3 Simple Tips to Improve Your Summer Landscapes

Shooting picturesque landscapes through the summer can be trickier than you think. With a lot of greens and blues, the sun high in the sky, and a lack of contrasting light, a previously brilliant scene in spring or winter can be a total bore in the summer.

But landscape photographer Nigel Danson returns, with his latest video, to show us three simple tricks that will transform your shooting under the hot summer sun.

Danson is fully aware that as summer approaches, it is easy to lose your motivation for landscapes. Waking up to early mornings with a bright sun that lingers around for most of the day means you must adapt as a photographer to make the most of each scene.

Venturing out into the pastoral idyll of the Lake District in the UK, Danson sets up shop amongst the sheep to photograph Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill. Giving us a quick rundown of the area’s geological history, he then delves into how we can suit our creativity to the tranquil of summer.

#1 Make Use of Strong Shadows

Firstly, Danson talks about utilising the strong shadows that come from a blazing summer sun. You have to wait for the sun to start falling later in the day, where long, dark shadows begin to stretch across the landscape. Here you should keep an eye out for such features as lone trees or buildings, which when up against the beaming light cast can create “dynamic” compositions that deviate from the norm.

#2 Use a Telephoto

Although when most think landscapes they see wide-angle, Danson explains how using a long lens can “pick out details in the landscape”, hunting for the finer features that boast a minimalist beauty. Keep an eye out for other aspects to frame your key elements, such as a rugged drywall or flowery meadow. Danson can’t stress enough how important it is to keep telephoto images simple that work best with the light.

Read more: Composition – How to Create a Frame within a Frame

#3 Take in Your Environment

Whilst it’s easy to get excited when you first arrive on a scene, it can make a huge difference if you just breathe, relax, and have a short walk around the landscape. Putting your head in the landscape as opposed to behind the camera, you can gain a better understanding of how the light moves across the land for when you decide to whip out your gear. If you slow down and appreciate the area before the shooting begins, it may lead to a better shot at the end of the day. If not – at least you’ve enjoyed a nice relaxing walk!

If you want to see more of Danson’s work, visit his website, YouTube, and Instagram. Looking for more landscape inspiration? Then check out his 7 Simple Tips to Transform Your Landscape Photos.


Ed Carr is a Yorkshire-born landscape photographer and nature writer. Having spent his youth in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, he takes any opportunity to don his hiking boots and head out, camera in hand. When not out taking pictures or hastily scribbling down his thoughts, Ed’s halfway up a hill out chasing after his dog, Hendrix.