When you start doing photography (or anything else, for that matter), you’ll get a bunch of tips on what you should do. Some of them are absolutely precious, while the other ones will do you more harm than good. But how do you weed out the bad advice from the good? When you’re new to something, everything may seem so overwhelming?
Well, Mark Denney is here to help. If you’re new to landscape photography, Mark offers nine pieces of bad advice that you should ignore rather than follow.
Mark notes that these are some tips he got in his first year of doing landscape photography. He implemented each and every one of them – and they all had a bad effect on his photography. He rated them from the least bad to the worst one, and I’ll keep the same order. So, let’s see those bad pieces of advice that you should probably stay away from.
1. Always shoot in manual
To make things clear, it’s necessary that you know how to use the Manual mode. If you know how it works, it will help you understand the exposure triangle better. However, once you master it, it doesn’t mean you have to use it all the time. As Mark puts it, using the Manual mode is not a badge of honor. For example, many landscape photographers use Aperture priority mode all the time. It all depends on the situation you’re in and your preferences.
2. You must have graduated ND filters
Mark believes that there’s only one filter that is a must-have for landscape photographer, and it’s a circular polarizer. The main reason for this is that it’s the only filter whose effect you can’t replicate in Photoshop or any other editing software. Graduated ND filters are nice to have, but even if you don’t, you can easily replicate their effect in post.
3. Always expose to the right
With modern cameras, you might actually want to do the opposite – Mark says he more often exposes to the left to protect his highlights. Modern cameras allow us to preserve details in the shadows even when we underexpose the image. In fact, this is what I was learned to do in the photography course back in the day.
4. Always use a tripod
Using a tripod makes sense if you shoot at slower shutter speeds. But come on, imagine shooting in bright daylight at 1/500 or even faster – do you really need a tripod for that? Personally, I use the tripod only when I absolutely have to; otherwise, I shoot handheld.
5. Only shoot during golden hour
The so-called golden hour is certainly a magical time to shoot. But it’s not the only one, nor necessarily the best. You can take plenty of awesome photos at different times of day and in various weather conditions. Don’t limit yourself only to the golden hour, because you may miss out on so many great opportunities for great photos.
6. You must have a full-frame camera
If you’re new to landscape photography, this kind of advice may discourage you on different levels. Full-frame cameras are more expensive than APS-C models, and you may not have that money. On the other hand, you may invest more money into a full-frame model, only to be disappointed because your photos haven’t really improved.
Mark believes that only astrophotography benefits visibly from full-frame cameras. In other kinds of landscape photography, the difference isn’t that obvious. So, just practice your skill and develop your style, it really doesn’t matter which camera model you’ll be using in the process.
7. You don’t need an L-bracket
You may have heard that an L-bracket is just a waste of money and it will just make your camera heavier and bulkier. But the truth is that it can make your life so much easier if you’re a landscape photographer. Mark wholeheartedly recommends that you ignore the bad advice and get an L-bracket for your camera if you’re shooting landscapes.
8. Never crop your photos
Maybe this made sense when cameras didn’t have as high resolution as they do today. But nowadays, it really doesn’t make sense to by all means get everything right in-camera. Still, check the edges and the corners of your frame so there are no unwanted elements. But even if you can’t avoid them, you can plan the final shot that will include some cropping.
9. You must have “the holy trinity of lenses”
According to Mark, this is the worst piece of advice he received as a beginner landscape photographer. It doesn’t include the exact three lenses, but whichever set of lenses you choose, they should cover the focal length from ultra-wide (some 14mm) to telephoto (200mm).
So, the beginner Mark bought four different lenses to cover this focal length range, and he ended up almost never using three of them. Because of this, he advises you to start with a wide-angle zoom and shoot with it for a while. See how it works for you and figure out what you want beyond that. I’d add that even a kit lens will do in the beginning (those are mainly around 18-55mm or 18-105mm). Just shoot with it for a while. And then, go through your photos and see which focal lengths you use the most and which additional lenses would be a good option for you to buy.
Have you ever received any of these pieces of advice? Did you listen to them? And do you agree that they’re bad, or you believe that we should actually listen to some of them?
[BEGINNER Landscape Photography ADVICE To IGNORE | Mark Denney]