Four Tips for Photographing Landscapes

From the Best of Joe Farace & Mark Toal

While it may be a oversimplification to say that almost anybody can make a great photograph in Monument Valley the truth is that that the art of landscape photography often is confused with the real estate business because of its emphasis on location, location, location.

MToal_Lumix 8mm

1283265342000_img_176726When attending a class on color photography at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, my first assignment was landscape photography. I wasn’t then or am I now a serious landscape photographer (that’s why all these photographs are Mark’s) but as a serious student I developed a series of guiding principles on the “what” and “how” for photographing landscapes that I still follow today. Please keep in mind that they are not cast in concrete—this is not a my way or the highway blog—and are presented here only as guidelines for your own explorations of the landscape idiom. You can use’em or lose’em.

  1. Photograph locally
  2. Use a lens with a wide angle-of-view, like the Lumix 8mm Fisheye.
  3. Create the maximum possible depth-of-field
  4. Saturate the colors (even if it’s monochrome)


When I completed that assignment oh-so-long ago, it’s subtext was that I was only going to photograph landscapes that I could walk to from my house. Since I lived in Baltimore City, after projecting the slides (remember them?) and announcing that subtitle the teacher and my fellow students asked to see them again. That’s just the kind of affect you want to have on whoever your own audience may be—“can I see it again?”


Each weekday and some weekend days no matter the weather—although I’ll confess to becoming a wimp on really cold days—I take a walk up Daisy Hill and around a lake. I usually take along a camera because I never what I may find along the way to photograph. Using these images I produced a presentation called “Right in Your Own Backyard” where I showed many of the photographs made on these walks and sometimes the audiences, as they did back when I was in school, ask to see them again.

lumix-g85 Coming Next Week : A First Impressions post on the new Panasonic Lumix G85. This will be followed later with a complete Field Test of the G85. I also requested a DMW-BGG1 Battery Grip but have been informed it may not arrive in time for the First Impressions post. Stay tuned for that update.