Guide to fine art landscape photography

Out of Water long exposure photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash

It took me a long time to discover the design of photography that matched my emotional and spiritual actions to what I was seeing, as I stood in the wind and rain that normally accompanied my expeditions. Many individuals see long-exposure work as a little bit of a cliché: misty water and a few sticks in the sea; wandering clouds and an extremely light high-key look. Yes, it can be, but the same can be stated of many elements of photography

Personally, long-exposure photography enables me to explore a sense of calm; a visual relaxation that matches the way I feel when I look at the landscape. In my previous task as image editor of The Times, I used to look through someplace in excess of 20,000 images a day searching for the perfect one for the front page. I lived my life at break-neck speed, barely taking a breath. When I left The Times at the end of 2011, I was persuaded there need to be more to life than what I had. I needed to get more out of myself photographically which’s where long-exposure work came to the rescue.

Long-exposure photography can permit you to explore a sense of calm.
Long Exposure for fine art landscape photography
Get started with fine art landscape photography.
Have a connection

Before we enter the technical side of long-exposure photography and counting direct exposure increase, there is something much more crucial than the technical issues– it’s vision, analysis and connection with your subject.

I enjoy what Ansel Adams said:

‘ A terrific photograph is a complete expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is, thus, a true expression of what one feels about life in its totality.’

You have to have the ability to connect your feelings to the landscape around you. It’s no excellent simply shooting lots of images in the hope of getting an excellent one. Rather, shoot a photo that really catches how you feel at the time, and maybe shoot a 2nd image. If nothing else, long-exposure work will stop you from shooting lots of needless images. The something you’ll require in abundance is perseverance, not sd card.

Think about what state of mind you desire your images to show.
My really first long-exposure image was a mistake. I set up my Horseman SW612 medium-format video camera in my bed room window one Christmas night to take an image of the snow under moonlight over the Pennines. I ‘d had a glass or more of red wine– probably somewhat more– and wasn’t in the sharpest of mind frames. I vaguely keep in mind taking a meter reading off the snow with my spotter and thinking it was darker than it looked. I set the aperture to f/11 and believed five minutes would do it. Four hours later on I went back to the bedroom and saw the electronic camera, remembered what I had tried to do, laughed drunkenly and closed the shutter.

The good news is, now my images are rather more thought about and a lot less white wine is consumed in making them!


For me, long direct exposures are anything over 30secs, although many Facebook groups argue that it should be anything over 1sec.

The filters are the essential little devices that you should focus on. They will depend upon your budget, but– and it’s a huge however– more expensive brand names like Lee and Formatt Hitech are without a doubt better in manufacture, consistency of colour and density.

I utilize Lee adapter rings and holders, and some of their filters, however I also use Formatt Hitech. Don’t buy the variable screw-in filters as you can’t accurately predict what density you are shooting through, and do not purchase inexpensive brand names of filters since the colour of an ND filter is meant to be neutral, not pink or green.

Advancement in filter technology saw the rise of Magnetic filter systems that don’t require a separate adapter ring, making it actually quick and simple to alter the filters.

To find out more read our guide for the very best filters for landscape photography.

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach 10 + 3 stops ND filter A7Rii 55mm f1.8. Picture credit: Fuyu Yeo on Unsplash.
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach 10 + 3 stops ND filter A7Rii 55mm f1.8
Areas and topics for your art landscape photography.

You can shoot any subject with a long direct exposure, however prior to you invest 5 to 10 minutes of your time you have to ask yourself what is moving and what is stationary. Are you attempting to record a fast-moving sky over a city skyscraper, water swirling through a series of rocks or the incoming tide?

As a starting point, many people start with groynes on beaches, with the tide breaking around them. This right-of-passage shot allows you to experiment and discover your craft, as whatever apart from the groyne– like the clouds and tide– relocations, offering you a quick positive outcome.

Composition is still really important. Lots of people appear to think that milky water or a fuzzy cloud will replace a well-executed image, however it won’t. Believe about how you would usually compose your pictures and work with that, or permit yourself to start from the start and usage very standard compositional guidelines to help.

I always operate in the exact same method. I’ve made many mistakes and most likely still have many to make, however as an outcome, I have a workflow that works for me.
Winchelsea Camber fine art landscape photography
Groynes are a great beginning point to hone your skills.

I discover my area, invest a good deal of time seeing how things are, and after that begin to form an image in my head. Once I understand what I want to achieve, I set up my tripod and I constantly make certain it’s level. Good tripod craft is necessary. Numerous people don’t trouble to extend the tripod legs correctly or get the tripod level and they make life hard for themselves from the start.

I put the video camera and lens on the tripod, then attach the cable television release and the filter holder. At this moment, I turn the cam on and make sure the ISO level of sensitivity is nice and low. One very important thing to check before you start shooting is the menu. Find the ‘ Long Exposure sound reduction’ and turn it off. If you leave it on, the cam will shoot a 2nd exposure that is basically a black frame to remove any sound produced throughout the direct exposure.

This will take as long as the first exposure however will render your electronic camera ineffective for the duration, meaning you can’t take as numerous images as you may wish to.
Water Exposure
Once you’ve found your location, take the time to study it before shooting.


When shooting long-exposure images, errors in composition stand out like an aching thumb. Place the aspects intentionally where you want them and think and see the image in your mind’s eye prior to you press the shutter.

You can then consider taking your image. Using a heavy-density ND filter implies that it’s a bit more complicated than simply firing the shutter. See my step-by-step guide listed below on how to calculate the exposure.

Keep in mind, though, that the key to success is practice, practice, practice — but likewise to take pleasure in using the technique. Ideally, you’ll stand firm through the knowing curve and produce some stunning images that show a sense of area and calm.
Framing long exposure of water fine art landscape photography
Make sure there’s no mess around the edges of the frame.

Fine art landscape photography: Common errors.

Some ND filters have a minor blue cast, but you can easily eliminate this by shooting raw and adjusting in post-processing. You can change the white balance at the time of shooting. Utilize the custom-made white balance setting and set it to between 8,000 K and 10,000 K, and the blue cast will vanish.

You may have flare down one side of the image, as the sun can trigger flare if it’s to the side of the electronic camera and reflects through the edges of the filters. On a bright day, I frequently protect the filters either with a cloth over the edge, gaffer tape or even simply my hand.

If you utilize really strong ND filters– 10-stop and above– you might observe the subtle branding from the front of your lens is shown onto the back of the filter. This normally occurs when using really wide-angle lenses. I utilize black tape or paint to cover the white writing on the front of my lenses.

Babbacombe fine art landscape photography


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