Regardless of whether you are a novice or a professional, finding the ideal landscape photography settings is crucial for getting those idyllic shots. Today, digital cameras come laden with modes and settings that make it easy for anyone to get into photography.
Despite the wide array of modes, each scene presents itself with a unique challenge, and sticking to one setting might not work best. If you want to take the highest quality landscapes, the setup is vital.
Here, in this article, we shall take a look at what settings you can use and what are some of the ‘set and forget’ options for landscape modes.
Camera Settings for Landscape Photography
Here are some of the main settings you should master if you want to improve your landscape photography.
When discussing landscape photography, focusing is one of the more accessible aspects. While shooting landscapes, rarely will you ever encounter a scene that isn’t stationary.
It is advisable to start with autofocus instead of manual. If you wish to use manual focus, you should use a tripod and take a look at the LCD screen. If you don’t have previous experience with manual autofocus on a DSLR’s optical viewfinder, you shouldn’t use it. Autofocus is simply the way to go.
The most important setting on your camera, the exposure of your photo, determines the brightness of your final image.
Four main factors influence the exposure,
- Shutter speed: This is the amount of time your camera sensor is exposed to the world when you are taking a picture. A rule of thumb is to select your shutter speed after you decide what aperture you are going to be shooting with.
- ISO: This aspect helps raise the brightness in an image. We can achieve the ideal ISO by using the camera’s base ISO and taking in more light via shutter speed.
- Aperture: This is the single most essential setting in landscape photography. It affects both exposure and depth of field. The goal of landscape photography is to achieve as much depth of field with lossless detail. It is a delicate task, and the ideal way to achieve this balance is by using an f stop between f/8 to f/16 for day time shots. At night time you have to use wider apertures for more light.
- Metering: Your camera measures the brightness of the scene through a method called metering. There are three modes, center-weighted, evaluative/matrix, and spot.
While a lot of the auto modes and the various presets in modern DSLR’s can be quite useful, it is recommended that you choose a mode where you can manually adjust the aperture of the picture.
If you wish to control the shutter speed to take a landscape of moving images, you should select a mode that allows you to control the shutter.
Always remember to shoot pictures in RAW format so that you can adjust the white balance and tint. However, keeping a consistent white balance allows you to notice the changes in lighting.
This feature helps you figure out what parts of the picture are under or overexposed. It shows the areas in a graph format.
Modern cameras also have a setting called ‘blinkies’ or ‘highlights’, which acts as a more understandable version of the histogram. Using both can help you adjust for the scene and get the best possible shot.
Sunrise and Sunset Settings
As beautiful as sunrises and sunsets look, they are also incredibly hard to capture on landscape mode. To accurately capture these scenes, you should be aware that auto white balance does not work correctly, and the dynamic range during these shots are incredible.
To compensate, you should not use auto white balance and instead use the daylight white balance preset. You should also shoot the picture in RAW format for some post-processing magic.
Landscape photography presents itself with limitless opportunities. Each scene is different, and sometimes, even the same scene can produce different results, depending on the time of day.
Mastering landscape photography settings might be a tough task; however, you now have a starting point. So all you need to do is go out there and take as many pictures as you can!