Landscape Photography 101
Watching the sun set behind a truly impressive landscape is a perfect opportunity for some breath-taking photographs. But unfortunately it’s rarely as easy as picking up a camera and taking a cheeky snap – photography is a fine art involving a great degree of skill, massively benefited by having the right gear for the job. If you fancy making the move into landscape photography or turning your weekend hobby into a full-time profession, you’ll need to know a thing or two first. So for those of you struggling to make sense of apertures and lenses and filters, we’re here to help – here’s a comprehensive guide to capturing landscapes like a pro.
1. Capturing a landscape.
Unlike taking portraits, a landscape requires you to focus on the background rather than the foreground. This means you’ll need to switch to a wide lens, allowing you to capture the background while keeping it in focus. Different cameras have different names for their wide lens, so make sure to Google your camera and find out what the widest lens is for that specific model.
2. Depth of Field.
One of the most common photography headaches for beginners is figuring out how to focus the camera when both the foreground and the background need to be sharp. There are so many settings to mess about with in order to highlight your chosen feature – but when the landscape is the feature, you want everything looking nice and crisp. To do this, you’ll need to change the aperture size. The smaller the aperture size, the more focused both the foreground and background will be. If you choose a large aperture size, the background will blur, highlighting your foreground if that’s what you’re looking for.
Sometimes the freehand method works, but when your subject is going nowhere fast, we’d suggest you use a tripod to eliminate human error as best possible. This might sound like you’re overly mechanising the process, but a massive proportion of photography takes place in the selection and composition – and these happen in that creative brain of yours. Using a tripod will allow you to stay as steady as possible throughout exposure, reducing unwanted blurs for those of us still using cameras without anti-shake. Insider tip: the extra special thing about tripods is that you can always use a spirit level (old-school, we know) to make sure that the camera is straight in relation to the subject. If you’re not making wonky angles a feature, they have no reason to be there.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different angles and filters. If you’re just starting out or expanding your range, it’s all about finding a style of your own. Find a landscape you like and spend the day taking photos with different cameras, different lenses and different exposures. You’ll find that, after a few hours, the light will have changed and you start afresh. Find out which time of day is your favourite to work with and which equipment captures it best. Have fun! At the end, you’ll have hundreds of photos to review – from this, you can filter out the ones you like and the ones you don’t. Remember: practice makes perfect, so keep at it.
Once you’ve found your style and the photographs are ready for your wall, it’s time to print. This is just as important as taking the photo, since different paper and ink can impact heavily on your pictures. In the spirit of professionalism, it seems only fair to print your images like the pros do. Digitalab offers an immense range of professional printing services to really showcase your hard work in the quality it deserves. If you’re looking to turn your photographic passions into a professional career, compiling a strong portfolio should be top of your list – this is the work that prospective clients will see. You’ve taken these lovely photos – now make sure your work is presented with the same care and professionalism so you can really do yourself justice.