This video is made possible by Storyblocks Video. Last year, I’ve been on a trip to Iceland to make a travel video because, you know, that’s what filmmakers do: They make videos. This year, I went back to Iceland, not to make a video, but to make a series of photos. I, however, have no experience in photography. I’ve been making videos and films for more than 10 years but photography is completely new to me. And, oh boy, did I thought it was easy. Well, it is not. I’ve made tons of mistakes and I’d love to share them with you so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes. Tip #1: Be prepared. I thought I was prepared but I wasn’t. For instance, you should already know the spot and the angle of where you’re gonna take your photo upfront. This way, you can decide when to take that photo and have the sunlight in the right spots. Here, you can see one of my photos, but unfortunately the sunlight is not where I wanted it to be. This is a waterfall that we came across but we were standing on the wrong side of it. We could go to the other side but that was another two-hour drive. Something I could have avoided if I would have done my preparations. We also went on a kayak trip and I was afraid to bring my camera with me so I took some photos with my phone. Later on, I saw that everyone was taking their camera with them and it appeared that flipping over a kayak doesn’t happen so much. In other words, I wasn’t prepared and missed out on some great photos. So make use of simple tools like Google Maps to plan out your photography trip so that you don’t lose time and be at the right spot on the right time. And by the way, guys, I know that there are a ton of apps as well to help you with these kind of plannings. If you know of any, then let us know in the comments below. Just share them with the rest of the community here. And this brings me to the second mistake: Don’t focus too much on your planning. I know I just said that you should be more prepared but hear me out. Say that you’re driving through some beautiful place. Don’t focus too much on getting to that place to take your photo but instead, look around and see if there are interesting moments that you could draft. In my first days, I wasn’t doing this enough. Only until Day three or so I realized that the area that we were driving through was so beautiful that I needed to spend some time here. And even though that this right here isn’t a landmark, it did turn out to be one of my favorite photos. And then i took a few photos of Kim, my girlfriend, as I wanted to have some contrast with her colored jacket. And here I made another mistake. I didn’t took enough time to make this photo. You know, I’m not a big fan of the green jacket in this photo and her hair should have been more loose. We should have just gone through our luggage and get her to wear a different color, maybe something more loose. It didn’t have to be a jacket, you know? Also I had to pay a lot more attention to her hair but I think it’s because of the cap of her green jacket. Anyways, even when making sporadic photos, you should also take the time for that. I would spend two hours on a photo of some waterfall that I eventually don’t like but I wouldn’t spend more than five minutes on this photo which could have turned out amazing. Mistake #3: Don’t use auto-focus with landscape photography. It’s not that you’re shooting wildlife and have to be quick; that waterfall or mountain will not go away. So take your time and use manual focus so that your 100% sure that you’ve got the focus where it should be. Here, I took a photo of a waterfall on my first day thinking it wasn’t focused but noticing that evening, it wasn’t. And that’s where I learned not to trust on auto-focus, or better said, auto-focus has its purpose but it’s not for the all types of photography. Mistake #4: Patience. When you get to a location and you make a beautiful frame but the weather is not cooperating, then either wait for the sun to come out or come back another day. Here’s one of those days that we had clouds the entire day and I was getting angry that my photos didn’t look so great. I think that I had to throw away so many photos because of that. But this photo right here was so beautiful that I felt like I needed to wait for just a little bit of sunlight to come through and it did. The big pike of clouds broke a little bit open and gave much more contrast to the landscape. And so here I had to be patient for the weather. But in other situations, you might need to wait for a crowded people to move away or something else, I don’t know, just be patient with your photo. Don’t be happy with the first shot that you took of that landscape. Wait it out a little bit and see how the environment changes. Tip #5: The golden hour is that moment where the Sun is setting down. You get approximately one hour of beautiful low-light sun with a vibrant and deep orange color. During my trip, I was like, “Oh, the sun is setting down. Cool, let’s take some photos.” And while it would be better to plan ahead and try to cram as many locations as possible during that golden hour. Basically, you already need to sit at the right spot, you’re ready to take your first photo as the golden hour starts. When you get your photo, you move to the second or even maybe a third location. And if possible try to