7 steps to brilliant landscapes


Becoming a landscape photographer requires patience and perseverance.
Like me though, you may have your favourite places to visit and even if you don’t manage to find the masterpiece you were dreaming of, just being out there would have been worth the while. Mastering the techniques you will use is vital if this hobby or profession is to become enjoyable and stress-free. This is the reason for this article and I hope someone out there will find it useful. I picked it up from others and so, please feel free to share it with friends and colleagues. 


Step One

Place your camera on a firm tripod (sounds like a recipe doesn’t it). A tripod is essential, especially if you have learned the secret of early and late light and how bright sunlight results in horrid contrast.

Set up the release for your shutter, if you have one. Shutter releases are very reasonably priced and well worth the investment. I have given you a link to get a general idea and not because of my shares in Amazon 🙂

If you do not have a remote or cable release, set the timer for a delayed shutter release. The button for this is located in different places on different cameras but is usually a symbol of a stop watch. Using a delayed shutter means that you won’t end up with a blurry image because of camera shake.


Step Two

Switch to manual focus (MF) on your lens.
Make sure you have found the ring on the lens that adjusts focus manually.
With Manual Focus, and using this method, you will achieve
tack-sharp results. 

This is my secret as a gift to you.

Switch Vibration Reduction or Stabiliser OFF (if your lens has it). This feature is not needed when your camera is on a tripod and actually becomes counter productive and might even cause camera shake.

Step Three

Switch the Mode Dial to A, (Av for Canon users) (Aperture Priority).

Set your aperture to f/16,0.

If the subject you are photographing has very small lights such as street lamps, (assuming you are photographing in the early morning or early evening,) adjust your aperture to an even smaller opening (say f/22 or f/32). This will mean that the points of light in your image will show up as attractive starbursts.

The shutter speed will adjust automatically. The smaller the aperture you set, the longer the shutter will stay open. The longer the shutter stays open, the softer clouds and water will appear on the image. You may even get trail lights from passing cars if the light is dim enough.

Do not be overly concerned about the shutter if you are just starting out.

Step Four

Set your Sensor’s ISO to 100 or the lowest you can. This will ensure the best quality image and will mean that there is less NOISE on your image, especially the NOISE that comes from low light.


Step Five

Turn on Live View and observe your image on the LCD screen on the back of your camera.
Recompose and adjust the composition, manually focusing it.

The Live View switch is often found close to the video symbol 


When you have done this, press the + button.

The + button may be located in different places in different cameras (see photo below).

The image will enlarge on your LCD screen as you press it. You may have to press this more than once.

Pick an object on your screen that is close to the horizon. You can do this by shifting the rectangle around the screen until you arrive at the selected area.

Manually focus the enlargement.

This method produces wonderful sharpness.


The button to enlarge the image on the LCD screen is often (but not always) in the shape of a magnifying glass 

Normal view of the LCD screen
When in Live View, move the rectangle around until you are able to find a place to enlarge.
Enlarge that area on the screen and then you will be able to fine-focus. 


Enlarged view on the LCD screen.
When you have manually focused on the enlargement, fire the shutter; no need to minimise to the normal size.

Step Six

Spend time looking closely at the image you have just taken.
Don’t listen to the voices that tell you not to “chimp.”
Reshoot it if you are not completely happy, using different positions and angles of view.
It’s a good idea to get some variety.
Good light disappears really quickly and sometimes you have to work quite fast.

Step Seven

If you are shooting early in the morning, you will have about 18 minutes of quality light and about the same in the evening. Remember to reward yourself afterward with a breakfast or just a cup of coffee before you return home, invigorated by the experience and ready to tackle the humdrum of life.

For Cape Town, South Africa only  

If you live in Cape Town and you want to be part of a group going out to find beautiful places, consider doing a course starting in early August 2017.If you prefer to stay at home in the winter,
the coach will come to you to
train you in Adobe Lightroom. If you want a once-off refresher course on your camera settings and
over a cup of coffee, contact the coach here 

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