• Nara Simhan

Landscape Photography- How To

I get frequently one question:

" I'm interested in Landscape photography and how to start it."


Now that I have lot of time, compiled my earlier responses here.


If you are new to Landscape photography,this could help you.

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It is common, many of us getting inspired by beautiful landscape photographs and would try to take similar photo.

We often assume, some filters with best of camera-lens combo, travel to Ladakh and get breath-taking

pictures.


Life is not as simple as such.

A good photo can be taken by the way of luck or fluke.

But to make a consistent work,one has to go beyond the serendipity.


Let us start with essential gears needed:

  • An entry level camera is sufficient for landscape photography.

  • An entry level full frame is preferred.

  • Kit lens like 18-55 or 24-120 and a telephoto zoom lens(like 55-200 or 70-200) is sufficient.

  • A tripod which can withstand 8-10kgs of weight.

  • Polariser . A good quality polariser is recommended.

  • ND Filter and Graduated-ND filter: Not needed, Good to have though. Nowadays all post processing software provides this feature.

  • 10-stop,15-stop Filters : Not Needed in the initial stages.


The above are sufficient for landscape photography.





The most challenging part in landscape photography is not about gears,but techniques and art.


First Part:

Learn the technical skills of photography.Like how to get proper exposure, Concepts like Depth of Field etc.,.A skill can be easily acquired with less time.

Learning technical part is easy.Its like learning to cycle.

BTW,Don't switch to different camera brands,or many lenses.Stick to one brand.All modern cameras have similar functionality, features and bugs.


Learn basics of post processing. How to correct photos, concepts like dodging, burning etc.,Stick to one post processing software. Nowadays, within Rs.3000-4000 budget, good quality softwares are available.


The real challenge is Composition, forms the second part.



An eye to look for patterns,curves, lines, placement of subject , looking into light and shadows - essentially a strong aesthetic sense for composition. There are many good resources available online teaching this art. You can do self study or join some courses.


The eye for composition,can be nurtured only by practice. Studying works of Masters,helps. But it is the

practice, practice and practice.


Practice is a slow process.Its like learning a musical instrument or painting.

It has to be learnt over a period of time.You need patience.Visit the places multiple times . Spend more time in the field.Identify a mentor, preferably someone near you,Get a regular feedback. BTW,Social Media is not the platform for feedback based learning .


Over the period of time,may be from months to Years, you start getting the rhythm.You will be able to deliver consistently.


Don't bother about visualisation or pre-visualization and many such concepts during the initial stages



As you start getting the rhythm, all things will fall in its place.Too much of reading of advanced materials will not help in initial stages.You get confused unnecessarily .


What worked for Ansel Adams or other Masters may not work for you.

You can't become Buddha by immitating Buddha's lifestyle.

Allow yourself to grow.Dont get stressed out for the results.Just give some time to your mind.Flowering starts automatically without your efforts.


As you get tuned to landscape photography,start studying the master photographers ,works of classical painters .They will inspire you to do better.


In a nutshell,

  • Techniques form 30% of your creativity - Both camera and Post Processing

  • Nurturing Creativity forms the rest

  • Spend more time in the field

  • Get feedback

  • Don't get carried away by camera brands,lenses etc., Don't get spoiled by the choices.

  • Don't try to be a perfectionist.You are not a robot,which can make precision nanometre resolution of metal cutting.By trying to become perfectionist,you end up acquiring many gears,gizmos and unnecessary stuffs.

  • Understand the grammar and rules of composition.Rules can be broken. Grammar will remain same.

  • Don't push yourself too much or getting worried about lack of progress. Creativity will come on its own.




This is based on my personal experiences. I just put down things what works for me or how I approached the photography.

Nara | contact@nara.in | Chennai,India

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(c) Narasimhan,2017