10 Tips For Scouting Landscape Photography Locations
This will all come down to personal preference and what you’re looking for on that particular day.
I covered a few in this video on my YouTube channel whilst I was out scouting a location myself, here’s some more
1. Make a plan – Look on the map before you set off and work out what route your going to go on. I’ve found that the scenes often don’t look like you expect them to from looking at the map so I like to see it for myself and then decide.
2. Ignore the plan*. You might see something whilst you’re out that is way better than what you’d predicted. Sometimes the weather will completely change the route you go on and it can make your photography better. None of my plans ever go 100% right so I keep them pretty flexible. If you do change make sure you know where you are on the map so you don’t get lost.
* If you’re photographing a location for a client, stick to the plan. No excuses. Photographing for yourself? Do what you want.
3. Look for small compositions on the route that might work on different days. Sometimes there’s streams or tracks etc that would work well on the right day. E.g. A waterfall on a frosty morning, ice on the edges with lots of water coming down. It’ll be less impressive in summer but you can have it in your arsenal for the right day. These might not be photos worth going to the location for on there own but they might be worth getting if you’re in the area.
4. Get the compass out. The sun rises in the East and Sets in the west. I’m not a huge fan of the bright skies as they sometimes look like a bit of a acid trip but sometimes everything lines up and you get the nice soft light, maybe a cloud inversion and you just know you’re looking at something special.
Scouting trips can be important for these trips as you will be doing the walk in the dark either A) Climbing up in the dark for sunrise or B) climbing down in the dark after sunset. Take a torch, you will need it.
5. Don’t blindly, trust the map.
Just because it looks like you will get a clear view from a certain point on the map doesn’t mean you will. Sometimes there are trees/other things in the way of what you want. Sometimes you find that out the hard way.
6. What are you photographing for?
I sell prints so I want something that I’d want to hang big on the wall so I’m quite picky about what I shoot. Work out what your end result will be and keep that in mind before you take the photo.
7. Find leading lines.
I find woodland scenes messy so I like to have a path that draws your eye through the image. Ideally, it would be on a curve as well but different scenes work with different compositions.
8. Work out the best angles. Low down image of waterfalls can make them look larger. High points with a clear view work well for panoramas. Work out these bits whilst your not rushing around as the light is fading, You should be able to roughly predict where the sun will be if you put a little bit of thought into it.
9. What lens do you need? This helps streamline the shooting process if the lens you need is already on the camera. It also means you don’t carry lens’ that aren’t needed that day.
10. Find sheltered spots. If you do long exposures this will be important as there are often not many hiding places from the wind on the top of the fells. These also come in handy when trying to stay warm – so you stay up there longer
These are just a few of many, let me know in the comments your tips!
Watch the video of my last scouting trip, if you find it helpful please subscribe and share it around