LANDSCAPES AND STREET PHOTOS
Familiarise yourself with the location. Find out where the sun rises and sets. Find out if anything is happening that you will want to photograph (performances, speakers, fireworks, opening ceremony).
If you want to use any photos for a commercial purpose you will need Talent Releases. Even if you don't need permission, it's nice to let people know if they are the focus of a photo. Particularly important to check if the photo can be used if there are recognisable children in it. Talent Releases are available via App and stock photo agencies.
If you have the opportunity, visit the location before your shoot to look at where you can photograph and what the sun will be doing.
photographing people in the environment
Don't be afraid to talk to people. More often, the pic will be better, and you will create a better visual if you have taken the time to talk to people. Most people are happy enough to have a pic taken. Show them after so they can see what you have made.
Ask if they want their photo taken. By hand gestures or verbally. If you can't talk to them due to distance/language/time, just point at your camera.
If you say you will send a pic - do. People remember and we want more people happy to have their photo taken, not bitter because they were lied to.
If someone says no, respect them. Don't try and sneak the photo. We are human first, photographers second.
Ask for permission to photograph children. There are many reasons for this, but particularly for keeping certain children's identities safe.
While travelling, don't offer to pay unless it's been asked for. Even though you think you are being nice, it creates an expectation of being paid.
Try and find a focus in a scene rather than an overview. Find something that is interesting to focus and frame your photograph. Huge mountain, dainty flowers, meandering path, quiet reflections.
Consider the sky. If it is boring, eliminate most of it. If it is interesting, break the rules and bring your horizon down lower to allow more in the frame. You will never look at clouds quite the same.
Add a sense of scale by adding something that is known. A can of drink, a person, etc. but make sure it interacts and mask sense in the photo. Place it around the middle of the pic, to get a sense of true scale.
Use foreground interest. Rocks, flowing water, trees, buildings, fences. It can add depth and 3D feel to the image but also lead the line into the scene.
By using a slow shutter speed, you can create smooth and milky seascapes. Exposures can be seconds or minutes long. Obviously, the camera will need to be on a tripod.
Leading lines - look at natural lines like rows of trees, the curve of a beach, the line of a breaking wave, roads.
Repeating patterns - trees, rooftops, fence posts, even geographic lines/objects/shadows.
Keep the horizon straight.
Don't forget the Rule of Thirds. You can even split your image up into the rule of thirds - foreground in the bottom third, focus in middle third (i.e., mountains, boat, surfer, people picnicking) and sky in upper third.
Look for symmetry - reflections, objects
Look at your light and where it is coming from - falling on the front or side of your subject. Do you want it fully lit (frontal) or a bit more dramatic with side light?
Sunsets are more interesting with silhouette objects as a focal point rather than just pretty colours in the sky. Use people, trees, structures.
Think about the time of day and the light. What mood do you want to create?
Play with different apertures - shallow depth of field to blur background
or all in focus.
Keep your lines straight - the camera on a level plane. Unless of course you are doing a quirky tilt angle photo.
Try different angles and zooms. Get abstract details and sweeping vistas.
Light changes quickly, be prepared. The sun could peep out from behind a cloud for a few seconds before disappearing again.
Get up early and stay out til dark. Sleep, eat and spend time with others during the middle of the day. Use the golden hours when the light is lower in the sky to add drama and atmosphere.
Go for a walk. Don't get lazy when taking landscapes. You never know where you will find a better view. Don't forget to keep looking behind you too.
Bad weather. Most people would put their camera away, but it tells a story and makes beautiful pics. Reflections in puddles, colour in plants is more vibrant. Storm clouds can add mood. Protect the camera with a plastic bag, cut a hole for the lens to stock through. Or a camera rain cover, if it gets too heavy. Most cameras can handle a bit of rain though, just continue to wipe it off, and make sure you get the spots off gently, off the lens.
Change your viewpoint. Get high and low. Crop and zoom out.
Include people. The man made environment or the human interacting with the environment.
Use first person view. Make the viewer feel like the camera is their eyes. Take a look at Instagram for loads of ways to get this feeling. Photographing feet, hands in the scene, looking across people.
Include local life to record the feeling of the location. Get photos of the fishermen on their boats, the children riding to school, the ladies bantering.
Take lots of photos. You never know what is going to work best. You may need one shot for a cover, and another shot of the same scene for a little square description image. You may then also need a panoramic for a website header. One image will not suit all uses.
camera Tech Tips
Minimise camera shake and movement
- use a tripod
-use a self-timer or shutter release
Polarising filter can darken blue skies and cut out reflections in the water. Also adds richness to colours. Play around with the variance and don't overuse it.
ND filter minimises the amount of light that reaches the sensor. Handy if you want to blur water/slow motion and the ambient light is too bright.
Graduated filters - quite often the sky is lighter than the foreground. To even out the tonal difference a Graduated filter is used. Their gradual transition from clear to dark balances the exposure between the sky and the land to make a more even exposure in which detail remains in both the highlight and shadow areas. An alternative to this is exposure blending, where different exposures are made of the scene and combined in software later.
Shoot RAW if possible
- RAW will give you the most options in creativity and expression in presenting the image.
- a long lens will compress the distance between foreground and background.
- a wide angle will give you lots of space and depth. It will also allow more details to remain in focus.
Choose one (or all if you are super keen):
Photograph the landscape at different times of days. Pay attention to the notes above. Implement at least one new thought before pressing the shutter.
Tell a story through a series of 5-10 photographs.
What to do once you have your photographs.
Editing, storage, archiving.