6 tips for Planning a Landscape Photo Shoot

Updated: Oct 27, 2019

How many times have you shown your pictures to someone and said, ”You should have seen that sunset in person to understand how magic it was!”? We can make many excuses as to why the photo doesn’t look the same, complaining about our equipment, settings or post-production, but let’s face reality, maybe there was something wrong with our landscape photo!

Before you open Photoshop, and even before you press the shutter button, you need to plan the kind of image you want to create. Planning plays a key role in landscape photography. Here are some things that are useful to think about if you want to capture the perfect light and transmit some feelings with your images.

Tip 1: Check the weather forecast

Landscape photography is one of the most difficult genres, or at least among the most unpredictable, as you don’t have any control over the weather at the scene.

What kind of atmosphere do you want to create with your image? The weather can completely transform a landscape, so think carefully about what mood you want to evoke. If you want to create a bright, cheerful image you might already know that a blue sky with fluffy white clouds would be better than a flat blue sky, or even worse a grey one.

So, before you drive for two hours and you arrive to see is a dull landscape, use the only weapon at your disposal: the weather forecast.

Tip 2: Choose the right time of the day and year

The perfect weather condition alone is useless without proper light. In landscape photography, the light is given by the position of the sun in the sky in relation to your subject. Fortunately, this is something more predictable than the weather. Calculate where the sun will be at particular times of day, and it will be easier for you to foresee how the scene will be illuminated. Again, think about the atmosphere you want to create. Light and peaceful? Dark and moody? Are there any particular landmarks you want to highlight? The answer to these questions will inform where you want your light to be, and consequently what time of day to shoot.

Bear in mind that the sun’s position doesn’t change only during the day, but also throughout the year. As a result, in one year there are many different lighting conditions for the same place. It would be a shame not to use them to your advantage. You can use many websites and apps for this; the ones that I use the most is PhotoPills & TPE.