Written by Don and Ruth Lambert of Beaufort Photography Tours
The Lowcountry is a landscape photographer’s paradise. Sunrise and sunsets, wide expanses of marshland, scenic shrimp boats abound. Here’s a few simple techniques to make your images stand out from the rest.
Our initial tendency is to center the subject and horizon in a photo. These images often appear flat and uninteresting. Use this simple rule (and break it with good reason) to add more drama and visual tension to your images.
Rule of Thirds: Imagine your camera viewfinder divided into thirds (top to bottom, side to side - some cameras will do this automatically) the horizon line goes on one of the horizontal thirds lines. Is the sky more interesting? Put the horizon on the lower third line. Main items of interest should fall at the intersections of the lines.
The hour or so before and after sunrise and sunset offers the most flattering light for your landscapes. Early before sunrise and late after sunset is Blue Hour when nature takes on an ethereal, mysterious quality. Just before and after sunrise/sunset is the Golden Hour when there is warm, soft lighting and long shadows.
Midday photos tend to have harsh light and unflattering shadows.
Many new photographers resist the tripod and with some good reasons. They’re expensive, cumbersome gear that slows you down. But, the slowing down is exactly the point. Shooting on a tripod allows one to step back, look at the composition and lighting, and make sure that there aren’t any distracting elements in the shot. Using the tripod also facilitates slow shutter speeds, allowing you to shoot in low light and create effects like cloud motion or glass like water.
Rule of Thirds, Golden Hour, Shot on Tripod
Don and Ruth Lambert first visited Beaufort in their quest for a new home that would blend their many interests of art, ecology and history. They were immediately captivated by the beauty of this Lowcountry town and surrounding coastal area. Since then, they have searched through the shaded avenues, meandering backroads and watery vistas to find those hidden spots which produce true photographic “wow” opportunities. They have become students of the rhythmic ebbs and flows of the salt marshes and habits of coastal wildlife, history and local culture. Don and Ruth are self-taught landscape and nature photographers benefiting greatly from the mentorship of Keith and Tiffany Briley. Don has a special interest in all things that fly, both manmade and feathered. Ruth focuses on social media and community engagement.