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The BEST Settings for Landscape Photography!

Brighton Bandstand
Brighton Bandstand | Long Exposure

This is the one questions I get asked the most...

"Is there a "be all, and end all" set up for Landscape Photography?"

In short - of course not. For a start, I'm not there, so I wouldn't know what you need to shoot with. Your setting will depend on your subject, lighting and composition.

However, the good news is that I have a great formula to get you started. Follow these easy steps and you'll be sorted for your next trip out;

  1. Shoot RAW - you'll have more control over the process of editing and you don't have to worry about some in-camera setting. Such as White Balance or Picture profiles. Leave these on Auto.

  2. Use a tripod - If there is one piece of kit you will definitely need, as a Landscape Photographer, it's a tripod. Trust in this and thank me later.

  3. Compose your image - Use the rule of thirds if you can. Or go wild and not bother. It's totally subjective.

  4. Use the Live View - if your camera has one. Live view will normally show you what your image is going to look like, before you take the shot. A good indication of the settings, and if they need tweaking, we are now going to discuss

  5. Set ISO to the lowest your camera can go Natively - Most DSLR cameras have this set to 100, some go lower, but beware that this may not be native. Do your research and set that ISO.

  6. Set your Aperture (Sometimes referred to as "F-Stop"), to somewhere near f10. This is a sweet spot for Landscape Photography to get as much in focus as possible. 

  7. Finally, set the shutter speed - Finally, you will need to set your shutter speed to get the right exposure. You can use your live view to do this on most cameras.

But this is the point at which you want to think about your image and what you want to achieve. Do you want to capture movement (in water perhaps)? Then you will need a slower shutter speed (this will lighten your current exposure), so you will then think about changing your F-stop to cut the light down again. Try going to f18 or f22.

Or perhaps you are shooting at night, and want to freeze any movement, now you need to speed up your shutter (which cuts out light to the camera), and so you may need to raise your ISO to compensate.

My point is, I keep it really simple - Start at ISO 100, f10 and then consider the shutter speed and what to want to portray in the image.

This is my formula for Landscape Photography.

If you are brand new to Landscape Photography, I have a YouTube Channel Playlist of videos - where I explain Exposure and other aspects of Landscape Photography. You can watch them HERE

Please let me know what you think, or if you have anything you think might be good to add to this formula.

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