Legendary landscape photography is more than a hobby; it’s a way of life.
It’s a lifestyle that indulges in grit, adventure, and a passion for natural beauty.
Legendary landscape photographers spend their lives chasing the light in remote areas, capturing scenes devoid of human intervention. The hard work of a landscape photographer often gets rewarded with some of the most stunning images and incredible stories!
It’s no wonder so many people choose landscape photography as their passion.
So what does it take to shoot like the pros?
The Keys to Legendary Landscape Photography on Your Phone
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Much of the world is experiencing the outside world through screens now more than ever. I cannot think of a better time to share the bounty of uplifting, inspiring and beautiful images, videos & stories many of us have experienced. Looking back upon the last few years gives me a lot of joy not only to have documented these places but more importantly to have been able to share it. Looking back now …I’ll definitely never take those freedoms for granted.
Legendary landscape photography isn’t that hard if you’re willing to do what it takes to get to those dramatic locations.
It’s worth noting, however, that that’s much easier said than done.
If you’re not phased by the challenge, though, read on and learn what it takes to be a top-notch phone landscape photographer.
Landscape Photography Tip #1 – Get Inspired
There are so many examples of legendary landscape photographers! Chris Burkard is one of my personal favorites.
Find a landscape photographer that inspires you and examine their work. What is it about their unique style that captivates you? Perhaps they are using some techniques that you can learn from and elaborate on.
Identifying with your unique style, especially early on, will dramatically boost the quality of your work.
Landscape Photography Tip #2 – Get Out There
Explore and discover! Be on the lookout for interesting vantage points of fascinating places. The best landscape photographers spend months planning exhibitions to explore some of the most remote locations.
Of course, this isn’t practical for everyone. If you are a beginner, start somewhere. Explore locations near you until you build up your experience and desire to do more!
Landscape Photography Tip #3 – Plan Ahead (but don’t get hung up on the details)
Here’s a list of questions you should ask yourself:
- Where do you want to go to shoot your next legendary landscape?
- Do you have the optimal weather conditions?
- Is it the optimal time of the year?
- Does the gold or blue hour work best for your shot?
- What essentials will you bring?
- How will you get there?
With landscape photography, there can be so much to think about, and we’ve explained some of it before!
Create a plan, but don’t get hung up on the details. You may plan to shoot your landscape on a sunny day, and instead, you’re met with rain. At least that’s what usually happens to me.
Don’t throw in the towel just because your ideal conditions haven’t been met! After all, you are an artist, and a true artist always finds a way to create.
You may surprise yourself and find that you are happier with your results, even if you got blown off course to get them.
Landscape Photography Tip #4 – Get in Touch with Your Feelings
When you are shooting landscapes, slow down occasionally, and connect with your surroundings. How do you feel? What effect does the landscape have on the way you are feeling?
Let’s assume you are standing on a beach, and you feel calm and relaxed. What is it about the beach that relaxes you?
Is it the way the palm trees gently sway in the wind?
Could it be the warm sunshine? Or, maybe the soft sand between your toes?
Perhaps it’s the repetition of one tumbling wave after another that relaxes you.
Identify the elements within the landscape that reinforce the way you are feeling and find a creative way to compose these elements in your final image. Ascribing an emotion to your landscape photos adds visual impact by connecting to your audience in a more profound, more intimate way.
In short, it makes the photo a legendary landscape as opposed to just a regular one.
This concept is challenging to master and often requires lots of practice, so don’t worry if this doesn’t come to you right away!
Landscape Photography Tip #5 – Get to Kow Your Camera
Mastering your camera settings will give you greater creative control over your images (note, so does shooting in RAW!).
Think about your final image and how you want it to look. Perhaps you want your image to be slightly underexposed to accentuate the clouds and add drama to your landscape? Or maybe you want a long exposure of a nearby stream to create a silky motion blur that will intensify the relaxed mood you’re capturing?
These effects can be achieved by adequately knowing how to manipulate your camera settings.
Pro Tip: Practice shooting in manual mode until you understand how to properly manipulate your ISO, Aperture, and Shutter speed.
