Photography 202: Intermediate Landscape Photography Tips
For landscape photography, the most important part is choosing the object & location. And according to your object, location and time, all your settings and tips vary. And today, we are going to crack all the hidden tips and the strategies for landscape photography.
But before jumping to the main content, you need to be prepared for intermediate tips. For absolute beginners, things may seem little difficult. In that case, you can read our previous article Landscape Photography Tips 101 Landscape Photography Tips 101 & then start reading this one.
If you keep your eyes normally into the photo, you may not see something special. But if you look into the photo by your heart, you’ll see blue skies, white clouds, green fields and a long lonely road.
The frame is very big and if you search the meaning of the photo you’ve many options to think about. It means the photographers thought the same thing during the environment selection. So, you need to think and compose your own frame also.
Here is another image for you.
What does this image show?
A very usual view of dusk which you can find near any lake area. But the photographer who’ve taken this shot did an awesome composition. A reddish sky, calm lake & a calm town near it.
The most important part of this photo is the expanding wave which is created by a drop of something from the outside of the frame. And look, nothing is there to drop into the lake. It means, the photographer himself drop something into the lake and then took the shot immediately. It means this part of the frame is a setup and the photographer made it natural by his click.
So, if you are a keen photo enthusiast, you need to compose your own object. And if you can do this properly, the primary and probably the most important task will be done.
Camera Setting Tips
The exposure setting, which means the quality balance among aperture, ISO and shutter speed can turn your photo into a message. You are totally free to set your own camera setting. But in terms of our experiences, we compiled the following camera settings for you:
Aperture: Since a successful landscape photograph needs a wide angle view, so you need to change the f-stop value depends on your composition. If you read different blogs on photography, you may become confused. And that’s why to leave reading thousands of tips and remember this simple rule:
“You need to decrease the value of your f-stop if you completely focus on your primary object keeping the background unfocused and if you want to maintain a clear-cut relation between foreground and background, increase the f-stop value even up to f/22.
If you are still confused, you can check the photos above. In the first photo, f-stop value is 7.1 which focuses the middle hill in the photo, whereas in second photo f-stop value is 14 which made every object clear.
ISO: I always recommend not to take higher value of ISO because it reduces the photo quality. And to balance low ISO you can set higher shutter speed so that you can take lights for more time than taking more lights in short time.
For daylight landscape, the ISO value should be maximum 100. But for night time photography, you can increase the value up to 400. But if you do so, apparently the smoothness of your photos will decrease.
For the photos above the first image, ISO is only 100 and the photo looks smoother. On the other hand, the ISO value of the second image is 400 which made it warmer and a little noise covers the whole image. But if you used ISO 100 for the second image, then the photos would look smoother.
And if the second image becomes smoother, the sunny ambiance will be faded. As a result, the image would lose its main characteristics. So always remember that to avoid noises in your photograph, reducing ISO value is not always the solution.
Shutter Speed: According to our experience, in maximum cases, shutter speed for landscape photography is completely optional. Because you can create your own composition and depend on your composition you can choose your own shutter speed.
And if you want to know the shutter speed value of the above photos, then you’ll see they’ve 1/160s & 1/320s shutter speed which is very lower. The reason is both of the photos was taken in sharp sunlight and only a few lights were more than enough to satisfy the camera sensor.
But for low light photography, you should consider the shutter speed. But still, if you don’t need to bother a lot because for landscape snaps this will not be a big deal for you.
Lens Selection Tips
A prime lens will not help you a lot in case of landscape photography. And if you are focused on the landscape, you need to study more about a zoom lens and telephoto zoom lens.
Zoom Lens: Using these lenses, you can control the focal length of the picture. But in the normal zoom lens, these range varies within a limited value. The most common zoom lenses in the market are 18-55mm, 18-135mm etc. For shorter distance landscape, 18-55mm is enough, but for longer 18-135mm is fine. But try to avoid 18-200mm.
Because, it may give you longer focal length, but to maintain 18mm to 200mm coverage its internal mirrors need extra layers which reduce the color quality which is very necessary for landscape sceneries. For example, if the following photo was taken by only zoom lens you’ll get this awesome color grading.
Tele Zoom Lens: For long distance shots, telephoto zoom lenses are a gem. For extra high-quality colors and easier maintenance, we always prefer tele zooms. For the above picture, all elements from near and far look clear and the color grading looks awesome.
This is because the photo it was taken using a tele lens and set the focal length to 150mm. So, less distortion happened and quality became intact.
Accessories Setup Tips:
As you already passed the beginner stage, you would already know the necessary accessories for landscape photography. But for landscape following tips will always help you:
– Use 3-meter tripod which will help you to capture more than your height level.
– Try to use remote if you want the flawless level of photography.
– The stabilizer is gradually becoming very important for landscape time-lapse photography.
– For dusty places, don’t forget to use a lens filter.
– For swamp or rainy areas waterproof covers are mandatory.
Photo Capturing Tips
For a proper understanding of capturing photos look at the island’s photo below. The camera setting for the photo is 10mm focal length with 3.5 aperture value, 1/2000s shutter speed, and 200 ISO. The time was at the end of the afternoon and a mini tripod was used to keep the low-level steadiness.
The first thing is the distance between you and the object. It is only 10mm because you are focusing from the shore to the cloud far from the horizon. If you took that photo using aperture 10 then you would be distracted from that sun ray and you would get more objects in your eye frame.
Again, if you took ISO 500 instead of ISO 200 the softness of your photo would vanish. So, the eye soothing effect of the afternoon skype would get a noon effect. And if you gave your shutter 1/50s to read the whole ambiance you couldn’t get that sun ray so clear because the extra lights will burn that narrow stream.
And if you want to take the same picture in the same location but in morning, then it’s better for you to change your shutter speed to 1/1000s and ISO to 300. It’ll collect lights for more time and the composition will be warmer which is similar to morning climate.
But for night time, shutter speed should be higher even up to several seconds to collect the lights from the far cloud. You can check my Night Time Photography Tips 202 for more about night photography.
So, in a nutshell, we can say, after choosing your objects, setting your camera & accessories you need to decide your move during the capture. Otherwise, all your efforts will be ruined. And during the capture, don’t hurry because you may lose awesome frames for your hurry.
Again, don’t distract from the object because sometimes a moment of distraction can take you away from a life-changing shot. Especially if you read my wildlife photography tips, you’ll see how important the concentration in photography is. Till Then, Good Bye.