Over the years, I have developed various processes to improve my photography skills. Below are some of the activities I do before going out and photographing, during the photography session and when I arrive home.
The first step I do is:
* Planning, researching and anticipating the type of photos I want to photograph of the location. I will do some google research of the location, review photos that have been photographed from the locations, view the terrain via google maps, look at the direction light and other valuable information by using the apps: Photopills or photographer's ephemeris. Both applications are great tools. Once I have reviewed the location and the type of images that have been photographed from that location, I can start to visualize my composition and the type of photo I want to take. Depending on the type of photograph I want, I consider the direction of the light, the best time of the year to photograph the location and the season. If I am going to a popular location, I want to ensure the best time to arrive at the location to secure my best spot.
My second step:
* Visualization/Composition: As noted above, I want to think of the type of photograph I want, the composition; I want your original shot, if possible, to scout the area the day before to know the best spot and composition location.
My third step;
* Make sure I know my equipment inside out, review my photography checklist when packing my camera bag, I make sure that my settings are fresh and do not have the settings from a previous photoshoot. During the photoshoot, I constantly review my photos to ensure that my photos are correctly exposed and that my images are tack-sharp. Since I use a tripod, I use the lowest ISO and know my lenses' sweet spot, i.e. f/8 to d/11.
My fourth step:
I understand the rule of composition, make sure that my images are well balanced and have excellent symmetry.
My fifth step:
* I like to think or have a clear understanding of what my photo will look like - make it pop, paint in the light, darken those areas, reduce the saturation in certain areas, etc.
What are your landscape photography secrets?