your aperture gets too small (anything above f/16), it actually has a detrimental effect on the sharpness of the image through something known as “diffraction”.
How to improve landscape photography?
The best way to improve your nature landscape photography is to practice, practice and then practice some more. There is always something to learn so follow blogs written by professionals you respect and consider taking a photography workshop with them. This may be a more costly option but the knowledge you can pick up in a very short period of time from a working pro will be invaluable in your progression to become a top nature landscape photographer
How to use graduated filters in landscape photography?
As a Lee Filters ambassador, this is a question I get asked with incredible frequency. Filters are incredibly important in landscape photography and can help you capture a scene which is much closer to the way the human eye sees it.
I have written an extensive article of filters here on our blog. It is an in-depth look at all things filters. It will hopefully answer all your questions. I discuss everything from polarizing filters to graduated neutral density filters
There you have it. These are the most common landscape photography questions asked on Google. We hope that these answer some of the questions you may have. But in the mean time why not sign up to our monthly newsletter for updates on new photography blog posts each month.
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Jordan Banks is a travel photographer with almost 20 years of experience shooting assignments and campaigns for some of the worlds leading brands and companies including many Iceland images.
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