Final tips from our professional photographer
What is the purpose of your image?
Niall says… One of the first questions that you should ask yourself when taking a picture is whether the image is narrative or aesthetic. Should it describe the scene and tell a story, or should it be more abstract, and simply be a gorgeous picture?
Although possible, a shot can rarely do the two things at the same time. The answer will help you decide on the composition, and how much you show of the scene. The next question that you need to ask with any landscape shot is how you are going to deal with the sky.
The sky sets the emotional tone for the shot. A blue sky gives a completely different feel to a shot than stormy clouds, for instance.
On an overcast day like this, however, there is a danger that the sky will burn out to pure white, giving a neutral feel that doesn’t work well with colour. In this case the best approach (as with this abstract shot of a waterfall taken by Melanie) is to cut out the sky entirely. The result is an image that allows you to concentrate on the aesthetic.
For pictures of moving water, particularly any shot needing a shutter speed of 1/15 sec or longer, Niall recommends using Mirror Lockup (MUP) mode.
Know when to ignore the histogram
With a white sky behind the beech buds, getting the exposure right was tricky, as the histogram said things were worse than they actually were. The Highlight Alert gave a quick way of ensuring the leaves were not blown out.
Diffuse the light
A diffuser gives you a soft, big light source, allowing you to mimic the effect of clouds on a sunny day. One of the advantages of fluted polypropylene envelope stiffeners (see opposite) is that you can alter their opacity by changing the angle at which you hold them to the subject. When I use the diffusers with flash lighting, I ensure the flash is twice the distance to the diffuser as the diffuser is to the subject.
Consistent lighting helps to create a panel of pictures that go together well, as you’ll see in our Shot of the Day on page 5. Niall stands to provide shade over the area that Melanie is shooting, during a rare moment of sunshine.
PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Outdoor photography ideas you can use anywhere
PAGE 3: Final tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day
Clever ways to shoot flat, lowland terrain
How to shoot dramatic pictures of the sea
Landscape photography ideas for rivers, waterfalls and lakes
Landscape photo ideas for creative pictures of mountains and hills