DSLR Camera Basics for Landscape Photography

Feb 15, 2019

Good landscape photography can transport you to a scene and make you feel like you’re really there. Though creativity and skill are requisite, much of it is knowing which buttons to push on your camera. This blog will give you a bare-bones introduction to the DSLR camera basics for landscape photography, and link to some related blogs we’ve written that go into greater depth. 

What about Aperture?

Aperture Priority Mode allows you to set the aperture manually so you can choose the camera’s depth of field and then the camera decides on the shutter speed. In most landscape images, the  aperture is generally fairly small, from f/11 to f/16, which means there is a large range of depth.

Think of a panoramic picture where there’s lots in the composition. If that’s what you want, that’s what you’ll get with a smaller aperture. 

To see what the depth of field looks like with three different aperture settings, check out this blog on aperture priority mode.

How about ISO?

Your camera’s ISO setting allows you to control the sensitivity of the DSLR sensor to light. The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive your camera is to light. Higher ISO numbers mean your sensor is more sensitive to light. 100 to 200 is good in most circumstances. Also, by using a lower ISO you reduce the amount of digital noise or grain that occurs in the image, especially with lower level and less expensive cameras.  

But remember, conditions where you’re shooting are the ultimate judge of what your ISO should be. As it’s getting a bit chilly out there, here’s a breakdown on how to take better pictures in the snow, a big part of which is getting ISO right. 

What about the Composition?

The composition refers to how elements are arranged in your picture. Because this is a blog covering DSLR camera basics, follow the rule of thirds, which says that the most visually appealing and engaging pictures are those that have the subject in either the left or right third or especially in one of the “power points,” where the lines intersect. But don’t be afraid to experiment with fifths and eighths as well, especially if you want to use negative space to emphasize something.  

What about Filters?

To take great outdoors pictures, the only three filters you’ll need are a warming filter, such as a skylight filter, a polarizing filter and a graduated neutral density filter. Find out what each allows you to do in our blog on the best camera lens filters for landscape photography.

Need to learn more DSLR camera basics? We’ve got plenty of articles in the Steinberg Photography blog, so make sure to click through a few. Thanks for stopping by.

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Improve your craft and have an outdoors adventure with landscape photographers Jim and Lori Steinberg. Photographers of all experience and skill levels welcome! 

Leave us your contact information on our Workshops & Photo Tours page, and we’ll send you more info!