Landscape photography is one of the most popular niches of photography.
Whatever you find in front of you and your camera is a landscape. Be it a stormy sea, a frosty forest or a sky-piercing tower, doused in sunlight.
There are many things that can help you achieve that brilliant landscape shot. Camera, wide-angle lenses, tripods, polarising filters, and other accessories are particularly important.
Here we will show you the best equipment to assist your landscape photography adventures.
How to Choose the Perfect Camera for Landscape Photography
Landscape photography requires different things from your camera than street or sports photography.
Your camera needs to capture as much detail as possible and perform at a high resolution. At the same time, you need to be able to use the dynamic range and know how to take advantage of your DSLR camera’s sensor.
All these play a part in getting the best from your landscape photos.
The Best Lenses for Landscape Shooting
The cost of lenses can range from $200 to $2000 and you might think that the higher the cost, the better the lens. This is true most of the time. But there are also other factors you need to take into account.
All types of lenses follow different requirements. Some focus on light, others on chromatic aberrations and other unwanted effects.
For landscape photography, we’re usually looking for a specific lens. One with a wide-angle and great level of sharpness at narrow apertures.
Most expensive does not always mean best. Sometimes the cheapest lens can, in fact, be amazing. The article above will give you the tools you need to choose the best one for yourself.
A Complete Guide to Tripods
Nothing screams landscape photographer more than a tripod. It is a very necessary piece of equipment for capturing those highly detailed shots.
Three keywords you should keep in mind when choosing a tripod are sturdy, solid and lightweight .
Sturdy because it will need to deal with elements such as dirt and rain while being knocked around.
Solid so that it keeps your camera still while capturing that shot. And lightweight because you don’t want any extra weight holding you down.
For me, a tripod needs to be as versatile as the camera. It should allow me to either change the head or at least be able to shoot both portrait and landscape.
It should also be easy to set up and use so that you do not miss any quick changes in the surrounding areas.
Important Accessories for Landscape Photography
Stunning landscape photography isn’t only about focusing on your photographic kit. It’s also about getting to the best place to take photographs.
Your apparel choice is very important to help you work in harsh environments. You shouldn’t forget to grab some gloves and thermal shirts to keep you warm. Hiking boots and a rain jacket will help keep you dry.
There are other helpful things you could bring along. A good, ergonomic bag (your back will thank you) or a head torch. The article above will go through them all for you.
Filters: Uv, Polarized, Graduated, ND, and More
Lens filters are very beneficial for landscape photography when used correctly. And the best part is that there’s a filter for everything!
- The UV (ultraviolet) filter is the most known. Its purpose has changed over the years from a necessity (film) to useless (digital)
- The ND (neutral density) filter decreases shutter speeds for those long exposure shots
- The GND (graduated neutral density) filter helps average out the huge difference between sky and landscape
- And Polarised filters help to cut out glare and reflections
How to Use a Graduated ND Filter for Landscape Photography
A neutral density filter pulls overly-abundant light out of the scene you want to capture. This helps you correctly expose long exposures.
A graduated neutral density filter is similar to an ND filter. It is an ND filter on one end, ranging from transparent to full-filter in a gradient. These are specifically for darkening one area of your scene.
The sky is the most basic reasons why you would want to use one of these filters. You will find that the sky is much lighter than the landscape or cityscape that you want to photograph.
A graduated ND filter will pull out the light, adding detail to that brighter area. This creates a more correctly exposed scene. This is instead of having an area one or two stops lighter than the others.
Read our article here on how to use them.
Camera Settings for Landscape Photography
JPEG Versus Raw
Shooting in JPEG and Raw uses the same number of pixels but the file size of the Raw is about 5 times bigger than JPEG.
That extra file size comes from the image data that the Raw file keeps and JPEG discards. This extra data allows you to get so much more range from exposure, color and white balance in post-production.
Shooting in Raw isn’t as fast as JPEG. You’ll also need special software to make the most of the Raw images. But the end result is definitely worth it.
Understanding How Your Histogram Works
Histograms are a step closer to becoming more professional in your workflow. They’re a mathematical review of how even your exposure is.
Using the LCD screen to determine how your highlights and shadows look can be misleading. This will depend on the available ambient light. The histogram is a clear indicator of under or overexposure, so it is helpful to use.
You’ve seen it on almost every camera made in the last 50 years. A small icon of a person in a frame indicates a portrait and an icon of a mountain for landscape.
Fortunately, we have moved forward into a more refined age. These modes have turned into something useful. Av/A (Aperture Priority) and Tv/S (Shutter Priority).
Your Landscape photography can be immensely helped by Av/A mode. It lets you concentrate on exposure time and depth of field while keeping a correct exposure value.