We’ve previously tackled general mobile photography techniques you can use when you’re walking around destination countries like Kuala Lumpur or the Maldives. However, those are perfect if you’re only taking pictures for Instagram. Not really for photos you might want to hang on your wall or include in your portfolio.
For this reason, let’s see if we can help you take better photos so you can boast the perfect landscape shot.
Your camera should be your best friend
If you still don’t know how to work with a DSLR, don’t rush it. The key to getting good photos isn’t just about the instrument you’re using, it’s how adept you are with it. Even if you’re only using your phone, if you know how to manipulate it down to the most minute setting, you’re good to go.
Of course, DSLRs are still very much the camera of choice when taking photos. So make sure you still dedicate time to learning how to use it.
Visualise your photo before taking a shot
We take photos to preserve a memory or a feeling a place has evoked in us. Keep this in mind when you’re taking your shots. It shouldn’t be done all willy-nilly, instead ask yourself what this particular landscape, this particular scene is making you feel. Visualise how you want those feelings cemented on a photo. Then take your shot.
Let’s say you’ve wound up on Kuah Town in Langkawi, Malaysia. It’s a place with beaches and shopping centres, but isn’t as crowded as the capital city. From coming out of your Langkawi accommodation like the Langkawi Seaview Hotel to walking with the crowd at Night Market Kuah, what was the overall mood? What did the weather over a sandy beach is making you feel? Once you’ve figured those out, take your photo.
Try not to use too much Photoshop
There’s a lot of debate on whether true photography should include post-production. And to this, I say that it does. Sometimes editing is part of the artistic expression, and some photo perfect shots have gone through a little manipulation.
However, the reason you’ve visualised your shot beforehand is to minimise the editing required. Remember that post-production is supposed to clean an image up and not to rely on it heavily.
Wait for the right moment
The best photographers usually wait for the right moment to take photos. Good timing is holding back until the wind blows in so that the trees sway in a specific way. It’s waiting for the sun to touch the horizon to take the perfect silhouette.
In short, practice extreme patience. The environment is your canvas, and it would do you good to wait for all the elements t sync.
Don’t hesitate to experiment
Even Instagram photographers have an idea of what constitutes a common photo and what looks like it’s well thought out. If you don’t have a specific signature technique yet, this is your chance to experiment.
This means that experimenting with angles, textures, and even different lighting. What you want is for your photo to express an emotion and incite that same emotion to your viewers. Taking that kind of shot will require you to think outside of the box and be extremely creative.
Did you notice that these tips aren’t technical? That’s because a lot of beginner photographers limit themselves to supposed photography rules. They’re thinking composition or the Rule of Thirds, when they should be thinking about orchestrating every element in the environment and perceiving the right moment to press click.
That’s what photography is largely about. If you cannot master this, then technical knowledge won’t do you any good.