5 GOLDEN RULES You Should Never Break as a Landscape Photographer

Rules are made to be broken, right?

When it comes to photography, there are definitely rules we learn early on that we are told not to break. But as our skills grew we learnt that things like rule of thirds, symmetry, and filling the frame were more like guidelines.

But here’s 5 rules that you should never break.


1. When you think you’re finished at a location, wait longer

How many times have you staked it out for a sunrise or sunset shot and packed up too soon? Picture this: the sun has set, you’ve got your banger, you’ve stuffed all your gear back into your bag and you’re walking back to the car. All of a sudden, the sky illuminates a brilliant pink and those clouds are on fire! It’s the best it’s been all morning/evening!

If you had have just waited a bit longer, you would still be set up – snapping that shot up!

Sunset over Bingie Point, Australia - taken at 8:25pm

Sunset over Bingie Point, Australia - taken at 8:25pm

Sunset over Bingie Point, Australia - taken at 8:28pm (it pays to wait!)

Sunset over Bingie Point, Australia - taken at 8:28pm (it pays to wait!)

2. Visit a location more than once
“I’ve been there before, and I’ve already got my banger” should never be a thought in your head. Time of day, time of year, weather, tidal movement, vegetation growth, animal interference – all of these things will change the way a location looks. You should always be revisiting locations, and not just your favourite ones. Even those ones you went to once and thought “There’s nothing here” could surprise you!

You could visit the same location every day for a year, and you would never get the same photo.

3. Change up your shooting/editing style every now and then
The more you take photos and edit them you will develop your own style. It may be as simple as always shooting in black and white, or only shooting macro, or even making sure all your shots have shadows boosted to 80% grey.

Every now and then it’s healthy to shoot with the intention of changing things up. The easiest way is drastic opposites. Always shoot wide? Crop in close. Always shoot colourful scenes? Shoot a black and white image.

While it may seem like a pointless change, you’ll be surprised by how different each photography style’s technique is. And it’s good to keep learning!

4. Shoot from different angles
Well, this is a boring rule. How obvious is that? Truth is sometimes we get so fixated on that perfect image in our head we don’t bother moving around. I can’t count how many times I’ve set up my dream shot, snapped it, and shot from a different angle as a “just in case” moment – then later finding out that slight angle change was a million times better.

This can be tricky for time sensitive shoots such as a sunrise or sunset, but sometimes that risk pays off big time!

5. Follow through with someone else’s advice
It’s all well and good to ask for constructive criticism, or to have someone make suggestions during a shoot. But a lot of the time that’s where it ends.

You’ve got two eyes. As soon as someone else is there with you, that’s four eyes. That doubles the chance of finding a problem and fixing it. Whether that’s during the shoot, or during editing.

This goes back into rule 4.. Someone else’s advice can remove you from that “perfect shot” in your head and look at things with fresh eyes. This can often lead to improvements you would never have thought of. And just like that, you’ve got your prize-winning shot.


And now that you know ‘em, don’t break ‘em!