- Get Sharper Photos by Finding the Sweet Spot of Your Lens
- A Beginner's Guide to Aperture Priority Mode and Exposure Compensation
- 4 Strategies for Perfecting the Focus of Your Landscape Photos
- Simple Tips for Tack-Sharp Landscape Photos
If you want to take better photos of landscapes, one of the most important things you can do is learn how to use your camera.
But beyond that, having a deep understanding of crucial landscape photography settings is a must.
In the video above, Nigel Danson outlines a few essential camera settings that every landscape photographer should know.
By practicing these settings, you can get the most out of your camera and learn how to take landscape photos that are truly eye-catching.
For a quick overview of each setting, keep reading below!
Editor's Tip: Landscape photography requires different lenses for different shots. Before you buy a new lens, learn why a 50mm prime lens is a must-have.
Learn How to Use ISO
For the uninitiated, ISO controls the sensitivity of your camera's sensor to light.
It's measured on a scale like 50-25600, where the lower the number, the less sensitive to light the camera will be.
Not all cameras have the same ISO range, though. Higher-end cameras have much wider ISO ranges while entry-level cameras might offer something like 100-6400.
More than that, the ISO you use will influence how "clean" the shot is.
That is, the higher the ISO, the more likely the image is to have digital noise, or grain.
So, not only is it important for you to understand how to manipulate ISO to get a good exposure, but it's also important to understand how far you can push the ISO while still getting a good, clean shot.
Just how far you can push the ISO will depend on your camera.
Full frame cameras tend to have much higher ISO ranges and usually produce cleaner shots at higher ISOs than something like an entry-level crop sensor camera.
That being said, it's important to test your camera - no matter what kind it is - to determine the point at which ISO begins to be a problem.
The less noise your images have, the more eye-catching they will be.
Understand Your Camera's Sweet Spot
Another crucial landscape photography camera setting that you must learn is what aperture that you can safely use.
As a reminder, the aperture controls the amount of light that enters the lens.
Aperture is measured in f-stops, where the aperture number represents the size of the aperture.
What gets a little confusing is that the larger the f-number, the smaller the aperture. So f/2.8 is a very large aperture while f/22 is a very small aperture, as shown above.
Aside from understanding the somewhat confusing aperture scale, you also need to understand the best aperture at which to take landscape photos.
And by "best aperture," that means the aperture at which the lens is the sharpest, or its sweet spot.
The sweet spot is different for every lens, but by and large, most lenses operate at their best in the f/8-f/11 range.
By shooting in the lens's sweet spot, you maximize sharpness and get the most detailed image possible.
Editor's Tip: Your landscape photos deserve to be on display in your home as gorgeous prints. See what your images look like as fine art.
Landscape Photography Camera Settings: Where to Focus
There are various methods that landscape photographers use to perfect the focus of their shots.
One is to focus at a point one-third of the way up from the bottom of the frame.
This tends to work well because of the way that depth of field works.
Depth of field is the area of an image that's in sharp focus, and one-third of it occurs in front of the focal point with the remaining two-thirds behind the focal point.
Thus, if you focus at the one-third point in the frame, you should have everything in the shot nice and sharp.
You can also focus stack your images in post-processing.
That is, you can set up your camera on a tripod and take several shots, each with a different plane of focus.
Then, in post-processing, you simply combine the images together, the result of which is a single composite photo that is sharp from front to back.
Nigel also outlines a handy way to determine the depth of field in the video. He explains it beginning at the 8:20 mark.
Be sure to watch the complete video above for examples of each of these tips - and for more details about other landscape photography camera settings that you need to know.