10 Tips From The Landscape Photography Pro: How To Take Great Pictures Of The Great Outdoors

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Landscapes have to be one of the most accessible and enjoyable genres that photography can offer, so it’s no surprise that it’s hugely popular. However, taking a large landscape can be trickier than initially thought, as the lighting, composition, and photo equipment can all put a damper on the action.

So we caught up with Bilal Hussain, UK based professional landscape photographer, so he could enlighten us on which kit to buy and the best tips for winning landscape images.

• Find out more: Best tripod heads for landscape photography

Bilal is a photographer and dental surgeon who loves nothing more than relaxing outside with his camera in his spare time. He has taken photos from scuba diving to soaring Cessna planes, and has a very adventurous spirit. He’s been to every continent on the planet and yet, as traveled as he is, the Lake District in the UK is still one of his favorite places to turn.

We paired it with PhotoPlus reader: The Canon Magazine, Adrian Thomas. Here you’ll find Bilal’s top 10 landscape tips, as well as some of the images Adrian was able to take applying them to his own photography.

You can read more about Bilal’s work on his website.

01 Dial some key parameters

(Image credit: Avenir)

To begin with, Bilal put Adrian’s camera in manual mode and set a shutter speed of 1/160 sec to suppress camera shake when shooting handheld. An aperture of f / 11 was used for decent sharpness throughout the scene, and an ISO of 100 would provide the best image quality with low noise levels. Manual mode will also allow Adrian to lock the settings, meaning they don’t change between frames even if the light is slightly different.

The water was absolutely calm in the morning and there were no clouds in sight so a long exposure was not necessary for this awe-inspiring scenery taken at Rydal Water. (Image credit: Avenir)

02 Check the histogram

(Image credit: Avenir)

Bilal advised Adrian to always check his images on his camera’s rear LCD screen to make sure they are sharp and properly exposed. He had the histogram appear on Adrian’s camera in playback mode to check the exposure – if the histogram is clustered tightly to the left or right, it means your photo is overexposed or underexposed and that you have lost details. If either of these is the case, it’s best to adjust your exposure to retain more detail.

It’s also worth shooting in raw format to record as much exposure information as possible at the time of capture.

03 Use L-bracket for easy framing

(Image credit: Avenir)

Bilal uses an Ellie L 3 Legged Thing Mount, which is compatible with his Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and allows him to quickly switch his camera between portrait and landscape orientation, using the Arca Swiss connection on his tripod. Its L-plate is also bright orange, which makes it easy to find in its kit bag when shooting in low light!

• Better L-bracket for your camera

An L-bracket makes it easy to shoot in landscape and portrait orientation on your tripod and also maintains the center of gravity directly over the tripod head. (Image credit: Avenir)

04 Invest in a high quality filter set

(Image credit: Avenir)

Bilal uses a whole range of NiSi filters with its 16-35mm wide angle lens. It still has a circular polarizer attached to help reduce glare in the water or amplify blues in the sky. It also has a portafilter to which to add its 10-stop NiSi neutral density filter, which blocks 10 stops of light, turning a regular shutter speed of 1/30 s into 30 s, blurring the moving elements in the light. scene.

• The best neutral density filters
• The best polarizing filters

“Take the time to clean the front element of your lens and all filters before using them. This will reduce the risk of dust spots or fingerprints appearing on the images – it can save you a lot of time when editing. ” (Image credit: Avenir)

05 Get a wide angle lens

(Image credit: Avenir)

Any optic with a focal length of less than 50mm is considered a wide angle because it offers a wider perspective than what the human eye can see. This makes them perfect for sneaking into sweeping vistas. Bilal’s wide-angle optic of choice is the Canon EF 16-35mm f / 2.8L USM, which has a super-wide 16mm tip and can be zoomed in to 35mm for less distortion. It also has a front filter thread, so filters can be applied easily.

• The best wide angle lenses

06 Go mono

The lighting in the original shot was pretty flat and dull, but converting to black and white it’s much more dramatic and full of contrast. (Image credit: Avenir)

Landscapes lend themselves well to black and white processing, so it may be a good idea to make your Live View mono, which will help you visualize your scene without color.

(Image credit: Avenir)

On a Canon camera, for example, this can be done by changing the Picture Style in the menu and will allow you to compose your scene focusing on the shape and contrast in the frame, rather than the colors. If you shoot in Raw, you will always have access to the color version if necessary.

07 Use a trigger cable for long exposures

(Image credit: Avenir)

Bilal uses a shutter release cable that plugs into his camera body and allows him to trigger the shutter remotely, to prevent camera shake when pressing the shutter button on the camera .

(Image credit: Avenir)

A trigger cable also allows you to lock the trigger. This is useful when shooting in Bulb mode, as the shutter will stay open as long as the shutter is pressed so that you can take exposures of several minutes, rather than the original 30 seconds – the length of time. maximum exposure that many cameras exceed. out to otherwise.

• Better camera remotes and cable triggers

08 Get an aerial perspective with a drone

(Image credit: Bilal Hussain)

To get a fresh perspective, Bilal often brings his DJI Mavic Pro drone with him when shooting landscapes to get an angle you just can’t get from ground level like this gloomy high angle shot. and atmospheric targeting the lake at Coniston Water.

(Image credit: Avenir)

A fully charged battery gives around 20 to 30 minutes of flight time, although Bilal always has spare batteries to keep his drone running if a battery is completely discharged. Always stay up to date with the latest drone flight laws in your country. If you’re in the UK like we were for this Lake District shoot, check out the CAA website www.caa.co.uk

• The best camera drones

09 Use photo apps

(Image credit: Avenir)

Bilal uses the photographer’s Ephemeris app on his phone to determine the direction in which the sun sets and rises throughout the day. One of its brilliant features is that you can drop a pin anywhere on the map and it will show you which direction the sun will approach throughout the day. This makes it an incredibly powerful tool for planning landscapes, as you can determine where you need to be to capture your scene in the best possible light.

• Best photo apps

10 Get a professional tripod

(Image credit: Avenir)

As a savvy explorer from all corners of the globe, it’s no surprise that Bilal’s tripod is the Gitzo GT2545T Traveler, which folds down to just 44.5cm and can be extended to 154.5cm. It also supports up to 12kg of kit! More than enough, even for Bilal telephoto zooms. He paired his tripod with a Gitzo ball head so he could make adjustments quickly, unlocking and locking the composition with just one button.

• The best tripods for photography
• Better ball joints for tripods

A tripod is essential for long exposures like these where you want the still parts of the image to stand out perfectly and be out of focus on moving elements like clouds and water. (Image credit: Avenir)

Read more:

Best cameras for landscape photography
The best lenses for landscapes
Photography tips


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