Home Photography The Best Landscape Photography Settings: A Guide

The Best Landscape Photography Settings: A Guide

by kyngsam

On this article, you’ll uncover the perfect panorama pictures settings to take your images to the following degree.

Landscape photography is without doubt one of the hottest photographic genres, and it’s why many people decide up a digicam within the first place. Nevertheless, figuring out the right settings for excellent outcomes generally is a wrestle, which is the place this text turns out to be useful.

Under, I share loads of settings recommendation. I clarify find out how to choose the right digicam mode, shutter pace, aperture, and white steadiness, plus lots extra – so for those who’re prepared to enhance your panorama pictures, then learn on.

The perfect digicam mode for panorama pictures

Your digicam has a number of modes, starting from Automated by way of to Guide. These are the frequent modes obtainable to you:

  • Automated: With Auto mode, your digicam chooses the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. All it’s essential do is compose and take the photograph.
  • Panorama: That is additionally a kind of computerized mode, however is a step up from the usual Auto mode talked about above. In Panorama mode, your digicam is aware of you’re photographing a panorama, so it should select a extra customary “panorama” aperture.
  • Aperture Precedence: Aperture Priority mode means that you can set your aperture and (if you want) the ISO, whereas your digicam selects the shutter pace. You possibly can regulate the publicity worth – to darken or lighten the photograph – together with your digicam’s Exposure Compensation function.
  • Shutter precedence: Shutter Precedence mode allows you to select a particular shutter pace whereas your digicam picks the aperture. This may be helpful for lengthy publicity panorama photos.
  • Guide: Manual mode allows you to management all of your settings – the aperture, shutter pace, and ISO – to get the proper publicity. This may take longer, however in panorama pictures, you have got the time.

As a newbie, you perhaps tempted to make use of the digicam’s computerized options, however I extremely suggest you study your digicam setting and use Guide. Your outcomes will just about at all times be higher!

river and blue sky
Canon 5D Mark III | Canon 17-40mm f/4L | f/8 | 1/400s | ISO 100

The perfect aperture, shutter pace, and ISO for panorama pictures

The three key settings for any photographer, regardless of the kind of photograph, are aperture, shutter pace and ISO. Collectively, these settings decide the ultimate publicity of your picture, which is why they’re also known as the publicity triangle.

In panorama pictures, you’ll need to regulate these settings very fastidiously. Let’s take a better look, beginning with:


Aperture is arguably an important setting in panorama pictures. It controls sharpness, depth of field, and at smaller apertures can create a starburst impact.

  • Sharpness: Panorama images are greatest once they’re each targeted and sharp. Utilizing the incorrect aperture in your panorama may end up in a softer picture. You’ll need to choose an ultra-sharp aperture someplace between f/Eight and f/11, however the specifics rely upon the lens you have got. Typically, your lens’s sharpest aperture is three stops down from its widest aperture, so be at liberty to make use of this as a suggestion (although you may at all times do a number of assessments!).
  • Depth of discipline: When you have got foreground components near the digicam, depth of discipline is particularly essential. You’ll want a deeper depth of discipline to keep up sharpness throughout the body, which is achieved in one among two methods: with a slim aperture (round f/Eight and past), or with focus stacking, the place a number of images are taken then merged in post-processing to provide focus all through the photograph.
  • Starburst impact: A small aperture can produce a lovely starburst impact if you shoot towards factors of sunshine like road lights or {a partially} lined solar.
beautiful sunrise landscape photography
Canon 5D Mark III | Canon 17-40mm f/4L | f/8 | 1/100s | ISO 500

Shutter pace

One other essential panorama pictures setting is the shutter pace. In truth, it might dramatically change the kind of panorama photograph you seize. Based mostly in your shutter pace, you may create a crisp photograph (quick shutter pace) or a softer, lengthy publicity (sluggish shutter pace). Word that any shutter pace over half a second is taken into account long exposure, and also you’ll want a tripod for the perfect outcomes.

