Landscape Tips: How to Shoot Beautiful Photographs of Empty Places (VIDEO)

One reason why landscape photography is so popular, is the solitude that’s often found in the backcountry. In this tutorial, British pro Thomas Heaton explains how to capture beautiful images of nature in empty places.

In the behind-the-scenes video below, you’ll find Heaton in North Wales, and pick up several valuable tips. He describes his method of visualizing a scene, and his thoughtful approach to setting up the shot.

Heaton is a master of composition, and there’s plenty to learn here about framing landscape scenes to emphasize the quiet simplicity of nature. Heaton is shooting at Harlech Beach on the Snowdonia coast—a location he specifically chose for the calm, wide-open vistas it offers.

When shooting empty places, Heaton says, “I look for a single subject, whether it’s a rock or textures in the sand—something to focus the eye on and draw the viewer in.” As with most of Heaton’s work, patience is the key, and he rarely brings a camera to his eye until he finds exactly what he’s looking for.

This tutorial is more about artistry than technical matters, so Heaton’s money shot is unaccompanied by exposure data. But if you’re curious, he used a 35mm lens with an exposure setting of ISO 100, f/9, and a shutter speed of 3.5 seconds. He also employed both a 2-stop and a 6-stop ND filter.

There are more great nature photography tips on Heaton’s YouTube channel, and in another video that explains how to capture spectacular sunrise images. You may also want to check out yesterday’s tutorial on using Photoshop to remove people who clutter up your photos.