STE P BY STE P / Composition tips for landscapes
1 Envisage the scene
We walked along the shoreline to find a composition that showed the lake, but also included interesting foreground elements. These craggy trees created a frame within our frame, a compositional technique that can be used to put emphasis on the centre of the frame.
2 Extend tripod legs
Set up your tripod. How much you extend the legs will depend on how high you want your viewpoint, but however high you need it, extend the thickest part of the legs first. Extending only the thinner sections will make it unstable, increasing the risk of camera shake.
3 Look for leading lines
This tree branch was perched perfectly creeping out over the water, and pointed out towards the mountains. A leading line that guides the eye into the frame is a helpful inclusion, anything that leads the eye out isn’t ideal because it guides the viewer away from the photo.
4 Focus manually
We turned on Live View and used the zoom to take a closer look. Looking into the distance on the screen we switched the camera into Manual focusing mode and turned the lens’s focus ring. It took a bit of rocking back and forth on the focus ring until the image was sharp.
5 Narrow the aperture
We set a narrow aperture for maximum depth of field. This increases the range of focus and, if focused correctly, the foreground and background will be sharper. However, going above an aperture of f/16 will introduce diffraction and start making the image softer.
6 Shutter and ISO
At ISO100 and in Matrix metering mode, take a look at the light meter and adjust your shutter speed until you reach 0. This will give a good average exposure of the entire scene. Take a test shot and make the shutter speed faster if it looks a little bright, or vice versa.