When a Street Photographer Shoots Landscape (At a Boring Place…)

Do you struggle to take good landscape photos when the scenery is just mediocre? I faced the same challenge in my recent solo hike, and I would like to share with you my approach to still come home with some good photos.

Keith Chen

--

Image by Author.

When I look at my portfolio, probably 90% of them have at least one person in them. This makes sense because the essence of street photography is capturing the irreplicable moments of people. While many new photographers find it daunting to shoot photos of strangers up close, this is actually my most comfortable shooting style. However, this poses a different challenge for me — when there is no interesting or engaging subject, how or what do I shoot?

In this story, I wanted to share with you my experience behind this series of photos of the woods, which I took during a solo hiking trip. The scenery was just mediocre, so as someone who does not have much experience in landscape photography, I struggled a bit at the beginning to come up with good photos. I did end up with a few that I think are acceptable by following some photography basics, which I am about to share with you. You can use this as a guide to look for good nature or landscape photo opportunities even when there seems to be nothing worthy of taking that camera of yours out of the bag.

Equipment used: I went for an unconventional approach this time — I had my 70–200mm lens on a Canon 5Dii for this photoshoot, which is weird because you usually want a wider lens like 35mm or 28mm for landscape. My main reason was that I knew the place wouldn’t have any stunning view that is wide open, so using a tighter lens can help me focus on the smaller details that I may encounter. Another reason was that the 70–200mm was already mounted on the camera body for a long time, so I was too lazy to replace it with anything else, ha.

The following tips are what I used to get the pictures shown in this story. You should be able to apply them next time you go shoot nature or landscape (especially in places that don’t have a stunning view).

--

--

Keith Chen

Photographer, Product Manager @ Google, Professor, Runner, Hiker, and World Traveler. Took photos from 50+ cities (and counting). Language : 中文 / EN