You don’t need to be a pro in order to take great pictures. That’s what Erik Stensland, professional landscape photography and gallery owner, told me in a recent interview. Erik will be hosting our Slovenia photography tour next spring. He’s passionate about landscape photography and that passion and attention to detail shows in his work.
My question to him though was “How can someone like me take photos like you?” Here are Erik’s 5 photography tips for taking photos like a pro. None of these require special equipment other than a regular camera and a tripod. Give them a try and watch your portfolio expand!
While it is tempting to wish for those clear sunny days, many of the most dramatic photos are taken during bad weather when the clouds are low and full of texture and the earth is damp and colorful. Dress appropriately and get out there. Use a plastic bag or buy a camera cover to protect your gear in the rain. Bring a soft absorbent towel to dry your lens. If there is lightning, head to your car or indoors.
Remember that beauty is to be found not only at the distant horizons, but sometimes right below our feet. Look down and celebrate the wonder that is often overlooked. Look for contrasting elements that emphasize the small details of our world.
Water in Motion
To create the sense of motion when photographing waterfalls, put your camera on a tripod and change the mode to shutter speed priority (TV). Start with a shutter speed setting of 1/3 of second and then adjust to taste. For best results you’ll want overcast skies, or alternatively, shoot just before sunrise or just after sunset.
Have you ever wanted to capture the sun with rays spreading out from it. This can be easily captured without any special equipment. Simply find a mountain, branch, cloud or other object to partially block the sun and then set your camera to a very small aperture such as F22. This will force the sun to reveal its rays, creating a sunstar.
It is so tempting to try and fit all the beauty that surrounds us into one photograph, yet the most powerful photographs are typically those that have just one clear subject. The rest of the image can be built to support that subject by using leading lines and background colors that contrast with the subject. By simply changing your location you can help to isolate your subject and make it the clear focus of your photo.
If you’re interested in learning from a pro, join Erik’s Slovenia Photography Tour May 2018.
Learn from one of the best!