What is Landscape Photography?
Landscape photography is one of the most popular genres of photography, especially for outdoor lovers, travelers, and conservationists. While it typically portrays images of nature and untouched terrain, landscape photography can also include rural, urban, industrial, and architectural scenes.
Like all types of photography, landscape photography enjoys many combinations of techniques, cameras, lenses, and accessories to help you produce the perfect photograph.
Important Camera Considerations
Unlike sports, wildlife, and street photography, landscape shooting tends to be slow and methodical, which can take advantage of lower ISOs, slower shutter speeds, smaller apertures, and using a tripod. Large sensors are very useful, as they deliver better dynamic range, lower noise, and terrific image quality. Sensors with high resolution are also preferred due to their ability to interpret fine details clearly and print large images without losing sharpness.
Other things to consider:
- Use filters to help your camera “see” what the human eye sees or for creative purposes. For more information, read A Guide to Filters for Lenses.
- Reduce motion blur by using Mirror lock-up (MLU) and other vibration reduction methods like remote shutter releases and electronic front curtain mechanisms.
- Learn exposure blending techniques such as panoramas, HDR, and focus stacking to properly capture the entirety of the scene.
For more information, read A Guide to Cameras for Landscape Photography.
Important Lens Considerations
Shooting with the right lenses is crucial to landscape photography. Lenses allow the photographer to give an image personal vision and meaning, while also providing different types of perspectives – from wide-angle views, tight close-ups, subject isolation, and focusing versatility.
Lenses with short focal lengths, like wide-angle lenses, are great for landscape photography because of their broad field of view and long depth of field. A broad field of view allows for large subjects to fit entirely into the frame or to place emphasis ion a foreground subject, while a long depth of field provides consistent sharp focus from foreground to background. Although short focal lengths are fairly standard for landscape shooting, normal and telephoto focal lengths also have their advantages.
Zoom or Prime Lens?
This age-old debate applies to all genres of photography, but is particularly prevalent in landscape photography. Zoom lenses are great for zooming into an inaccessible landscape, while prime lenses generally force the photographer to travel to a more rewarding viewpoint and may offer greater sharpness. The decision between a zoom or a prime lens comes down to the photographer and how he or she prefers to shoot. There are incredible lenses for both categories.
Auto or Manual Focus?
Autofocus technology has progressed immensely over the last few years. Lenses focus automatically, quickly, and accurately, while also retaining the ability to be focused manually (with some limitations). On the other hand, pure manual focusing allows the photographer more tactile control and customization. Mastering manual focus will generally lead to more impressive photographs, but there are plenty of autofocus lenses that produce wonderful results as well.