For anyone wanting to learn a new skill, we live in truly exciting times; with incredibly detailed technical advice often available totally free online. This is particularly the case when it comes to landscape photography. Indeed, the valuable knowledge shared on landscape photography YouTube channels can save you a small fortune in school fees – meaning there’s really no longer excuse for not pursuing your photographic dreams.
Here’s a list of my five favorite landscape photography YouTube channels, covering everything from the basic techniques through to much more advanced approaches to photographing the natural world.
1. Andrew Marr
If you’re still struggling with some of the basics of landscape photography, Australian photographer Andrew Marr’s videos are a great place to start. The highly instructive and practical videos on Marr’s channel document his persistent attempts to get a great landscape photo “out in the field”. And, for the beginner, the real attraction here is the way in which Marr explains in great clarity and detail the techniques and settings he uses to achieve his beautiful shots.
What’s more, while clearly a technically very accomplished photographer, Marr’s ego is sufficiently under control that he doesn’t mind sharing the moments where he’s screwed up (by water splashing on the lens, say, or mistiming the shutter release). And if there’s one thing better than learning through your own mistakes, it’s learning through other people’s mistakes.
Definitely one of the best landscape photography YouTube channels for those in need of some solid technical guidance to set them on the right track.
2. Ben Horne
Large format film photographer Ben Horne runs a very well executed landscape photography YouTube channel documenting his hikes around some of America’s greatest national parks. Ben’s calm, eloquent, and thoughtful narration provides valuable insight into the amount of work that goes into producing a flawless landscape shot.
Considering that Horne is out there shooting on his own, he also does a great job of documenting his hikes on video. The only downside to this is that he seems to spend more of his time setting up video sequences of himself taking photos than he does actually taking those photos. So this means that there’s lots of footage of Ben walking off, or driving away, into the landscape – presumably leaving his camera sitting on a tripod that he’ll have to turn come back and collect the moment the shot cuts. Although the shots are always very nicely framed, they can at times feel a little too laboriously staged.
But this is the reality of landscape photography: a pastime that involves an enormous amount of time scouting and setting up. Oh yes, and waiting around. For example, in one series of videos narrating a trip to Death Valley, Ben spends his first day scouting, and then camps out overnight in his car just to get a single shot at dawn. Only for the wind to get up strong towards daybreak, potentially ruining the photo with camera shake.
Luckily for Ben, in this instance the wind dropped at just the right moment, allowing him to get his shot. But what you really learn from his videos is the amount of patience needed, and the slow, deliberate way of working that’s required, when using a large format field camera. Excellent stuff.
3. Andy Mumford
Not all of Andy Mumford’s videos are specifically about the practice of shooting landscape photos – indeed many are camera reviews, or offer more general photographic advice. But as a highly capable and experienced professional landscape photographer himself, Mumford nonetheless always approaches his topic from a landscape photographer’s perspective.
Overall, Mumford’s advice is practical, sound, and clearly comes from real experience gained on the job. He also explains things clearly and with evident passion. And, refreshingly, despite all the gear reviews, he doesn’t encourage unnecessary gear lust. Definitely worth checking out.
4. Thomas Heaton
If at times a little melodramatic, Thomas Heaton’s landscape photography YouTube channel is very professionally put together. What’s more, the man himself is sufficiently charismatic and entertaining to keep you routing for him as he struggles with dire northern British weather and other trying foes.
Just as with Ben Horne patiently spending an entire night staking out a shot in the desert, Heaton’s videos often underline the degree of patience – even masochism – that’s required from a landscape photographer in order to achieve the desired results. Indeed in some videos the man looks positively miserable, sitting on a rock for hours waiting in vain for the sun to break through dirty English clouds.
Heaton’s videos contain plenty of technical info and are well structured in a “visual storytelling” kind of way. The man’s a bit of an actor too, making his apparently self-filmed vlogs look convincingly natural, despite evidently being totally set up.