The Most Underrated Skill in Landscape Photography: Scouting

Many things are required to be an excellent landscape photographer. Knowledge of your equipment, understanding the attributes of light, and an eye for composition are just a few of these skills. However, there is one skill that is often underrated.

Coming to you from Joshua Cripps, this informative video covers one of the most underrated skills in landscape photography: scouting locations. There's nothing more satisfying than discovering a great location to photograph after you've put in a little investigative work.

Perhaps that's why I love road trips so much. It's not just about going somewhere different; it's about discovering places that you didn't know were there.

It's also not limited to just physical areas, "locations" can also be new shot angles or compositions in an already familiar place. I can't count how many times I've seen other local photographers pull off an incredible and unique photo in an area that I've been to a thousand times.

Cripps also covers something that I implement on my road trips: using Google maps. Whether it's going somewhere new or just exploring a local location, I'm always digging through my map apps, looking for new locations. Check out the video above for all of Cripps' tips and suggestions.

Mike Dixon's picture

Mike Dixon is a Muskegon Michigan based landscape and nature photographer who's passionate about anything photography or tech related.

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I'd personally nominate patience. (Although, that might not be classified as a skill.)

Perhaps also decisiveness. I scout locations along trails earlier in the day to then race back to when I'm chasing sunsets, but deciding which one is the hardest part for me. The sky doesn't always cooperate and the back of my mind always wonders what if I were thirty yards up looking slightly more south?

Great topic Mike! I work outside sales in Minnesota and between appointments I'll take back roads just to see what I can find. It's fun exploring and going places you normally would never see. And like you said just getting outside and enjoying the hunt. It's so rewarding.

Besides Google maps, I use weather apps, the Clear Sky app, and the Photoephemeris app. All useful in planning and preparing for trips to a specific photo destination.