What does it really take to have breathtaking landscape photos? Those photos that make you want to pick up your hiking shoes and bag and head out for the wild.

Some people will say that the subjects are the main thing in outdoor photography. Others will argue for talent, style, and creative vision. On top of that, hundreds of thousands of photography forum gurus will insist that you don’t have a chance if you don’t have the latest Nikon or Canon DSLR. While they might be right, there are much more than these evident elements of photography.

You need mental fitness

Anyone can take great photos of the sunset from the side of the road, but it is much more exciting to take shots 15 miles or more away from the road. Only things get even more complicated. Exhaustion eats you up, hiking gears fail, and seemingly good-natured animals may turn into savage beasts that seem to disapprove the idea of you making one last step to take a splendid image of the sunset.

You need to be mentally tough in outdoor photography. You need to have the ability to concentrate even when your body is very tired. You also have to stay open minded and flexible when you come face-to-face with an extreme weather or have technical difficulties. You must deal with the social and cultural aspects of an expedition. Know the people and share your intentions.

It is also important that you enjoy challenging outdoor conditions instead of resisting them. It is alright to suffer from time to time. Another important tip is: Don’t overdo it. There are always next trips and it is not a bright idea to burn all your motivation this time.

You must be physically tough

Climbing a mountain or penetrating a forest is physically challenging for outdoor photographers. Physical exhaustion can destroy your concentration and if it does, your trip is gone to waste. Therefore, you have to maintain a regular workout and invest into light gear. Planning your route well also saves you time and energy.

You also have got to have the ability to sprint up and down a hill, get low, climb trees, or become silent as an eel. There are no miracle recipes here. You only have to practice, practice, and more practice.

Be at the right place, at the right time

Improvisation isn’t always the right approach to outdoor photography, especially when in a challenging environment. Think ahead and be prepared for your expedition. Consider the gears you have to bring, the size of the group, the route and terrain, camp location, weather, the local people as well as the animals. A careful planning allows you to maximize opportunities.