Review of “Landscape Photography Tutorial Series: New Zealand” by Trey Ratcliff

I am a big fan of Trey Ratcliff. In the last 6 years or so, he advanced modern photography more than anyone else in the world. What I like most about him is that he doesn’t stay still. He always finds new ways to push photography forward. Besides making HDR photography mainstream, he also discovered the new business model for modern photography, which does not rely on clients or sponsorships.

Right now he looks like an unreachable GOD with more than 10 million followers across social media platforms, with 34 billion (that’s right billion) views on Google Plus alone. He travels around the world, hangs with cool people and teaches others through his photography.

Since he is a public figure and every step of his professional life is documented in one place or another on the web, we can see the progression of his photography over time. If we review his photos from 2007 and 2008, we can see that most of them are far from being spectacular. This should serve as a source of motivation and understanding that people are not born outstanding photographers but  become them with time, dedication and hard work.

It gives all of us hope.

And who is the best person to show us the path of a photographer’s journey than Trey?

Trey’s most popular video tutorial is “Complete HDR Tutorial” but, I prefer his course entitled, “Landscape Photography Tutorial: New Zealand”, which provides the best educational value for aspiring photographers. In this tutorial, Trey does not concentrate on HDR photography but rather on the fundamentals of landscape and travel photography.

In my previous review, I featured the eBook by Christopher O’Donnell entitled, “Bokeh: Creating with Shallow Depths” that concentrates on a very specific technique in landscape photography, Bokeh. Trey Ratcliff takes a completely different approach in his course; he covers the topic of landscape photography giving us the whole picture from the conceptual idea to the final, ready for publishing, photograph.

I believe this is the most useful piece of educational photography material that I’ve ever encountered.

A 4 hour video course almost evenly split between shooting techniques on location and post processing.

Shooting on location

Trey goes over different scenarios while traveling in New Zealand

Choosing the right lens

Here is the list of different topics he covers:

  • Shooting sunsets
  • Shooting sunrises, before and after sun appears over the horizon
  • Shooting at night
  • Choosing the right lens for different landscapes
  • Evaluating the scene before starting to shoot
  • Dealing with lens flares
  • Creating meaningful composition
  • Shooting into the sun
  • Selecting the right number of brackets when shooting for HDR
  • Dealing with the strong wind
  • Proper way to change lenses
  • How to photograph different types of clouds
  • Long exposure in daytime situations
  • Using lens hoods
  • Using lens converters
  • Different approaches to the composition when using landscape and portrait orientation
  • Shooting in the rain
Watch a preview of this unique digital photography tutorial

Also, in contrast to many educators, Trey simplifies the entire process of photography. I love his philosophy of “minimum equipment and more freedom.” All you need is a camera and a tripod; if you do not have tripod, you can learn to shoot without it.

Trey demonstrates technique to stabilize camera when dealing with the strong wind

Post Processing

Trey explores different scenarios of processing photos. He starts with the basic concepts of post processing in the first video and then introduces more advanced techniques as he progresses.

Topics covered:

  • Lightroom processing
  • Photomatix processing
  • Combining Lightroom and Photomatix processing in Photoshop
  • Eliminating HDR artifacts in Photoshop
  • Decision making when processing photos
  • Advanced Photoshop techniques

36 original RAW files are included in the course so you can follow along every step of the way.


If you are looking for the best opportunity to improve and advance your photography, I definitely suggest taking this course. It doesn’t matter at what level you are as a photographer, everyone will benefit in learning from Trey.

How to Get a Copy

The tutorials are downloadable videos that you can watch at your own pace.

You can download them directly from Trey Ratcliff’s website.

by Viktor Elizarov
I am a travel photographer and educator from Montreal, Canada, and a founder of PhotoTraces. I travel around the world and share my experiences here. Feel free to check my Travel Portfolio and download Free Lightroom Presets.