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  • Writer's pictureGary Holpin

10 ingredients of a great landscape photo - introduction

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

And welcome to the first installment to a series of emails where I introduce you to my guide to 'The ten ingredients of a great landscape photo'. It's been something that I've been working on for a while, and is based on my ten years of experience, going from an amateur to a professional photographer. I hope that over the next ten weeks (plus this introduction!) I will be able to bring you some insight on how you can learn from my experiences and take some practical steps to improve your landscape photography.

Sorry, but I can't make you a great photographer overnight!

First I need to give some tough love; I can’t promise you will become a great photographer overnight, even after understanding my ten ingredients, however if you take on board some of the tips I provide, and put in lots of practice, I can guarantee you will be a better one.

Last year I had a beginner student on one of my weekend residential courses who left me poor feedback because they hadn't walked out the door as a professional photographer – to me that’s a bit like going on a weekend cookery course having just learned how to boil an egg, and expecting to walk out the door and open an award-winning restaurant! Thankfully all of the other students were glowing about the new skills they had learned, and more realistic about the progress they could expect to make in just one weekend! In the end, learning any new skill is more of a marathon, than a sprint, although I can hopefully promise you that learning photography is a lot less painful than running a marathon!

It has taken me ten years to be a good (and occasionally a great) photographer, and it’s been a wonderfully rewarding experience. It’s a journey that I’m still on today, and I can honestly say that I still learn something new every time I go out with the camera. I didn’t become a good photographer in one weekend, instead it’s been a series of little steps; understanding one thing until it becomes second nature, and then moving onto the next thing to improve. Now I understand the ten key ingredients that have made me a good landscape photographer, and it’s time to share those ingredients with you.

This series doesn’t set out to be a definitive guide to all of these ingredients (as it would need to be more of a book to do so) but it does provide an explanation of all the ingredients of taking great photos, and provides some practical examples to help you to start your journey.

Understanding my ten ingredients will help you become a better photographer

It will take time and some hard work to take consistently take great photos, but what I can promise you is that if you just put your mind to understanding and improving JUST ONE of the key ingredients, your photos WILL be better. Once you have started to consistently improve several of the ingredients, you will be well on your way to being able to take great photos.


So, what are the ten ingredients of a great landscape photo?

A model for how to take great landscape photos by Devon Photographer, Gary Holpin Photography
The ten ingredients of a great landscape photo

Do you need to understand ALL ten ingredients to take a great photo?

The simple answer is no! The importance of each ingredient depends very much on the precise situation, however, developing an understanding of all of the ingredients means you are able to increase your chances of taking a great photo in many more situations. For example, improving your composition will help in almost all situations; however understanding the camera technique for taking multiple exposures, and the post processing technique for blending them, will help you take great photos of sunrise and sunsets but in most other situations it is not important at all.


Over the coming weeks, my blogs will look at each ingredient in detail, so check back here for updates.


A landscape photo of Derwent Water, Cumbria tor by Devon Photographer, Gary Holpin Photography
Derwent Water, Lake District

Want to learn more about my 10 ingredients for great landscape photos?

I now use this model of landscape photography to shape my Devon photography training courses, and my courses consistently get fabulous reviews on Google. So if you're a beginner photographer who is local to East Devon and want to learn the art of landscape photography, check out my range of local photography courses. Alternatively why not make a weekend break of it and attend one of my residential photography workshops - either my beginners landscape photography masterclass for those starting out in photography, or my intermediate photography masterclass for those who already understand the basics and want more practical help progressing their landscape photography.

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