Photographing landscapes is one of the most gratifying forms of photography. Not only do you have the chance to photograph spectacular images for your friends or workplace, but you can produce canvases, large prints and even presents for others. How to take excellent landscapes relies upon on a few very key aspects. The light you shoot in and your photographic lens are the two prime features that make gorgeous landscape photos.
How to take landscape photos
First, before I go into finer details about these two techniques, let’s look at how to take photos of landscapes. You will require a camera that is able to be clipped on to a sturdy tripod. Then of course you need a tripod. A tripod is what gives you very sharp and clearer photographs. We use a tripod for landscapes because we would like to be able to hold the camera free from camera shake. Having a camera that is absolutely still enables us to get sharp photos in many different types of daylight.
A shutter release cable is one more handy tool that is often a big part of mastering your photographing landscapes methods. A remote shutter cord is a little cable with a push button at one end. You can join the cable into your camera and activate the shutter, just by pressing down a push button on the end of the cable. It means you do not have to handle your camera in any way. This raises your probability of gaining even sharper photos.
Lenses for landscape photography
Now that you have your camera, tripod and shutter release cable, now what? Immediately we come to our photographic lens. There are many different varieties of lenses for photographing landscapes. It can be hard to select one if you have not mastered photographing landscapes before. One of the best and sharpest lenses is called a prime lens. This means it does not zoom out and in . It can’t. It remains at an unchanging focal length. As a consequence of this immobility, your landscape photographs become sharper and clearer than if you used a zoom lens.
If you want to shoot a huge, expansive look to your landscape images, then I suggest researching at your camera manufacturer’s wide angle and ultra wide angle lenses. A wide angle lens is a focal length of about 24mm to 40mm. An ultra wide angle lens is even wider and can be about 14mm-17mm. There are many lenses to select from.
Landscape camera settings
There is never any ideal camera setting for a landscape shot. However there are some accepted suggestions to take pictures of landscapes. To begin with the aim of photographing landscapes is to create striking, sharp images with superb light. Before we get into light, I would like to explain that a smaller f stop is more often than not what landscape photographers shoot at. A lesser f stop, such as F22, is what is regarded as an ideal aperture for landscapes. This is purely because it facilitates our camera to focus properly into the distance. If you are shooting at a middle distance of ten to twenty meters away F13 or higher works absolutely fine too. You will certainly have to take your light into consideration.
The perfect lighting for photographing landscapes
I have to admit it. I am very surprised there is not more written on getting the right light for landscape photography because it is so vital. I’ve left it till last; because I want to focus your attention on the most critical facet of landscape photography.
The reason why a landscape photo looks so colourful and superb is because of the lighting. Without good lighting a landscape photo can look boring and lacking in interest. And no level of photography gear will answer this problem.
The greatest time of day to photograph your landscape is in the early morning or late afternoon. This filtered light is called sweet light. You will find that the light is subtle and gently vibrant . At morning and late afternoon the light, hues and tones give your scene a completely different appearance to the heart of the day. Photographing in the mid summer sunlight can create unwelcome shadows, washed out colours and a general lack of intensity. Working in a gentle light gives us back those soft colours, muted tones and gentle skies. There are generally no harsh and awful shade ruining our landscape scenes.
Photographing landscapes editing techniques
Once you have your fixed lens, camera set up on your tripod, small aperture and ideal lighting you can fire off a whole series of images to your hearts content! I know I certainly do. Once you have created your lovely landscape imageyou can then bring it home for editing. Finding the right photo editing techniques for landscapes isn’t that tricky. You must first know what you are aiming to attain. Some of us love to turn a landscape photo into a black and white shot. Others love to maintain the soft, muted colours that mornings can offer. Some of us love to create different effects altogether to add more drama and impact to produce an almost apocalyptic appearance to our landscape photos.
The main thing is to keep your shots clear, wide and colourful. Work to have your photo looking clear and colourful. This means you may have to amplify the sharpness a little using the smart sharpen tool in Photoshop. For Lightroom followers, open up the Detail panel and improve the sharpening, radius and detail sliders to the right hand side.
Increasing the colour vibrancy can do wonders for your landscape photo. You will detect that most landscapes contain outstanding colour. That is as a result of increase in certain colours throughout the scene. It is also due to a general increase in colour vibrancy right through the whole photo. Don’t increase the colour too much; you don’t want dark greens to look bright green or soft pinks of wildflowers to look hot pink. It will just look out of place. Keep the colours natural looking as possible, but just enhance the presence of colour.
High Dynamic Range
If you have difficulty producing shadows that are too dark and highlights that are way too bright, then try HDR. This is an tremendous landscape editing technique that can really rescue your photos. You take 3 different photos. The first is two stops under exposed. The second is perfectly exposed and the third is two stops over exposed. This will convey natural highlights to your shadows and tone down your highlights to a more natural looking appearance.
Photographing landscapes ideas
Based on where you live, you may have many possibilities. In case you are stuck for ideas then try these. A beach scene, waterfalls, a freeway from a bird’s eye vision, a city scene at twilight, a long open road, mountain range with hanging fog, a grassland with flowers and even a paddock with creatures grazing in the background. You can see that there are endless opportunities for brilliant landscape photography.
Photographing landscapes relies upon on your lighting, lens and sharpness. You don’t have to have an classy digital camera to take superbly stunning landscape photos. You can depend on the things I have taught you and in no time at all you will be on your way to producing stunning photos.