Over the years of practising photography, we all learn new things and learn from our own experience and mistakes. In this video, Nigel Danson shares seven things he has learned about the craft of photography. They are simple tips, but he wishes that someone had told him them earlier.
While you should be patient and wait for the right moment, when the moment comes, in landscape photography you don’t have much time to capture it. You want to capture that perfect scene and ideal light while it’s there, and these tips will help you improve your efficiency and take better shots.
1. Use aperture priority mode
Using your camera in full manual mode works, but you can rely on the aperture priority mode to increase efficiency. Think about the depth of field you want in the photo and set the aperture accordingly. Most modern cameras should calculate the exposure properly, and even if not – Nigel suggests that you use exposure compensation.
Using aperture priority mode will help you be faster and more efficient, which will result in capturing the perfect moment while it’s there.
2. Understand your histogram
Simply put, a histogram is a representation of the brightness levels in your photo. Blacks are on the left and the whites are on the right, with all the shadows in between. Generally, you don’t want to have a high spike on either left or right. But, Nigel suggests that you expose to the right (highlights) as much as you can. This way you’ll avoid noise in the shadows, which can appear when you have to brighten them in post. Just make sure you don’t burn out the highlights.
The histogram is your friend. There are plenty of videos and articles on how to read and understand it, so if you already don’t pay attention to it – it’s a good time to start.
3. Focus efficiency
When determining focus, it’s important to understand your camera and the camera + lens combination. Different lenses and different cameras give different depths of field (depending on the camera’s sensor or the lens’ focal length).
Think about what works for you, whether you want to focus to infinity or calculate hyperfocal distance and make everything acceptably sharp. There are times when one or the other method works better, but Nigel generally recommends focusing to infinity. If you don’t calculate the hyperfocal distance correctly, you may end up with blurry images, so focusing to infinity can be a safer option.
4. Simplify your image
Nigel admits that he took some overly complicated photos when he was just starting out. But simplifying your shots will make it much better. To achieve this, look at the scene, think about what you like about it: and then take away everything else from it. Zooming in, or using a telephoto lens in landscape photography can help you achieve this.
5. Use different lenses
Having a different set of lenses can make a significant impact on your photography. If you like to change gear, it’s better to change lenses than cameras. Stick to one camera for a while, so that you learn how it works and become aware of all its features. But use different lenses and experiment with different focal lengths to get the most out of your shots.
6. Where are you standing?
Has this one ever happened to you? You see a beautiful scene; you set up your camera and tripod, shoot, and when you get home – you realize that you should have moved just a bit. Next time, take a moment to think about where you are standing. Move slightly up or down, left or tight to remove distracting elements and improve composition.
This is one of the most important elements of photography, and it’s very important to understand it and embrace it. You should be at locations at the right time of day and understand how the light interacts with the objects in the scene. Sometimes you have to wait a little to get the ideal light, and oftentimes, it will pay off.
Hopefully, these tips will help you become more efficient and get better landscape photos. And if you have any tips for landscape photographers to share: feel free to write them in the comments below.
[7 SIMPLE photography TIPS I wish I knew EARLIER | Nigel Danson]
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