Bringing about the opportunity to escape everyday life and capture the true beauty of our world, it’s no wonder landscape photography is one of the most popular photography niches today.
It’s a rather simple process to get started in landscape photography – all you need is a decent camera and a good eye for capturing the unblemished assets of the great outdoors. What does takes time is perfecting your style, something that will turn an amateur landscape photographer into an adept professional.
Landscape photography encapsulates the natural environment that’s free man-made features and other disruptions. However, contemporary approaches have seen more urban settings appearing in the mix, as a way of reporting on the changes to the world we live in. Many photographers choose landscape photography to share their outdoor travel experiences, whilst others use their images to invoke change in today’s modern world. Some landscape photographs display vast expanses of natural settings, whereas others focus in on a specific subject – the elements are often made the focal point too.
“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer, and often the supreme disappointment.”
Ansel Adams – American Landscape Photographer
Discover more about some of our favourite UK landscape photographers. Read all about their experiences and what advice they would give to budding landscape photographers.
David Taylor is an award-winning landscape, travel and architectural photographer, based in the North East of England. His captivating imagery encapsulates the wild and rugged landscapes of Northumberland and the surrounding areas.
Justin Minns spends much of his time capturing the beauty of East Anglia, as well as running photography workshops around the world. Justin’s quality work has delivered him some fantastic clients, including the National Trust, not to mention a wealth of achievements too, the most recent having three images commended in the Landscape Photographer of the Year.
Based in Cornwall, professional landscape photographer, Guy Richardson, has a passion for capturing the unspoiled coastline and mountainous areas of the South West.
His landscape images encapsulate the rugged and diverse landscape, with time lapse photography used to add variety and depth to his body of work.
Landscape photography is an age-old niche, being one of the first styles to be used. The first ever camera photograph is said to have been taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce back in 1826. The image displayed a view of his estate in Burgundy, France, and took over 8 hours to capture.
This shot encouraged other like-minded photographers, to try their hand at shooting landscapes or cityscapes as their static subjects.
During its early years, photography became a standardised process as opposed to the art form we refer to today, due to the fact that it was so easily accessible. Over time, skilled photographers began to explore more intricate photography processes, known as pictorialism, simply to separate their skilful work from that of others.
It wasn’t until the late 19th century that photography was separated from painting as its own art form. This motion was started by Peter Henry Emerson, who was an early landscape photographer who encouraged photographers to look to nature for inspiration.
Considered one of the pioneers of landscape photography, Ansel Adams grew the popularity of the photography niche in America during the early 20th century.
Adams was both a photographer and an environmentalist, which meant that his landscape photography meant much more to him than simply sharing his experiences. His images played a role in encouraging people to preserve the wilderness, which became incredibly influential during the time of the Industrial Revolution.
The progression into urban landscape photography Over in the UK, what were once British towns, soon grew into large cities as a result of the Industrial Revolution. With this boom came many more urban landscapes displaying city skylines and panoramas of their boundaries.
By 1970, urban landscape photography had become extremely popular, providing a complete contrast to what was the original landscape photography niche.
It’s clear to see that landscape photography has had an incredible journey since its birth back in 1826. Not only is it taken more seriously as an art form, it has also adapted to keep in touch with the modern world. There’s no doubt that both traditional landscape photography and urban landscape photography will work together, to not only deliver epic images of the world we live in, but to provide knowledge and information on how it is changing over time.
Adaptation is something that professional landscape photographers need to keep in mind, to avoid the death of this art form in the midst of technological improvements. The likes of smartphones and apps are making quality landscape photography much more accessible. Will landscape photography revert back to its days being of being considered a mechanical process?
Starting out as a beginner landscape photographer simply requires a quality DSLR within your budget, but for more detail and artistic flare, opt for a large-format digital or film camera.
The Sony A7R II & A7R III are popular amongst professional landscape photographers for their fantastic low-light performance, handling and weather-sealed qualities. For a budget-friendly alternative, opt for the Sony DSC-RX100/B or the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10K.
Try to stick with just two lenses to take with you on your shoots, as this will keep your camera case light and travel-friendly.
The 16-35mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/4 are recommended landscape photography lenses. They cover many focal lengths used to shoot landscapes and provide ultra wide-angles to fit more into your images.
Natural landscapes are cluttered with rocky surfaces, muddy expanses and a slippery underfoot, not to mention the extreme elements you can often be faced with. A sturdy tripod will help to support your camera in these conditions, whilst delivering stable shots at the same time.
A remote trigger will also work well with a tripod in stabilising images as much as possible.
Filters help to perfect your photography when the conditions or elements within your landscape photography settings aren’t at their best.
Circular Polariser – to prevent the sun’s reflection from creeping into your images. Neutral Density Filter – to block some light from the camera’s sensor in order to slow down the exposure. Graduated Neutral Density Filter – perfect for when capturing horizons. Reversed Neutral Density Filter – perfect for shooting sunrises and sunsets. Clear Filter – to protect your lenses from dirt, sand and dust
A hard camera case is a must, to protect your camera kit when you’re shooting in the great outdoors.
To succeed as a professional landscape photographer in this competitive industry, it pays to master a number of key skills and characteristics:
Develop a style to keep your photography creative and appealing
Perfect your editing skills to enhance the colours in the images or isolate certain aspects within it
Research locations thoroughly to build a technical knowledge of your subjects
Organisation and planning is key to make the most of your shoots in the great outdoors
Patience to be able to wait as long as it takes to capture that perfect shot
Knowledge of the latest technology – to keep ahead of competitors and to get the most out of your photography equipment.
It takes much more than just a good eye to become a professional landscape photographer – well-rounded knowledge and expertise in the niche is what will set you apart from the crowd.