1 Assess the scene. The biggest problem when photographing spectacular landscapes is you can often get overwhelmed by it and just start shooting, shooting, shooting. You have to avoid that, because when you get home you may find you have missed the shot. The key is to look for the elements in the photo that convey that picture. Get back from the scene sometimes. Use the foreground, trees or lines that try and draw you into the image.
2. Plan for the sunrise. Always get to a sunrise location as early as you can. Give yourself plenty of time to find your position and check all your camera settings, so you’re not freaking out running here and there. You want to be able to see the sunrise when it first appears. So, I always like to be there at least half an hour before first light.
3. Relax. A very important thing when you’re taking photographs is to relax and slow down. Often, your mind starts to go too quickly and you get confused with what’s happening – especially if it’s fast action such as at sunrise. You tend to get caught up in the moment. It’s very important to slow yourself down to try and make sure you have everything right to capture those special moments. I have seen many people miss the best shots by getting too excited and overwhelmed. It can be something as simple as not having your camera in focus, or having it on the wrong setting. So train yourself – even when things are happening quickly – to slow down. That way you will be more likely to get those incredible shots.
4. Don’t over shoot. Since the advent of digital photography, people tend to go to an area, shoot the living daylights out of it and assume they are going to get a great shot. If you do this, you may actually miss the decisive moment because you haven’t really thought about what you’re doing there, what is happening, and how you are going to convey that back to people. Remember, it’s not about how many shots you take; it’s about capturing the magical moment. Your job of editing back at home will be much easier if you don’t have hundreds of images to go through. Think about what you’re doing and experience the moment to capture the magical shots.
5. Avoid bad advice. One of things I have realised through running many photographic workshops, is that a lot of people are given bad advice. So please be careful who you take advice from, because it may send you down a road you never needed to go down and end up taking your photography backwards. Look for photographers who have the experience and track record of proven quality.
6. Don’t rely on post processing. One of the things I like to point out is not to rely on Photoshop or other post processing applications. Try to get the image right in the camera. There is a lot of natural colour in nature as it is. Make sure you get the histogram as accurate as possible so your exposure is correct. And try to get your composition right in the camera. Then there will be little to do in post-production and you will have more time to go out taking photos.