Landscape photography is becoming very popular among people who love nature. It is because people can see and feel the beauty of nature through the lens of a camera. If you want to become a landscape photographer, then you should be very careful with the settings of your camera. The settings of your camera will make or break your photos. You need to be sure that you are using the correct settings in taking good landscape photos.
In this article, we will teach you how to use the correct settings in taking great landscape photos.
How To Choose the Perfect Camera For Landscape Photography
For landscape photographers, a full-frame (35mm) camera is the most versatile option. It allows for the greatest depth of field and the broadest perspective… However, if you don’t need the extreme depth of field that a full-frame provides, you can get similar results with a cropped-sensor (APS-C or 1/2.3-inch sensor) camera.
Some cropped-sensor cameras: Canon 7D, Nikon D6500…
Some full-frame cameras: Canon 5D mark IV, Canon 1DX mark 2, Nikon D850, Sonny A7R3….
The Best Lenses For Shooting Landscape Photos
Landscape photography requires a different type of lens than most other types of photography.You see, when you are shooting landscapes, you are often trying to isolate a particular subject in the frame, and if the background is in focus, it will compete with your subject for attention. This is why many landscape photographers use a “wide angle” lens.
These lenses have a very wide angle of view, which means that they will compress the perspective of objects far away, but will stretch the perspective of objects close to you.
Inexpensive lenses are not always the best choice for landscape photography. In fact, in many cases, the “kit lens” provided with your camera is exactly what you need to get the job done. Don’t be afraid to use the kit lens if you are just getting started. But, if you have a little extra money to spend, then you should consider getting one of the following lenses:
+ 24-70mm f/2.8
+ 17-40mm f/2.8
+ 24-120mm f/4
These lenses are all excellent choices and will give you a significant advantage when it comes to composing and capturing great landscape photos.
Mount Cook, New Zealand – Canon EOS 700D – Focal Length 55.0mm – Aperture ƒ/11 – Shutter Speed 1/100s – ISO 100
Important Accessories For Landscape Photography
Landscape photography is all about the light, and the right accessories can make your job easier or harder. I have listed here some of the most useful accessories for landscape photography.
+ A sturdy tripod is a must – you can use it to steady your camera, to capture long exposures, or simply as a way to extend your reach. A monopod is a cheaper and lighter alternative.
+ A good lens hood is another accessory you should consider investing in. It will help minimize the entry of unwanted light into the lens, and thus improve image quality.
+ A lens cloth is useful to clean the front of your lens when shooting in inclement weather or dust.
+ An extra memory card is a good idea in case your primary card gets full.
+ A polarizer filter is an optional accessory but one that can really add to the beauty of your images. It will reduce glare and increase the amount of light that reaches your sensor. Polarizing filters are available for most lenses, and are inexpensive. They are worth having if you are going to be shooting in direct sunlight for long periods.
+ A cable release or timer is an accessory that allows you to take a picture without having to hold down the shutter button. This is especially useful when you are photographing moving subjects or if you want to take a bunch of pictures quickly without having to keep pressing the button.
Camera Settings For Landscape Photography
When it comes to landscape photography, there are two important settings you must pay attention to: Aperture and Shutter Speed. These two settings determine the “quality” of your image.
Aperture is the hole in the camera through which the light travels to reach the sensor. The larger the aperture, the more light will get to the sensor. Aperture affects depth of field; the larger the aperture, the shallower the depth of field. Depth of field is the area in front of and behind your subject that is in focus. The larger the aperture, the less in focus are the foreground and background areas.
Shutter Speed is the length of time the camera sensor is exposed to light. The longer the exposure, the more light hits the sensor.
The correct settings for landscape photography vary depending on the situation.
+ If you are photographing a mountain range, you will want a small (f/16 – f/32) aperture to make sure you get as much depth of field as possible.
+ However, if you are photographing a lake or other body of water, you will want a large (f/2.8 – f/3.2), now a much shorter exposure time, so you will have a very shallow depth of field.
Laghi di Fusine, Trbiž, Videm, Italija – NIKON D5300 – Focal Length 18.0mm – Aperture ƒ/7.1 – Shutter Speed 1/160s – ISO 100
Understanding How Your Histogram Works
Your camera has a little screen on the back of it called a histogram. This lets you know how dark or light your photo is.
If your histogram is all bunched up at the left hand side (dark area) that means your photo is too dark.
If it’s all bunched up at the right hand side (light area) that means your photo is too light.
Of course, most of the time, what you want is a nice even spread throughout the histogram. That means your photo is just right.
