Wednesday, March 9, 2016

5 Tips for capturing great Landscape images every time

At some point, we’ve all come back from a shoot and been disappointed to find that the image or images we’ve believe to have captured successfully have had something wrong with them. Maybe the wrong shutter speed has caused details to blur, or perhaps focus was slightly off. Or perhaps depth of field didn’t extend as far back or forward as we thought it would. This is particularly disheartening when capturing a landscape, given the effort that goes into getting to a location in good time, setting up and waiting for the perfect moment. So, to make sure you always come away with your images as best as you get them them, here are five key things to check as you’re shooting.


5 Tips for capturing great Landscape images every time

 

1. Use a lens hood – and make sure it’s mounted properly


Lens hoods are one of the simplest and most useful lens accessories, but they’re often forgotten about. They help to ensure that extraneous light in the scene does not creep into the image and affect contrast and saturation, and so they’re particularly useful in landscape photography. Whenever you use a lens hood you should make sure of two things. The first is that you’re using the correct hood; these are designed for specific lenses so that they are most effective at blocking light for the particular focal length(s) of a lens, but it’s easy to mistake one for another if you have more than one and they have the same diameter. Using the wrong hood could lead to vignetting in your image, so get into the habit of reverse mounting your hood on your lens (if possible) to make sure it always stays on the right lens. The other thing to check is that the hood is mounted correctly. This isn’t a concern with round lens hoods as they provide the same protection however they are rotated, but petal-shaped lens hoods are designed for the aspect ratio of your sensor, and when they’re not correctly mounted they can darken the corners of the frame (and this is easy to miss). Most click slightly when they are in the correct position, with the longer petals vertical and the shorter ones horizontal, so check this is the case before you shoot.


2. Check your filters aren’t causing vignetting


Vignetting is also easily caused by filters with deep profiles, or when using a number of filters at the same time, and the effects can be so gradual that it can be hard to appreciate until you view your image on a larger display. When buying filters, look out for those with a low-profile design as these should help to keep this to a minimum.



3. Use your depth-of-field preview function

Most cameras only close down the aperture to the selected f-stop just before you take the image, rather than as and when this is changed on the camera. The reason for this is that, by using the widest aperture to admit the most light, the camera’s autofocus system can work most effectively, although this also means that you don’t get the best idea of what effect that aperture will have on depth of field until you’ve captured the shot. Clearly, when shooting a landscape, you want to make sure you either have focus and sharpness extending throughout the whole scene or just the selected elements in focus, and the depth-of-field preview function allows you to check this prior to shooting. This temporarily closes down the aperture to the selected f-stop, so you will typically see the view darken as this happens, particularly at very small apertures. Nevertheless, it should give you a better idea of what will and won’t be in focus in the final image.


4. Zoom in to check focus

Most cameras allow you to check focus by zooming into the frame, either as you’re composing the image or once you’ve captured it. Some cameras even usefully automatically zoom into the image to 100% at the press of a button or similar control. You will typically be able to move around the scene to so that you can see whether different parts are focused, and you may be able to use this in conjunction with focus peaking (if your camera offers this), which is great if you want to manually fine-tune focus. Obviously, this tool can also be used to check that depth of field has extended as far back or forward as you expect, so it’s well worth using for landscapes.


5. Check your highlights

The range of tones within a landscape can be far greater than in most other images, and it’s important to make sure you’re not losing any highlight detail in areas such as skies; fine gradations between lighter parts of the scene are always preferable to clipped highlights. Naturally you may use a graduated ND filter to help bring this down to a more manageable level, although however you’ve chosen to capture the image, it’s a good idea to activate some kind of highlight warning feature. The manner in which this is displayed differs between cameras. The majority of interchangeable-lens cameras offer histograms that show where detail is being lost, and a line rising all the way to the top of the right-hand-side of the chart will indicate that this happened with highlight detail. On playing back an image, you may be able to set your camera to flash a coloured warning over areas with clipped highlight details so that you can adjust your exposure and recapture the image. Many recent cameras have a Zebra patterning option to show where highlight detail is being lost, and this can be a useful tool if you use either the LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder for the purpose of composition. Keep in mind that the above controls are more relevant to JPEG files from the camera rather than the potential malleability of Raw files, and that you may be able to improve this in post production. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’ve captured as much of this as possible to begin with.



I hope these tips will be useful to you, next time when you are out and shooting. Do you have any tips for landscape photography? Do you like capturing landscape shots?




27 comments:

  1. I'm always so charmed by your photographs, my dear friend, thank you for your advices and your suggestions to better our 'competence' !
    May your day be filled with wonder
    Dany

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    1. Thank you for visiting Daniela. Glad I could help you out.

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  2. Great post, Mersad. Wonderful captures and lots of valuable information.

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  3. Hi Mersad...sehr schöner Beitrag !! Sehr ausführlich und gut erklärt !! Daumen hoch :)

    Grüße aus Berlin
    Timur von Blendenpixel.de

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    Replies
    1. Danke vielmals Timur. Warte noch das dein Blog live geht! :D

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  4. Many thanks for these very useful suggestions. your landscape photography is wonderful

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    1. Thanks Margaret. I chose some of my favorites to display here.

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  5. wonderfull tips and tricks again... thank you so much, you remind me what i should think more about whilst out on shooting

    Have a nice ABC-W-Day / - Week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

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    1. I try to be cautious about these things more and more when I'm out and about. It's not that hard, and once you get used to it, you get even better shots.

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  6. Great shots, as always, Mersad. Thanks for including tips and tricks; I appreciate your expertise.
    Thanks for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/03/dominica-caribbean-jewel.html

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    1. Thank you Sue for visiting.

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  7. Before the digital age I used a lot of these things with my 35mm camera. Now I use a point and shoot model. I get some okay pictures, but it's so much easier for me travelling in the backcountry and on the water. - Margy

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    1. These tips are more for dslr-s, but you can apply some of it to point-and-shoots as well.

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  8. nice shot Mersad. Thanks for including advise, I appreciate your expertise

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    1. Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it.

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  9. Fantastičan set fotografija i odlični savjeti.

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  10. INTERESTING INFORMATION Mersad, just a little too complicated for
    me to remember in detail but I enjoyed reading and looking at your
    stunning images.

    Best wishes,
    Di.
    Best wishes,
    Di.
    ABCW team.

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    Replies
    1. It takes some time to get used to the technical things, but it can be fun to play around and get great results.

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  11. Like some of your other readers, I can start feeling overwhelmed with the information you've shared here. Maybe, though, it will eventually begin to take root in my brain, at least enough that I can put some of these suggestions into action. The photos accompanying this post are beautiful and give me something to strive toward.

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  12. Great tips all around!The histogram is one of THE greatest bits of info in an image to check.

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  13. GREAT advice Thank you.

    ROG, ABCW

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  14. Thanks for the tips. My newest lens has a hood, but if I shoot on the wide angle it leave a vignette. Drives me nuts. Your photos are spectacular.

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