1. Feel the scene you are shooting, let it affect you.
Often times we as photographers rush thru the process of creating art. Modern-day life usually means we are always hurrying to get things done. Don’t do that with your art. Whether it’s taken you 30 seconds or 3 hours to get to this spot you’re about to shoot,
stop, … Breathe, …take it in, …let it affect you.
The more you are affected by the scene, the more you can now capture this scene and create the art of the moment.
2. Use a tripod
I know it’s one more thing to pack and carry, but there are times that the perfect shot needs a longer shutter speed, and upping the ISO isn’t a great trade-off.
There are quite a few travel tripods out there that weigh very little and fold down into something manageable.
3. Organize your image before capture
While you are taking in the beauty around you, look for things that distract from that scene. See some trash in the foreground? Take a minute and remove it. See someone walking thru the scene? Wait a minute until they are gone. Anything you adjust now you don’t have to deal with in post-production.
4. Know the “subject” of your image
This concept sometimes gets the response “huh?” Every image should have a subject, even a landscape. Even if for no other reason so you know where to have your focus hit. If you don’t build your image around one of two central points where you want the viewer to focus their attention, don’t expect the viewer to look at that image for very long.
5. Don’t Rush
This sounds so basic but is so important. If you are like most people, there are always more “things” to do that time enough to do them. Don’t short change yourself when capturing images. You are capturing a moment in time that will never occur again. Take the appropriate amount of time to capture it.
Now, the rest of this segment fits together and goes with the idea of number five, don’t rush. If you follow these ideas, you will see improvement. When you view a scene; turning your head like to right, you’ve just taken in about 180 degrees and if your eyes have tilted at all there’s no telling what camera angle or direction your brain registered as “perfect”.
so . . .
6. Try different camera angles and camera heights
Try shooting from your natural standing height, then try a lower or higher angle. Move to the left, then the right.
And while you’re doing that, . . .
7. Capture the scene in both Vertical and Horizontal Formats
I had someone once tell me that all landscapes had to be in Horizontal format. Says who?
Try it. You may find you like the scene Vertically instead.
8. Shoot Loose
If you are shooting with a camera manufactured within the last 1o years, you have enough megapixels in the image to be able to crop and still have a very useable image.
Just for a point of reference, you want to achieve the equivalent print quality of 35mm film at a 16×20 print size, you need less than 10 megapixels.
You can crop your image if you need to. Shoot a little loose so you can re-center your image if you need to. Remember it’s way easier to crop out something than it is to try and add something to an image.
9. Shoot bracketed
Most all cameras made today have the ability to shoot a set of bracketed exposures. You set the number and range for your brackets, set your camera to continuous shooting, high speed preferred, and when you press and hold the shutter button your camera will capture a set of bracketed images.
If your camera is capable of a set of three brackets, set it for one stop over and one stop under. If your camera is capable of 5 or more, try a half stop or quarter stop each way. The procedure for setting up bracketed varies with each camera manufacturer, refer to your manual for specifics.
10 Shoot . . . . shoot a ton.
With digital photography, there is no such thing as overshooting. Thankfully the price of camera memory cards has decreased in the past few years. Not having enough memory to shoot should never be a reason to stop shooting.
You want, need to shoot your perfect scene until you have enough to find your perfect image. Either get higher capacity cards or more cards. Only stop shooting when you are done, or when what you were trying to capture is no longer there.