For this to happen we need to be on location at the right time, and it just so happens that the ‘right time’ is shortly after sunrise and shortly before sunset. Generally speaking, we refer to the golden hour of photography as the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset, with that being when the light is at it’s finest. In summer months this can result in some absurdly early alarm calls, but when you come away with a gorgeous photo all that tiredness melts away!
To help you out here, we’ve done a whole article on how to use the different types of natural light.
2. Do Your Research
It’s all well and good heading out to a new location and hoping for the best, and if that’s the way you like to work then that’s fine. However, for the majority of landscape photographers they could benefit from doing a bit of research before heading out on a shoot.
This can include using some popular photography related apps such as The Photographers Ephemeris or simply checking the weather for your destination. The idea is that when you arrive on location the weather is as you expected and you know where the sun will be at certain points throughout the shoot. This stops you running around like a headless chicken as you try to figure out what’s going to happen, and generally results in a much more pleasant day out.
We go in depth into the planning and preparation stage of landscape photography in Part 3 of our Ultimate Guide to Landscape Photography.
Here are a few things you should check before every landscape expedition:
- Weather – This includes cloud cover, rain percentage, wind speed.
- Position of the sun – So you know where the sun is rising/setting and what path it’s taking to get there.
- Time of sunrise/sunset – Believe me, you don’t want to arrive 30 minutes late because you forgot to check what time the sun was rising.
- Tide times: Obviously only when shooting seascapes. Not only does this help you predict what you can shoot, but it’s crucial for your safety when in the field.
3. Create a Sense of Depth
The aim of landscape photography is to transport the viewer into the scene, and the key to unlocking this potential is a sense of depth to the photograph. Remember, we’re trying to portray a three-dimensional scene on a two-dimensional medium, so we need to use everything in our power to add that depth back into the image.