Capturing powerful landscape photographs, images that might be considered “Fine Art,” is no easy task. Here are 7 tips that have helped me to capture better, more meaningful landscape photos.
Don’t worry too much about the “Fine Art” concept
There are endless online discussions about the true concept of Fine Art, many regarding photography. As soon as you say that you’re a “Fine Art” photographer you are bound to hear criticism, mostly centered around the thought that you are being elitist and vain using such terms.
Paintings or sculptures do not usually need to be labeled as “Fine Art”, as they are intuitively recognized as such. But in the middle of millions of snapshots, what should you call the images you’ve put so much effort into?
The truth is there is no right answer, so I encourage you not to worry about the label.
Choose to focus on the fact that, if you are putting your soul and vision in your work, trying to show the landscapes you witness with the greatest impact and/or emotion, then you are most certainly creating “art,” probably “art” that is clearly “fine”…
It will always be about the light
You’ve probably seen this tip mentioned often, but it’s still as true now as it was the first time it was written. Unless you have the talent of a landscape painter like Turner (and if you do, why are you a photographer?), you will always need to get the best possible light to turn mundane scenes into remarkable images.
Special light creates special images, and this is absolutely true in landscape photography. Shooting gorgeous scenery under harsh light and clear skies will create a good photo, but probably not a remarkable one as it will lack contrast, depth, tonal range and “emotion.”
Creating “art” requires the presence of an “Artisan” who is also an “Artist”, meaning that he is both skilled in his craft and passionate about his subject. One of the most important raw materials a photographer should work with is light, so you should always spend as much time as needed to find the perfect light conditions to shoot a scene. Every now and then you might get lucky and find stunning light by chance, but this is a chase that invariably requires many hours of preparation and scouting.