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How to take better landscape photographs

Beginners guide on the settings used to take better landscape photographs. Learn to master the manual settings on your camera.

Take better photographs by using manual settings

Using manual settings is going to give you the ability to consistently get better photographs – but it comes with a bit of a learning curve.

Don’t get me wrong, the automatic modes can be great. But at the same time, you don’t really learn anything so when you don eventually want to make small tweaks it’s difficult to put your finger on what to change.

There are 3 main things that you control;


This controls how sensitive the camera is to light.

The higher this number is, the grainier your image is going to be. I would recommend setting this as low as possible – probably ISO 100.


This controls the depth of field in your photograph.

I personally like landscape photographs to be in focus from front to back. Some people like shallow depth of field where the subject is in focus and the rest of the image is blurry.

If you want everything to be in focus I would recond choosing between F8 – F16

If you want a shallow depth of field, use the smallest numbered aperture you have available e.g. F1.8

Shutter Speed

This controls how long the camera sensor is exposed to the light.

This is the setting that I change the most to balance the lighting in the scene. I’ll put the camera on a tripod, dial in the above settings and choose a shutter speed that creates the correct exposure.

Raw vs Jpeg

You want to shoot the photograph in the largest format available to you to get the best image quality.

Raw gives you more options when it comes to editing as it is an unprocessed file straight out of the camera.

Jpeg is processed in the camera and is ready to use straight away.

It depends on what route you would like to go down. If you do decide to shoot raw you will need editing software. I use Adobe Lightroom

White balance

White balance changes how the camera reads the lighting conditions. If you’re photographing in Jpeg format it’s important to get this right in-camera as you have less ability to change it afterwards.

Fortunately, automatic white balance tends to do a pretty good job so I would recommend leaving the setting on auto.

These are the basics to help get you started. Once you have these settings under control you will soon be able to fine-tune your photographs and fix any issues that you’ve had.

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