10 Must Haves for Landscape Photography›April 24, 2018 ›Brett ›Must Haves, Tips, Landscape, Camera Gear, Photography
My Landscape Photography Must HavesI am not a pro photographer, not even close. But I have been taking landscape photos for over a decade now. Over the years I have tried many products and a lot of different brands. I thought I would share the top 10 landscape photography must haves (IMO). Related: Add Mood to Your Landscape Photos
Related:Calculating Timelapse Intervals
What You Don't NeedI am going to start with a couple of common items that people think you need, but I don't really feel is important. Yes, they might be great, but they certainly didn't make it to my top ten essentials for landscape photography.
Wide Angle Lens: A wide angle lens can produce great landscape shots, and I do use one. But, its not necessary. One of my fav photographers Thomas Heaton made a great video on using long lenses for landscape. So my tip is just use any lens you like!
DSLR Camera: I use a DSLR, but it's not necessary for landscape photography. Use any camera you like. The more weatherproof the better. But, don't feel you need to go out and buy a DSLR.
What You Do Need
1. Tripod & Tripod HeadA good sturdy tripod and tripod head is a must. Most photographers will start out buying a cheap lightweight tripod, because of price, and not really knowing anything (Like I did). But, if you are interested in landscape photography, I can guarantee you, you will buy a sturdy tripod and head.
You need a sturdy tripod so that your camera does not move. A small breeze can move your camera on a lightweight tripod during your shot, and all of your pictures will be blurry. Get a heavy duty tripod to avoid movement.
For the same reason, you need a good tripod head. In addition to stopping movement, you want a tripod head that can turn on its horizontal axis. This will allow you to take a series of photos and stitch them together in a panoramic shot.
2. Google EarthGoogle earth is a great location discovery tool. Just zoom in and take a look around areas that you may want to explore. It works especially well for beaches and rock locations. It is also great for seeing how you can access some places. If you couple this with a sunrise and sunset app, you will have a pretty good idea of what to expect of places before you get there.
3. Shutter Release/RemoteCritical. You can get these for as little as $20, and they are very important. A shutter release or a remote, allows you to take a photo without touching the camera. You do not want to touch the camera because it creates camera movement, and makes your photos blurry. Cheap, and a must have for landscape photography.
4. Backpack CaseGet a comfortable backpack case if you plan on doing landscape photography. You can end up carrying your gear for great distances. You don’t need to fit all the gear you own, just the necessary stuff. Weather proof is a plus, and you should get weatherproof if you plan on the extremes, or camping or trekking.
5. Circular Polarizer FilterGrad filters are nice to have, but in most conditions, you can reproduce filter effects in Lightroom. However, you can NOT reproduce the effects of the polariser filter in any editing software. This filter works the same as polarised sunglasses, it removes horizontal glare. That makes your colours deeper, and removes a lot of glare from shiny surfaces like water and wet sand.
6. Cleaning EquipmentAn air blower, and cleaning cloths should be in all camera bags, but especially in a landscape photographers bag. They don't take up too much room, and come in very handy for cleaning lenses and filters, and ensuring your photos are crystal clear and spot free. Landscape photography is one of the dustiest kind of photography. For this reason, cleaning equipment makes it to my top 10.
7. Patience/TimeThis is not something you can buy, but it is a must have for sure. Most awesome landscape photos are awesome because they are unique and different. And, most of the time, to be unique and different you need an element in your photo that is't always there. Maybe it's an unusually foggy morning, or an unusual cloud pattern, or an extreme weather event. And these elements take time.
You might scout an area a couple of times without taking a shot. You might be setup before sunrise, waiting until the sun breaks through the clouds. All of these things take time and patience. If this would frustrate you, maybe landscape photography isn't you thing. Use this time to relax, take it all in, and get closer to nature. And don't try and force a photo from a location, sometimes, you just cant capture it, and that's ok.
8. Extra Battery & SD CardsI have been there, and only recently too. It can be frustrating, especially if you see something awesome, and can't take the shot. So be prepared. Buy an extra battery, and a few SD memory cards. Just in case. Just remember to check its charge, and even rotate the batteries so they all stay charged.
9. TransportSome people are lucky enough to live near a great photo location. But even they will get bored eventually. You need to travel, not around the world, it could just be near your town or city.
You can drive, catch a train, go on a bus tour, do whatever you like. Just get out there.
10. Lightroom/Photo EditorMost cameras take nice photos. But, if you really want to take your landscape photos to the next level, you need a photo editor. I use Lightroom, and it just allows me to un flatten the image which was flattened by the camera so it can gather as much info as it can. Lightroom is very easy to use, and you will be surprised how simple it is to use.
Just My Top 10This is just my top ten. You will find others will be different. This list is just what I have discovered over the last 10 years. Given the rate of technology improvements, I am sure it will change into the future. But for now, this is my 10 must haves for landscape photography. Have fun.
My Latest Landscape PhotoHere is my most recent landscape photo.Pallarenda Beach near Townsville, Queensland, Australia.
Products in this Post
LEE Landscape Circular Polariser Filter The must have filter for landscape photography.
Manfrotto XPRO Magnesium Ball Head with Top Lock plate This tripod head is solid, easy to manoeuvre, and can turn on its base for panoramic shots.
Manfrotto 190XPROB This is a heavy duty tripod by Manfrotto, a must for timelapse.