The lengthy publicity impact

Lengthy publicity has a transformative impact on images when utilized in the proper place and on the proper time. You possibly can simply perform lengthy exposures at night time, due to the shortage of sunshine; through the day, you’ll want a strong neutral density filter to realize an extended shutter pace with out overexposing the picture. You may select to make use of an extended shutter pace in any of the next eventualities:

  • Coastlines: Use at the least ten second exposures to flatten the water.
  • Shifting water: Use exposures of 1 second or increased round white water for the “silk impact”
  • Site visitors gentle trails: Use exposures lengthy sufficient to seize automotive gentle trails alongside the size of the highway you’re photographing. Purpose to maintain the shutter pace over 15 seconds or so.
  • Windy days: You possibly can seize cloud motion throughout the sky with exposures of 30 seconds or longer.
  • Intentional camera movement: Attempt shifting your digicam physique or adjusting the focal size throughout an extended publicity. These sort of images can final wherever between 5 to thirty seconds in size.
black and white landscape
Canon 5D Mark III | Canon 17-40mm f/4L | f/8 | 20s | ISO 1000 | Hoya infrared filter


Your ISO setting will brighten your photograph, however the increased the ISO, the more severe the picture high quality.

As a panorama photographer, it’s best to shoot with a tripod for the perfect outcomes, so in most circumstances you’ll be capable to use an ISO of 100 (or your digicam’s base ISO setting).

That mentioned, there are occasions – particularly at night time – if you may need to use the next ISO. For instance, for those who’re utilizing an aperture of f/11 and also you’re not getting sufficient gentle for an accurate publicity even at 30 seconds, it’s possible you’ll need to enhance your ISO to get an affordable shutter pace.

Additionally, for those who do astrophotography, you’ll positively want a excessive ISO, assuming you need to freeze the celebs (that are at all times shifting throughout the sky, or at the least look like!). Contemplate taking pictures at ISO 12600 or much more, in case your digicam can deal with it. In truth, customary Milky Means settings are an aperture of f/2.8, an publicity of 25 or 30 seconds, plus an ISO as excessive as you may moderately go.

colorful orange and red trees in a landscape scene
Canon 5D Mark III | Canon 17-40mm f/4L | f/16 | 1/200s | ISO 640

The perfect focusing settings for panorama pictures

Relating to panorama pictures, you have got two selections for the right focusing mode:

Autofocus or handbook focus.

In my view, the perfect outcomes come from handbook focus, although it’s considerably depending on the gear and the state of affairs. Let’s take a better have a look at these two choices:


With autofocus, your digicam the place mechanically focus, although you do get the choice to specify the place you need your digicam to focus.

So set your digicam to its single-point focus mode (the place it makes use of a single AF level to find out the right focus). Then compose your shot, choose an object within the center floor, and place your single focus level over that object.

Press your shutter midway to realize focus, then take the shot.

river rushing water
Canon 5D Mark III | Canon 17-40mm f/4L | f/11 | 13s | ISO 250 | ND1000 filter

Guide focus

Manual focus will usually given you sharper photos, although it’s a little bit trickier. You’ll want a tripod, or at the least a gradual location the place the digicam stays nonetheless. Right here’s what you do:

  1. Place your digicam on a tripod and compose your shot.
  2. In case your lens has picture stabilization, you’ll want to change it off.
  3. Set your lens to handbook focus; that method, you’ll be focusing the lens together with your lens focus ring.
  4. Flip in your digicam’s Reside View perform. For those who’re utilizing a DSLR, the mirror will lock up.
  5. Use your Reside View’s zoom perform to zoom in on an space of your composition. Word: Don’t zoom together with your lens, solely with the Reside View zoom.
  6. Upon getting zoomed in, use the lens focus ring and focus sharply in your desired object.
  7. Zoom again out, examine your composition, and take your photograph.
wheat with a city in the background
Canon 5D Mark III | Canon 17-40mm f/4L | f/8 | 1/125s | ISO 100

The perfect white steadiness for panorama pictures

White balance is a crucial setting for any photographic scenario, and panorama pictures is not any completely different. You might have a number of selections, together with a handbook and an computerized choice. However relying in your picture file format, you may make additional changes in publish processing.

Why does white steadiness want adjusting?

