Developing Your Landscape Photography – Workflow and Method

We have been hanging out in obscure places, at obscure hours of the day, searching for the perfect image, that perfect light for more than 10 years now. The best image, the best experience is really at the core of what we want to achieve at ExploreLight. Time certainly flies but the ride has been amazing.

For most of our journey, we have also been passing on our skills and knowledge to those around us, through photography workshops and courses in an ever-expanding ExploreLight community. We feel like our methods have developed, our skill levels increased and with that, we feel we have a concrete process that allows people to take their landscape photography to the next level no matter where you currently reside.

So let’s bring it back to the beginning. Where did we start?

Back when Peter had hair and shot film. 2011

Where should you start?

The most common thing we hear when people are starting out is that they feel they have a good eye for a picture, they love being outside, experiencing nature, but often times they cannot capture what they see. They cannot communicate how they felt through the image. There’s a technical barrier.

While we have no doubt that great pictures can be made without much technical skill, a lack of understanding technically will more likely be a barrier to being creative. To be consistently producing great work you need to get a handle on some essential core skills. You don’t need to be glued to a computer, or a book, or treat your photography as an academic pursuit. Get outside and start taking pictures by capturing a sunrise at your local beach or lake, climbing up mountains in search for great light all the while trying to hone the core technical skills to set you free.

It shouldn’t be a chore,. It should be an exciting, invigorating, sometimes overwhelming journey of joy and inspiration.

Landscape photography is fundamentally about light, composition and dedication. However we believe you need to get a handle on the technical topics below to be set up perfectly on this exciting and creative journey. Come join us to kickstart your landscape photography journey or just use this blog as a reference and draw on our experience of what topics you should focus on in developing your technical skills.

Core Skills 1 (take a course with us to learn these skills)

  • Aperture and Shutter Speed
  • Shooting Aperture Priority and Manual
  • ISO (the exposure triangle),
  • Tripod Use, Focusing,
  • White Balance,
  • RAW,
  • Filters Intro

Core Skills 2 (take a course with us to learn these skills)

  • Filters Grad ND,
  • Stoppers/Solid ND’s for long exposure,
  • Polarisers,
  • Histograms(Shooting Right For Max Detail),
  • Automated Blending

 

Participants in action on our Wicklow course.

The learning never really stops and as camera technology develops there are always new things we can add to our technical arsenal. However, we believe, on an educational and philosophical level, that the focus of learning needs to switch once you have a handle on these core technical principles. Don’t obsess over advancement in low light sensitivity technology, hyperfocal distance, comparing diffraction on lens ‘a’ versus lens ‘b’. Obsess over the lines in your photographs, the weather, the possibilities of a big tide or a special morning of mist. Be dedicated, be willing to push hard to get the best shots possible. Revisit, get wet, go again.

Dedication on our Iceland workshop.

Improve your post-production skills and get a handle on Lightroom and Photoshop. Editing is just like behind the camera skills. It’s fundamentally about vision. Approach post-production from this perspective once you have the core fundamental skills in place. We are working on a series of videos that will help you in this regard and they will be ready soon.

The ExploreLight education programme mirrors these philosophies. Our masterclasses, long weekends away, and extended tours will touch on any technical issues people may have, but the focus is on insight, following the instructors lead in terms of dedication, getting advice on composition and making sure you are in the right place at the right time. We are selling a process of education, and the possibility of immense inspiring activities, however, we hope this article speaks for more than what we sell. We would like to think we have an idea, a philosophy, that this blog outlines.

To summarise, if you want to really improve your photography get a handle on the technical attributes of your camera. Do it while being creative, getting outside and enjoying your shooting. But don’t agonise and labour these points. Take your photography to the next level through light, composition and dedication.

The ExploreLight Team

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