To truly master the art of landscape photography it takes more than being equipped with a camera body and lens. While a solid camera setup may yield beautiful landscape imagery, you might be leaving money on the table by not thinking about what tools you need to kick your photos up a notch and make them print-ready. We teamed up with award-winning Landscape Photographer Cheyne Walls, known for his limited edition fine art prints, to show us 5 essentials that we need in order to turn our photos into fine art gallery pieces in our latest course!
The first, most important thing that people seem to overlook is tripods. While this may seem like an obvious tool to have as a landscape photographer, many invest in a cheap tripod that results in instability. In order to get tack sharp images, you are going to need a sturdy tripod to get the right shot. One of the reasons that Cheyne uses a tripod is because he rarely shoots anything that isn’t in a longer exposure from 2-4 seconds. I’m using the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ to get all my shots.
2. Remote Shutter Release
The beauty and art behind landscape photography relies heavily on how you choose to capture the environment. Whether it’s moving clouds or water, longer exposures make for some of the most interesting landscape images, but they can be difficult to capture without stabilization or a remote shutter release. The cable shutter release helps to get rid of any shakiness or movement that you would be seeing if you pressed the camera. You just press it down to take the photo and press it down again to close the shutter. These are some that Cheyne uses:
3. Gradient/Neutral Density Filters
If you are looking into diving into professional landscape photography, this next one is a must-have item. Gradient and Neutral Density filters help balance out the brightest parts of your images by darkening your exposure. These are great tools for creating shutter drags and capturing longer exposures. It brings together the dynamic range so the sky isn’t too bright compared to the foreground. In addition, your workflow is much more efficient now that you can get the right exposure in one shot versus having to take multiple frames and composite them together.
4. Hand-Held Light Meter
Although many will argue that you can use the internal light meter in your camera, it just doesn’t work as accurately as an external one. Light meters take double AA batteries which will last for years (especially with rechargeable batteries) which is better than burning through your camera batteries trying to take multiple exposures to figure out which one looks best, making this a sound investment. In addition, the camera is a reflective meter reading, which doesn’t pull directly from the sun but rather the subject matter.
5. Grey Card
Using a grey card aids in dialing in the perfect exposure before clicking your shutter. Cheyne prefers the QP Card QP101 Calibration Card. You can either that a photo of the grey card first or adjust it in your camera before you start shooting your photos. Some prefer to balance their color in post by using a color checker or color selection tool that automatically adjusts once your grey/white point has been selected. I use Datacolor’s SpyderCHECKR when I set my white balance because of its impeccable accuracy.
Landscape Photography Course (Special Discount Code!)
So there you have it, 5 essentials to making your landscape photography a step above the rest. You can purchase the entire Landscape Photography Course: Camera Basics to Selling Prints course to learn more and use a special discount made for SLR Lounge members that will get you 20% off:
Discount Code: LANDSCAPE20SLR