Julian Calverley is one of the world’s most in-demand advertising photographers. He also has a passion for capturing dramatic landscape images, which means getting out into the great outdoors, come rain or shine. Consequently, Julian is a life-long Land Rover owner and recently took the All-New Discovery on a photographic pilgrimage to the Isle of Skye, where he runs photographic tours and workshops. It is here we asked Julian to share his surprisingly zen tips on how to capture the countryside, what time of day to do it, and how best to share our masterpieces.
01 PLAN AHEAD
Check the weather, the tide and the sunrise times in advance. This is important for both safety and for making sure you don’t arrive to find the tide is out or the sun is in the wrong position. Also check the most basic things, such as charging your camera batteries. I have a simple check list that I religiously run through prior to setting out. Write such a list that’s appropriate to your equipment.
02 KEEP IT SIMPLE AND TAKE YOUR TIME
I take the minimal amount of equipment out with me, which cuts down the number of choices I have to make. This allows me to free my mind and think only about the image. Allow yourself time to stop, walk around and spend time in the spot that has caught your attention. People are often in a hurry and therefore miss out on what is slowly unfolding before their eyes. Being in the landscape is a form of meditation. Allow yourself time to enjoy it and absorb what you are experiencing.
03 THREE’S THE MAGIC NUMBER
The rule of thirds can drastically improve your images. The human eye is naturally drawn to imagery that’s divided into thirds. If you can, set your viewfinder or viewing screen to display a grid of 3x3 blocks. Then position the important elements in your scene along those lines or at the points where they meet. Search ‘rule of thirds’ online for some useful image examples.
04 TAKE THE LEAD
Pay attention to strong lines that can lead the eye through an image. These can often be found in a natural way, such as a road or a path, or just patterns in the sand. I always make sure the horizon is straight and, if you have details such as trees or architectural subject matter, then I always make sure the verticals are vertical.
05 PRIME TIME
Instead of shooting with a zoom, which offers almost endless options, try shooting with a prime lens. It cuts down the choices and decisions you have to make, leaving you free to concentrate on what you are witnessing. Shooting with a prime lens also encourages you to move around and to vary your composition rather than just standing in one spot and zooming in and out.
06 BECOME A MORNING AND EVENING PERSON
Shooting at the beginning or end of a day can often provide some beautiful light. The sun is lower in the sky, so the light is warmer and also more directional. This adds drama and mood to a scene. Shooting in the winter also gives a different light to the summer – the sun again is lower, allowing you to shoot throughout the day.
07 GET OUT IN ALL WEATHERS
Don’t be afraid of heading outside when the weather turns. Clouds, rain, snow and hail add drama and, as long as you are prepared for it, you can achieve some beautiful results. Rain, mist and fog can make a busy scene suddenly feel calm, and can add depth, simplicity and atmosphere. Persevere and you’ll find gold out there, just be prepared and equipped for all the wonders the weather will chuck at you.
08 WAIT FOR THE GOOSEBUMPS
I tend to shoot things or places that excite me. Generally, it’s finding a dramatic place that’s experiencing dramatic weather. The tide, the weather and the light all come together as one. I call it the goosebump moment. Bear in mind though, taking pictures is like fishing: somedays you catch something, and some days you don't.
09 GO AGAIN
If you have the opportunity, I would always recommend visiting a location time and time again. You build up a relationship with it and start to learn how it reacts visually under different light, weather and seasons. It can feel like a completely different experience and you really get under the skin of a place.
10 CARING WHEN SHARING
When sharing images via social media, aim for a consistent approach in both subject matter and style. People like to see a consistency in what you shoot: a story unfolding, something personal and inspiring – not just a collection of random images. The style can be influenced by how things are composed and what effects are used. For post production, when using an iPhone, I use the Apple’s built in camera app and an app called Snapseed.
Julian Calverley is an acclaimed professional photographer with nearly 30-years commercial experience; shooting automotive, lifestyle, underwater and location.
Julian has been included in Lürzer’s Archive of the 200 Best Ad Photographers Worldwide for the past nine years and conducts talks on photography for Apple in London, San Francisco and Glasgow Julian also organises bespoke photographic tours and workshops in the Highlands and islands of Scotland.
Julian’s first book #IPHONEONLY, is available now. Join his 110,000 Instagram followers at @jccalverley.
> For more information on Julian’s work, please visit juliancalverley.com
> For more information on the All-New Discovery