already take your photo during the day on those locations so that you can try out different framings and be faster in the evening when the sun is actually setting down. Now, I’ve got five more amazing tips for beginners but first I’d like to thank our sponsors, Storyblocks Video. Say you have a series of photos that you would like to turn into a nice presentation. Well, on Storyblocks, you can find such After Effects templates. Simply download any of the slideshows that you like, replace the photos, and rendered out. Now, apart from such templates, there are also overlay effect, logo animations, backgrounds, and of course, high quality 4k stock clip that you can use for any personal or commercial use. And the amazing thing about Storyblocks is that there’s only a single fee per year which allows you to download unlimited video assets. So to start downloading, make sure to click the first link in the description below. Moving on with Mistake #6: Go the extra mile. Though I never really got up to shoot a sunrise or to hike up a mountain for a better angle, one of the reasons is definitely because I traveled with my girlfriend. Not her fault, but one of the two was not there for photography, so you don’t tend to go the extra mile just to take that photo. On the third day, Kim went to sleep and I decided to take some photos of the clear sky. Without knowing, I was actually capturing the Northern Lights and for the next couple of hours. I just stayed awake and all of a sudden the Northern Lights became so bright that we could actually see it with the naked eye. It was a beautiful moment. And, of course, at this point I woke up Kim, you can see her looking at the lights from the tents right here. Here is another example of a path that suddenly stopped. Now Kim was afraid to go further so she waited for me there. And I think that I was away for more than half an hour to get closer to the waterfall. Going that extra mile gave me this beautiful photo. Tip #7: Keep your lens and sensor clean. Going through my photos now, I need to paint away way too many stains from my lens. With almost every photo you take or at least every new location, use a microfiber cloth to clean your lens. Even if you don’t see any stains on it, just do it. Sometimes you don’t really see the stains on it but they are there and you can only see them when looking at your photos on the big screen. Something stupid but one of those mistakes that I wish that I thought of before. Mistake #8: Create depth and this is a very big beginner mistake. When you see a landmark such as a mountain or a waterfall, whatever, don’t just shoot that landmark, but always try to create depth in your shots. And this could be a foreground element such as the hill in this example or this one right here. The idea was to shoot the crater but to give it more depth, I used the crater as a foreground elements and had the backgrounds prominent in my shots. Here’s another angle of that where you can see the mountain in the back. That’s also what makes this one of my favorite photos. I found the mountains in the background to be so nice but I purposely showed a lot of the grounds to use it as a foreground. Another way to create more depth is with lines. Here, we don’t really have a foreground elements but instead there is a wave which creates a prominent line to the back and this is simply done by just waiting a little bit until the wave sits on the right spot. And finally is with lighting. Although this is not a bad photo, what I don’t really like is that it’s pretty flat – the lighting. So I walked to the other side of this canyon and took the same photo again, this time the sun sits in front of the camera creating deep shadows on the hills. We get a very nice highlight over the rocks which separates them from each other creating depth. So these three techniques are super important to remember to create more depth in your photos. Mistake #9: Color Grading. As a beginner, you tend to over-grade. Now look at the clarity slider. Oh, this looks so cool. Well, don’t. Please, please, don’t. Keep it simple – a hint – mostly keep it natural. What you want to do is use masks to brighten specific parts. For example in this shot, I added a little more lighting to the canyon which draws attention to it and highlights the line of the river going to the back. This creates depth. Usually you want your foreground to be dark so that’s what I did here with the deer. That brings us to the last mistake that I’ve done: Always expose for the sky. There’s nothing worse than having your sky overexposed. Yes, you can bring back the highlights but only for a certain amount. Usually lifting up the shadows goes a lot better than bringing down the highlights to recover something. As a filmmaker, I should actually know this. Although, in a few photos I did not expose for the sky and I did not took enough time to review my photo. So always expose for the sky, guys, and those were my 10 mistakes. Now, I decided to upload one photo every day from my trip to my personal Instagram account. So if you would like to see them all, definitely make sure to follow me on there. I’m leaving the link to it in the description below. Thank you so much for watching. Thank you Storyblocks Video for the support. Definitely make sure to check out those guys, and as always, Stay creative.