When it comes to Landscape Photography, Randall Sanger of West Virginia knows a little bit about getting those dreamy shots many photographers crave. Randall Sanger started taking up photography after graduating high school when his parents gave him a camera for a graduation gift. He’d backpack all over West Virginia getting to hike to places that others rarely see. This gave him the opportunity to hone his landscape photography skills and eventually become an award-winning photographer and author in the process.
So, I spoke with Randy to gather some more insights into some basic tips for landscape photography and working in the industry. His 10 plus years of producing high-quality images as a professional are sure to bring some insightful tips!
Sanger suggested some very basic settings when it comes to manual mode while taking landscape photos. Firstly, he noted that manual is the “way to go” and allows for the most control over your product.
He recommends an f-stop setting of “f16” for a sharper depth of field while setting your ISO to 50 for less noise. When it comes to metering (a way to measure brightness) Randy always uses the sky for best results.
Time of the Day
We all know, even if you’re not a photographer by trade, that “Golden Hour” is a prime time to shoot amazing landscape images. But, we can’t all just rely on those perfect moments as they come and go. The other 12 hours of the day still has a landscape to shoot, so I asked Randy his best advice for daytime photography.
“I think using an ND filter or 3-stop filter during the day really helps cut out the harsh light and allows you to shoot throughout the day,” Sanger said.
He also mentioned the daytime hours brings about richer blue skies and white clouds than you normally see at night which tourism companies often like to see in their marketing materials. So, shooting landscape during the day has to be in your bag of tricks if you’re looking to move into the field as a pro!
The Do’s and Don’ts of Post-Processing
Now we all know those photos we see on Instagram with extreme editing and hyper-saturated landscapes. They may be “pretty” but often that type of editing is taking away from the natural beauty of the landscapes and as a photographer, you shouldn’t have to do a ton.
Randy mentioned his go-to tip, “I have a 3-minute rule where if I’m spending longer than 3 minutes on a photo while editing, I’ll move on.” He’s always believed in “getting it right in the camera” and does very little post process. In Lightroom, he often uses a few key sliders: contrast, clarity, de-haze, highlights/shadows. These minor adjustments will often get your photos to where they need to be in terms of post-processing without destroying the integrity of the landscape.
Capture A Story
Randy spends most of his time in the Dolly Sods Wilderness located in the Eastern part of West Virginia taking clients of his workshops on photography excursions or just shooting for himself. Here he finds himself immersed in waterfalls and landscapes that represent an area and can be told in varying photo series.
Sanger mentioned the importance of telling a story when it comes to landscape photography. Whether you're putting together a photography book on waterfalls of West Virginia or piecing together a custom calendar with stunning imagery, the photographer should be telling a story.
It was great hearing from an expert like Randy Sanger about landscape photography because of his years of experience producing great imagery. When looking at his physical custom 2020 calendar and website you can see his dedication to capturing landscapes in the state he loves.
Landscape photography is a great way to show off your skills as a photographer while capturing places we love to visit.
Photos in calendars and in blog shot by Randall Sanger.