Once you know how to manipulate your settings, you will have the capacity to select the ideal settings for your legendary landscape manually.
Essential Gear for Shooting Legendary Landscapes on Your Phone
Landscape photographers as a whole pack lightly because we’re often trekking around for long periods with all our gear.
Those of us that photographer the world’s most dramatic landscapes with just our phone require even less gear.
Even still, it’s vital to pack just the essentials. So, here’s a list of everything you’ll need (and some things you’ll want)!
Top Cameras for Landscape Photography
With a legendary landscape, you are usually trying to cram an incredible amount of detail into a single frame, so you want a camera that’s up to the task.
If you are serious and passionate about landscape photography, you may want to consider springing for a full-frame camera. These full-frame cameras are admittedly pricey; however, they pack a larger sensor that is better equipped for getting the most detail.
If you are more of a hobbyist, then stick to your intermediate level crop sensor DSLR as it will do just fine. Sony is great for hobbyists and serious landscape photographers because they make compact, high-quality cameras that are versatile and great for packing.
Top Lenses for Landscape Photography
Wide-angle lenses are ideal for legendary landscape photography because they allow you to squeeze a lot of your scene onto your frame. A wide-angle lens typically gets classified as being 35mm or shorter.
If you plan on incorporating astrophotography with your landscapes, you’ll probably want your wide-angle lens also to have a wide F-stop of F/2 or less. The smaller your F-stop, the wider your aperture, which is ideal for low light conditions like astrophotography because it enables more light to pass through to your camera.
Top Filter(s) for Landscape Photography
No, we are not talking about Instagram filters.
Instead, we are talking about the types of filters you attach to the end of your lens. I’ve never seen a difference in my images when using UV filters, however, they are the cheapest insurance you’ll ever buy for your lens. If you drop your camera and something breaks, you’d much rather it be your $15 UV filter than your $900 lens.
Polarized filters are great because they reduce unwanted glare and increase contrast in your images. ND filters are for the hard-core landscape enthusiasts. These filters reduce the amount of light that comes through the lens, allowing you to shoot those sexy motion blur landscapes while the sun is out.
So, the ND filters are supposed to be grey; however, in my experience, I have learned that cheap ND filters usually cast a significant blue hue over my images. There are ways of getting around this phenomenon by adjusting your camera’s white balance, or post-processing, however, if you are like me and you find this blue hue annoying, you may want to consider spending around $50 to get a higher quality ND filter.
If you are serious about your landscapes, buy filters made with optical quality glass because you don’t want to put a cheap filter that reduces clarity over your 42.2-megapixel camera. A cheap filter would defeat the purpose of owning an expensive camera.
Top Tripods for Landscape Photography
What good is a killer camera with a top of the line lens, if you don’t have a tripod to stabilize everything for your long exposures?
Invest in a tripod that is lightweight, versatile, and durable. Aluminum and carbon fiber tripods are ideal lightweight and sturdy options. Carbon fiber tripods are usually more expensive; however, they will be the lightest, and you won’t have to worry as much about corrosion if you plan on getting your tripod anywhere near the ocean.
You don’t want a tripod that limits your potential, so pick one that will enable you to capture those interesting high and low angles. Ten minutes is too long for those fleeting moments, which is why you also want your tripod to be quick and easy to assemble.
Read reviews and see what people are saying. I love my Vanguard Alta Pro 263AGH tripod because it meets all the criteria I have just described, and its pistol grip ball head makes it super quick and easy for me to compose my shot.
Top Camera Bags for Landscape Photography
The typical crossbody camera bag isn’t ideal for the landscape photographer. You and your shoulders are going to want a backpack that can more evenly distribute the weight for those long hikes.
Walking around your tripod for any length of time can get annoying, so do yourself a favor and find a backpack that will hold onto all your gear, including your tripod.
Ideally, your camera bag will be waterproof or at least have some sort of rain sleeve. If not, grab a garbage bag and protect your gear in those unprecedented rainstorms.
You now know what it takes to shoot legendary landscapes like a pro! Tell us what you think and share your legendary landscape experiences with us on Instagram!
Last update on 2020-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API