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Learning Landscape Photography

I moved to Tucson, Arizona this past January for a little adventure. I've always loved the southwest and the scenery here. So, I decided now was the best time for me to start trying some landscape photography.

It started out a little rough. I wasn't getting a good sense of proportions, I wasn't using foreground elements. Basically I was seeing these amazing views and was surprised that it wasn't just a point and shoot and capture it sort of deal.

It slowly started getting better though. I was starting to use some foreground elements to get a better sense of scale. I started using trails and plants to lead the eye and sort of invite the viewer in to imagine they were exploring that land.

Then came the understanding of coloring. The muted moody coloring that I've grown to love was something I didn't discover until a couple months ago. I realized I loved the muted tones that make it look more like a painting rather than a photo.

In nearly all of my images I stack 2-3 exposures. This is pretty simple- have your camera on a tripod, shoot the same photo- without moving the camera- with different shutter speeds so you have a darker exposed sky to blend in with the lighter exposed land in photoshop.

My coloring method is to add two different layers in photoshop, painted solid colors, and set them both to Pin Light. The darker color will fill in the highlights and the lighter color will fill in the shadows. I play around with what hue I think works best with the lighting that exists and I also adjust the opacity of those two individual layers until I have a soft and painterly landscape look. For the example below I added a dark green to the highlights and a light dusty red to the shadows.

Overall I'm really happy with my progress and where I'm at considering I hadn't tried landscape photography before this year. Monsoon season is just around the corner and I cannot WAIT to see what epic landscape shots I can capture here in the southwest. I post my landscape shots regularly over on my Instagram if you'd like to follow along!


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