photography, travel tips

How do I get my Photos: Location, Setting, Timing

So you have your gear and now you are ready to go out and take some awesome shots right? Where to begin?

Start with something you are really interested in. I usually see an amazing photo and think “I want that shot, I want to be there and see that in person”. And than I try to make it my own.

I may get the typical shot at the typical place or I may get something totally unique: which is far more rewarding. Sometimes I don’t get anything good at all.

I love mountains and expansive landscape scenes. So that’s what I gravitate toward. I purposely travel to mountainous spots and schedule hiking and trips around prime landscape scenes. But the location is really up to you and what you love. Don’t do what I do, do what you want and what you love.

Once you’ve found the right location the next task is getting the right setting.

Where do you want to set up your camera? Do you want someone in the photo to add perspective? I personally love having people in my photos. They add a new dimension and personalize the scene. They help tell the story as more than just a generic shot of an amazing scene.

Another aspect of setting is the perspective. Do you want to look down or look up? Do you want to be far away or zoomed in? For me that depends on the scene. I want to include enough of the surroundings to create depth of field so I like to get something close by in the photo. It could be a person, a tree, a cactus. I also don’t want to much detail (although I tend to be bad at accomplishing this) because if your eyes are being pulled in all directions the photo will lose its focus.

Also a part of setting is leading the eye in the direction of the main subject of your photo. This is also something I am learning. I try to find natural aspects of the landscape, a valley or a stream works perfectly, to leave the eye in the direction of the horizon.

Finally, you need to find the right timing. Usually the golden hours around dawn and dusk are best. However, on a cloudy day you can shoot almost any time (I love clouds, they have saved many an otherwise mediocre photo). Or if you are far north in the summer you may find that each day gives you 6-8 golden hours giving much more time to get that perfect shot.

You may want to wait for a cloudy day to create a stormy dark feeling. Or a perfect sunset to illuminate your subject. Timing is perhaps the most important aspect. For me cloudy days are best especially those ominous snow storm clouds that completely coat the sky with 3-dimensional grey contour.

Have some tips of your own? Please share them below. I’m not the expert! I’m here to learn just like you 🙂

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Check out the Equipment I use

Nikon D3300
Nikkor 18-140mm Zoom Lens
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II