When photographing through the day, you’ll doubtless get good outcomes from the automated settings in your digicam. Nevertheless, photographing at night time with chilly or heat road lights may cause the automated choice to fail, by which case it’s possible you’ll desire to make use of a semi-automatic or handbook white steadiness choice.

Automated white steadiness

The Auto White Stability setting, or AWB for brief, tells your digicam to make the white steadiness selections for you. It’s definitely usable through the day, and at this time’s cameras will give good AWB outcomes.

White steadiness presets

Your digicam will even have quite a lot of preset white balances. These embody settings like Tungsten and Fluorescent, which counteract he heat or chilly gentle produced by the corresponding gentle sources. White steadiness presets are helpful for nighttime cityscape pictures, if you need to cool your picture and take away the orange glow a metropolis produces.

Guide white steadiness

The white steadiness could be quantified utilizing Kelvin, a measure of temperature. Cameras typically provide a white steadiness Kelvin scale starting from round 2500Ok to 15000Ok, the place the decrease the Kelvin quantity in your digicam, the cooler the ensuing picture, and vice versa.

To set the white steadiness in your digicam, you need to use the digicam’s customized white steadiness setting. Purpose your digicam at a grey or white card, then take a photograph. Then use this photograph to set your digicam’s customized white steadiness. Alternatively, use the digicam’s Kelvin adjustment buttons to decide on the proper setting.

File sort

There are two predominant file sorts to select from when taking images (TIFF is one other common choice however is extra related to publish processing). These are RAW and JPEG:


This file sort is designed to be a completed product. For those who’re not thinking about a whole lot of modifying work, a JPEG may go well with you. The scale of file can also be rather a lot smaller than its RAW counterpart, which could be useful in sure conditions.

When capturing JPEGs, it’s greatest to get the picture proper in digicam, as a result of you have got a lot much less flexibility in post-processing. For those who’re pleased to work this fashion, then JPEGs are a very good path.


The overwhelming majority of panorama photographers {photograph} in RAW, additionally known as the digital unfavourable. RAW file sizes are bigger, however the potential to boost your picture in publish processing is so a lot higher.

Adjusting settings after the actual fact, like temperature, sharpness, and publicity ranges, give significantly better outcomes when the file was shot in RAW. You’ll additionally discover that adjusting (and recovering) shadows and highlights can be improved.

city at night
Canon 5D Mark III | Canon 50mm f/1.2L | f/8 | 10s | ISO 100

Further panorama pictures settings to know

There are a handful of different panorama pictures settings that may enhance your outcomes, together with:

Mirror lock-up

Mirror lock-up solely applies to cameras with mirrors (e.g., DSLRs). It will probably enhance the sharpness of your photograph for those who’re utilizing sluggish shutter speeds, as a result of it prevents the digicam mirror from inflicting vibrations if you hit the shutter button.

Picture stabilization

For those who’re taking a photograph handheld and your lens or digicam has picture stabilization, it’s a good suggestion to show it on. Stabilization expertise counteracts digicam shake, and can due to this fact mean you can {photograph} at a slower shutter pace.

Nevertheless, when your digicam is on a tripod and also you’re taking pictures at sluggish shutter speeds, ensure to show off all picture stabilization expertise; in such instances, the picture stabilizer will really trigger picture blur.


For those who want to do any HDR or digital mixing in post-processing, then bracketing is a crucial setting to get proper. When your digicam is ready up for bracketing, it should take three images of the identical scene (it’s best to use a tripod for this) with completely different publicity values, sometimes +1, zero and -1. Although you may differ the publicity values, the concept is to create a darkish, regular, and light-weight picture, which you’ll be able to later mix collectively for improved dynamic vary.

long exposure beach rocks
Canon 5D Mark III | Canon 17-40mm f/4L | f/8 | 1/3s | ISO 400

Panorama pictures settings: remaining phrases

Panorama pictures is an thrilling style, and it’s nice to get out and seize these epic scenes! Now that you simply’ve completed this text, you need to be a panorama settings professional – so get out to some nice locations close to you and apply your new data.

Over to you:

What settings have you ever been utilizing in your panorama images? How will your workflow change in response to this text? Share your ideas within the feedback under!

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