1. Plan ahead
Planning your photography trips are made easy with today's technology and is essential to get the most out of your time. Firstly, you need to decide your location; local photographers websites are a great way to find inspirational locations in your chosen area. Make sure you check your local weather and tides in advance to be prepared for the conditions a head. Allow 30 - 60 minutes of scouting time to explore the area for the best possible shot. This allows you thinking time and a higher chance of capturing that perfect image we are all looking for.
2. Know your camera settings
As you know there are multiple settings on your camera, but there is only one setting that matters for landscape photography. That setting is manual mode (M), this allows you to have full control of your camera. Manual mode may seem a daunting task if you are a beginner, but learning the basics of photography will help you conquer manual mode.
3. Learn the basics
Youtube is a great place to learn the basics of photography with endless tutorials to choose from, it is also how I learnt the basics of photography. I recommend learning from online tutorials but I will tell you the basics that are important for landscape photography below:
Aperture (F) - This controls the depth of field and focal length of your lens, in simple terms it determines how much of your image is in focus. A great starting aperture (F) is between 8 -12, for a nice crisp and in focus image.
Shutter speed - Is responsible for creating frozen still images or capturing blurring motions. Higher shutter speeds are more achievable when there is a lot of available light for the camera to capture. A good starting shutter speed to freeze action is between 300 - 1000th of a second. The opposite is achieved for long shutter speeds and blurring motions. This is best attained during sunrise and sunset during low light periods, a great shutter speed to retain detail and a blurring effect is between 0"3 - 2" seconds.
ISO - Is used to determine the quality of your image taken and to add additional light to your scene. The compromise of adding additional light through high ISO is a lower quality image, an example of this is used to shoot stars during very low light conditions. I would recommend leaving your ISO settings on 100 to guarantee the best quality image every time. Changing your aperture and shutter speed can help determine the specific exposure you need if done correctly instead of increasing your ISO.
4. Shoot in RAW
RAW files are a must if you are post processing your photos. Why? because JPEG files have already applied contrast, sharpness and saturation by the camera. RAW files do not do this and they leave a lot more room to edit and push your photos to their maximum potential.
5. Use a tripod
I often see photographers taking photos of sunsets without tripods down the beach, this is fine if you enjoy casual photography. But to get the most out of your photos a tripod is essential for sharpe and clean images, especially during low light situations and low shutter speeds.
6. Keep it simple
It is very easy to over complicate an image and to fill the frame with as many points of interests as possible. However this usually does not look appealing once it is transferred to the computer screen. One subject in the foreground and a beautiful background is all you need to create an amazing image.
7. Expose correctly
A well exposed image can make post processing a much simpler task and produce a higher quality image. How to expose an image correctly? Your histogram should be well exposed to the right, with no highlight or shadow clippings. A great way to expose an image correctly is bracketing by taking multiple exposures and blending them together during post processing.
8. Invest in post processing software
The obvious and best post processing software on the market is PhotoShop and Lightroom, however they are quite pricey. Cheaper software is available but lacking quality.
9. Learn how to post process your images
Learning post processing is almost as important as taking a good photo, if not more important. I would also recommend Youtube to learn these necessary skills. B and H photos, Elia Locardi and Professional Photography Tips are a great place to start.
10. Only showcase your best work
Social media is over saturated with photos and let's be honest most of them are terrible. Don't be like the majority and post ordinary photos, stand out and only post your best work. You will know when you have a great image and the feeling will be very satisfying.