What makes a better landscape photo?

We have compiled a list of the TOP50 questions that we hear on our workshops. From gear, to settings, to composition, and shooting styles, we have decided to post three questions and answers a week till we get through them all.

We hope they answer some of the questions that you may have. Here is today’s question.

Question: What makes a better landscape photo?

Today's answer supplied by David Topping.

You might think the key to a better landscape photo would be a great landscape. But while a beautiful landscape certainly has the potential to be a great photo, you’re really only halfway there. 

There are two elements that work together to make a great landscape photo. The first is what nature gives you. The second is what you bring to the scene. 

Finding a compelling landscape gets you in the right place (and, of course, this can be subjective, but trust your instincts – if you feel an emotional connection to the scene, chances are others will, too). But just being there doesn’t guarantee a great photo. If you really want to create a strong image, you need nature to provide ideal conditions and great light. You’ll find some of the best light early in the morning and late in the day – the “golden hours” of sunrise and sunset. You’ll also find great conditions after storms, or even in the soft, diffuse light of an overcast day. 

You can’t control the elements, and sometimes it’s just about being in the right place at the right time to capture a truly spectacular scene. But the more you get out, the better your chances of being in a location when everything comes together to create a unique photographic opportunity. Be there and be patient, and you might just be rewarded with some of your best images. 

However, standing in the middle of a beautiful landscape bathed in perfect light won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to capture it within the frame of your camera. Of course, to achieve this, you must possess the technical skills required to capture the image. But to make a truly great landscape photo, it is important to recognize the difference between a great scene (the content of your photo) and a great photo. You may be able to capture a beautiful sunset reflecting in a still mountain lake, but you need to bring strong creative and compositional skills to the scene to make it a truly great photo. Develop those skills and you’ll be equipped to create compelling landscape photos wherever nature inspires you.

David will be teaching our composition classes in 2016. Chris and him are currently working on the schedule that will be live soon. Please contact us if you want to be notified when those classes go live.



Kevin A Pepper

Kevin is a photographer and educator based in Waterloo, Ontario. His first love is photographing nature, regardless of the season or weather condition; the Ontario landscape and its wildlife are his inspiration. But you will also see other styles of photography in his portfolio. From street photography to urban exploration of abandoned buildings and architecture, he loves to capture it all with his camera for his corporate clients and his growing personal portfolio. Kevin’s images have been featured in Canadian Nature Photographer, PHOTONews Canada, Photo Technique Magazine, The London Free Press, The Weather Network, and National Geographic Online. His diverse client list includes the City of Cambridge, Olympus, GORE Mutual, TVO, and African Lion Safari. Kevin also operates “Northof49 Photography”, a company launched in 2012 dedicated to teaching amateur photographers through International and Canadian-based workshops. In the coming year, Kevin will be leading workshops in Iceland, Mongolia, Tanzania, Venezuela, Provence, and numerous destinations across Canada. Website: www.kevinpepperphotography.com