The Difference Between Shooting Modes
There are three basic modes of operation for your camera:
Aperture-priority mode (Av)
Shutter-priority mode (Tv)
Manual mode (M)
In Av mode, the camera controls the shutter speed (the hole in the lens through which the light enters the camera) and lets you choose the aperture.
In Tv mode, the camera controls the aperture and lets you choose the shutter speed.
In M mode, you both control the aperture and shutter speed together.
When you are first learning landscape photography, it is best to learn all the basics via manual mode. This will give you complete control over the camera and allow you to experiment with shutter speeds, apertures, ISO settings, and other important variables. Once you feel comfortable working in manual mode, you can then graduate to one of the semi-automatic modes like Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority. These modes will let you make some important decisions for the camera while still giving you the ability to tweak the details.
JPEG Versus Raw- Which One Should You Use
The answer really depends on your needs :
If you are sending your photos to be printed or published, then you should use JPEG. This is because it is much smaller in size and much easier to transmit and store.
On the other hand, if you are going to be doing a lot of post-processing (like cropping, color corrections, or adjusting the levels), then you should use RAW. This is because you can do almost anything to a RAW file and have the original unaltered photo.
There are programs out there such as Adobe Lightroom that are extremely good at working with RAW files and making them look great.
Plan Where To Go
If you are going to take landscape photographs, then you need to know where good ones are likely to occur. Make a list of places you’ve always wanted to visit, or that you think would be particularly scenic. Include things like national parks, historical sites, ruins, beaches, mountains, and any other location that interests you. If you do this often enough, you should begin to get a sense of what you enjoy photographing.
Work With The weather
Most people don’t even consider working with the weather when they are out photographing. They just show up and hope for the best. But the truth is, you can often get more interesting and powerful images by going along with the weather… especially if you are photographing landscapes.
+ If it is windy, find a sheltered spot to set up your camera.
+ If it is raining, find a place that has a natural roof (like a cave) or shoot under overhangs.
+ If it is snowing, find a place where the sun is shining on the snow, or shoot inside where there is steam from hot vents or radiator pipes.
The possibilities are endless. Just be creative and think about how you can work with the elements instead of fighting them.
Photograph During The Golden Hours
Durdle Door, Dorset, UK – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV – Focal Length 24.0mm – Aperture ƒ/11 – Shutter Speed 15s – ISO 800
You should always make an effort to photograph when the light is at its most appealing. That golden hour just after sunrise or before sunset is the very best time to photograph any landscape.
It is the least overcast time of the day and the light is soft and diffused, yet not too soft. It illuminates the landscape perfectly and gives you maximum control over the image. You can create almost any kind of light you want and you can use the natural light coming from the sky, or add artificial light if you prefer.
In fact, you should always think about adding light to your images whenever you are shooting outdoors… Whether it is a car headlight shining on the side of a building at night, the light from a street lamp hitting the leaves of a tree, or the light from the sun bouncing off a puddle of water onto the surface of a rock.
Light adds drama and life to your photos and makes them more interesting to look at.
How To Use The Rule Of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds is a compositional guideline that states, “A photo element should be no more than 33% of the width of a photo from the edge of the frame.”
This rule is based on the human visual system being most comfortable with judging elements of a composition as they see an element of interest every third element of a photo.
For example, if your subject is a landscape and you want the viewer to notice the sky, place the horizon line dead center in the frame and make sure the sky is no more than one-third the width of the photo from the edges of the frame.
This will make it appear as though there is more sky in the photo than there actually is and draw attention to the sky.
The same guideline can be applied to other photo elements such as people, foliage, architecture, etc.
Rattray Head Lighthouse, United Kingdom – Canon EOS 6D – Focal Length 24.0mm – Aperture ƒ/22 – Shutter Speed 3.2s – ISO 100
The most common type of panorama is horizontal. Horizontal panoramas can be created in one of two ways:
+ Using a tripod and a polarizing filter to create a “polarizer strip” effect when shooting horizontally, and then using a computer to stitch the images together into a single wide-angle photo
+ Shooting multiple overlapping vertical photos and then using a panning technique to “stitch” them together into a single wide-angle photo.
There are many other ways to create a panorama too, but those two are the most common.
Landscape photographers also use this technique to show how big or small a certain area is. For example, if you are standing in the middle of a prairie and want to show how vast that area is, you can stitch several photos together to show how far the camera was moved from one spot to another.
Val Venegia, San Martino di Castrozza, TN, Italia – Fuji X-T10 – Focal Length 27.0mm – Aperture ƒ/13 – Shutter Speed 1/400s – ISO 200
Landscapes can sometimes appear very busy because of all the details that define them. However, often a simple composition can make a more powerful image. Try to simplify your compositions by eliminating clutter.
