Tips and tricks for capturing sharp landscape photos, including choosing the right aperture and focus
posted Monday, October 8, 2018 at 8:15 AM EST
When trying to capture an expansive scene in a single frame, such as a landscape image with a foreground element, it can be difficult to determine where you should focus in the frame for the best results. Even when you stop down a lens, you cannot get everything in perfect focus. However, you can the important parts of the image reasonably sharp, which is the ultimate goal. There are other ways to ensure sharper landscape images, however, as we will see in the video below.
Below, photographer and Nikon Ambassador Ross Hoddinott with NatureTTL shows us how to take sharper landscape photographs. The first step is to use a tripod. It’s difficult to overstate how important a tripod is for consistently capturing sharp images. As Hoddinott points out, the most important aspect of a tripod is not its brand, but rather its stability, so don’t worry about breaking the bank for the fanciest tripod. When you are working on a tripod, make sure that your image stabilization is turned off. When your camera is already stable, as it will be on a tripod, additional stabilization can actually have the effect of decreasing sharpness, as the lens and/or camera works to negate an issue that isn’t there.
Next, we need to consider aperture. A quick refresher, the smaller the aperture of your lens, the larger the number. For example, f/11 is a smaller aperture than f/2.8. With a smaller aperture, you get more depth of field. In landscape photography, you typically want everything from the foreground to the background to be reasonably sharp. What’s the perfect aperture? There really is no universally perfect choice because different cameras and lens combinations work best at different apertures, but what is always true is that if you stop a lens down near or to its smallest aperture, you will introduce diffraction, which makes your entire image look softer. For more tips for capturing sharper landscape images, including choosing where to focus, watch the full video below. For more educational content like this, head over to NatureTTL.