- Get Sharper Photos by Finding the Sweet Spot of Your Lens
- A Beginner's Guide to Aperture and Depth of Field
There's a lot of talk about how you can improve the composition of your landscape photos.
But I don't see as much discussion of some of the technical things you can do - like camera settings or gear you can use - to improve your landscape photography.
With that in mind, I've put together this quick guide of easy landscape photography tricks that you can use to elevate the quality of your photos.
Let's get started!
Use a Low ISO
I've written before about how we don't need to be as afraid to use high ISOs today as we did in the past.
However, though that is the case, it's still prudent to keep your ISO setting as low as you can.
That's because even though our cameras today offer improved ISO performance at higher and higher ISOs (and they have higher ISO ranges, too), the fact of the matter still remains that the higher the ISO, the more noise you'll have in your photo.
Learn more about ISO and how to use it for landscape photography in the video below by Joshua Cripps:
Now, noise won't be as big of an issue if you're snapping a quick photo to share on Instagram.
But if you want to make prints of an appreciable size, keeping the ISO as low as possible will only help.
Sure, when you're shooting in low-light conditions, you'll perhaps need to bump your ISO up to get a good exposure.
But if there's plenty of light, keep the ISO to a minimum and you'll get cleaner shots as a result.
Shoot in Your Lens's Sweet Spot
One of the ways you can avoid using a higher ISO is to open up the aperture.
Of course, that presents a couple of problems for landscape photography.
First, the wider the aperture is, the shallower the depth of field will be, all else being equal.
That means that the background of your landscape photos might be a little blurry if you open up the aperture.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, is that lenses aren't their sharpest when their largest (or smallest) apertures are used.
Instead, shooting in the lens's sweet spot, or the aperture at which it gives you the sharpest results, is advisable. Learn how to do that in the video above by Pixel Village.
Each lens is a little different regarding the aperture at which it's the sharpest. However, a good rule of thumb is that it'll be in the f/8-f/11 range.
So, rather than automatically going to f/22 to get a giant depth of field, try f/11 and see what happens. If there's nothing immediately in front of your lens, you'll likely find the depth of field is still quite good.
Alternatively, when there's not much light, don't immediately go to f/2. Instead, try f/8 or even f/5.6, put your camera on a tripod, and slow the shutter down to help your lens get a better exposure.
Use a Camera Remote
Of all the camera accessories that can help your landscape photography, a camera remote is right up there as a must-have alongside a tripod and a bubble level.
Clearly, the obvious advantage of using a camera remote is that it negates camera shake. That, in turn, helps you get sharper photos.
But if you use the right kind of remote, you can also open up all sorts of creative possibilities.
Take the Alpine Labs Spark, for instance...
This little gadget gives you three ways to control your camera - as a traditional wired remote, as an infrared wireless remote, and as an app-based remote that you control from your smartphone.
Not only does that mean you can use Spark in whatever manner best suits the current shooting conditions, but it also means you can tackle things like real-time video, time-lapse video, and long exposures, too.
Spark automates many of these processes as well. For example, if you want to create a time-lapse video of a gorgeous landscape, you can either input your own interval, duration, and other settings, or you can choose from a variety of presets that are preloaded into Spark.
You can incorporate yourself into some of your landscapes, too, by using Spark as a wireless remote.
It also has an HDR feature so you can overcome the wide dynamic range that's often present when you try to photograph a landscape that's dark and a sky that's bright.
With more than 2,000 hours of battery life, a small form factor, and all the incredible features noted above, Spark is one of the simplest, yet most effective tools to help you master landscape photography.