If you are photographing a meadow, for example, eliminate everything except the grass and flowers. The less there is in your frame, the more your viewer’s eye will be drawn to the subject.
If you want to be a good landscape photographer, you must learn to capture movement in your compositions.
Movement can be as simple as the breeze ruffling the grass in the wind, or the water in a stream as it meanders between rocks and trees.
More often than not, the most compelling images are those where the viewer can see the path the subject took, or the direction the wind is blowing it. Even the tiniest amount of movement will add life and dynamism to your images.
Dramatic Skies And The Importance Of Clouds
Canon EOS REBEL T3i- Focal Length 18.0mm – Aperture ƒ/11 – Shutter Speed 1/160s – ISO 100 (author @Frantzou Fleurine)
When you are photographing landscapes, sky is often the most important element. Dramatic skies are common in landscape photography and they can make even a mediocre photograph look good.
Many times, if you wait until the sun is fully up, you will not be able to get the sky you want because of the light. However, during the early morning and late afternoon hours, the light is soft and diffused, allowing you to capture the sky exactly as you see it.
The trick is to learn when the light is right for the kind of sky you want to photograph.
+ If you are going for a classic, clear blue sky, you will have to wait until the sun is high in the sky.
+ But, if you are going for a more dramatic, stormy sky, you can photograph at any time of the day or night. All you have to do is find the right place to set up your camera and shoot.
Tips On Better Seascape Photography
Seascapes are perhaps the most difficult type of landscape to photograph. They can be dull, flat and featureless or they can be dramatic and beautiful. So what is the best way to capture the drama and beauty of a seascape?
The answer is simple… but… it’s not easy. You see, the most important element of any good seascape is the sky. It doesn’t matter how interesting the coastline is if the sky is an uninspiring, flat, boring blue.
However, many beginning photographers get confused and think that a dramatic sky is synonymous with a dark, overcast sky. This is not true… at all. What you want is a dynamic sky… one that is filled with interesting clouds, some of which will be moving rapidly across the face of the sky. By the way, the best time of day to photograph a seascape is just before sunrise or after sunset when the sky is at it’s most dramatic.
Tips To Improve Your Forest Photography
Felton, United States – NIKON D750 – Focal Length 24.0mm – Aperture ƒ/2.8 – Shutter Speed 1/1250s – ISO 800
It can be difficult to photograph forests because of all the green. However, there are several tips that will improve your forest photos.
+Choose a location that has a mix of light and dark trees. Ideally, you want about an even split.
+ Find a tree that is different from the others. Perhaps one that has interesting bark or foliage.
+ Shoot early in the morning when there is less direct sun. This will give you a more “dusk-like” look to your image.
+ Use a slow shutter speed to blur the water or motion of the leaves in the wind.
+ Try using a polarizing filter to reduce glare.
+ Consider using a tripod and remote release if you are taking a lot of shots at once. This way, you can keep moving around and not have to worry about camera shake.
+ Shoot from a low angle. This will add drama and interest to your image.
+ Experiment with different focal lengths. Longer focal lengths (200mm and above) will compress the background, making it appear closer. Shoot from a lower angle for this effect.
+ Shoot close up. This will make your subject stand out more.
Best Techniques For Photographing The Desert
Fuji X-H1 – Focal Length 100.0mm – Aperture ƒ/4.5 – Shutter Speed 1/640s – ISO 200
One of the most challenging environments for landscape photographers is the desert. Not only is it extremely hot and dry, it also has very little color.
However, this does not mean you should not photograph there. Quite the contrary: You should strive to master desert photography, because it will open up an entire new world of possibilities for you.
First and foremost, if you do photograph in the desert, you must learn to use the sand as your primary subject. Sand is the ultimate neutral element; it will enhance or detract from the colors of whatever else you place in front of it, but it will never be as interesting as what lies behind it.
In the desert, what lies behind the sand is often spectacular. Rocky hills, stark, seemingly lifeless mountains, deep, dark canyons, and endless vistas of flat, arid land.
All this is extremely compelling stuff for a photographer to capture masterpieces.
How To Remove Lens Flare With This Clever Trick
Lens flare is often the bane of landscape photographers. It occurs when light from the bright sun reflects off one of the lenses in your lens kit and causes unwanted reflections on your subject.
To remove lens flare, simply add a filter to the front of your lens. There are several different kinds of filters you can use, including UV (which blocks blue light), an ND (neutral density) filter, and a circular polarizer. You’ll find these filters at any decent camera store or you can buy them separately and attach them to the front of your lens with a rubber band.
Landscape photography is one of the most challenging types of photography. But, if you learn the basic techniques, you will be able to create some amazing photographs.
We hope that this article will help you a lot to improve your skills as a landscape photographer.