5 things you need as a landscape photographer

In this post I am going to discuss 5 things that you need as a landscape photographer.

Now, obviously you need a camera. And maybe a lens or two. They go without saying (I hope) and therefore do not form part of my list. So apart from the camera and lens, here are my 5 must haves for any landscape photographer.

1 - A tripod. Yes the humble tripod. Not that exciting to most people. But to me, after my cameras, this is probably the one item that I have agonised over more than anything else. My current tripod of choice is the Three Legged Thing - Albert. A great name for a great tripod. Yes it was pricey and it is quite heavy, but it is rock solid. Like really solid. It does not move once it is set up and that is vitally important. It allows me to capture multiple exposures and long exposures and be 100% confident with the results. So if you are getting serious about landscape photography, get yourself a good tripod. The other thing a tripod will force you to do is slow down. No more spray and pray. Just carefully thought out, well composed images.. The more you use a tripod, the less photos you will actually take - I guarantee you.

Albert Tripod

2 - An air puffer. Landscape photography subjects your camera to all sorts of harsh environments and you will soon notice dust getting on your mirror and sensor etc. So get yourself a little air puffer like the Giotto Rocket Blower. This things lives in my camera bag. It is used most times I shoot - whether that is landscape or commercial.

Giotto Rocket Blower

3 - A good lens cloth. The good part is really important. You get good ones, and rubbish ones. I’ve had lots of rubbish ones that smear the lens or filter and made me wish I didn’t bother trying to clear it in the first place. I recommend the Lee Filter Cloth. It is thick and works for minor smears right up to getting heavy rain off your lens without leaving a smudge. What a beauty.

4 - A mobile phone. Not for checking Facebook. Not even for your Instagram stories. But for two reasons. Safety. And practicality. Firstly - safety. More often than not, you will be off the beaten track so being able to contact someone in the event of an emergency is a real comfort. Secondly, practicality. I have a number of apps on my phone that help with landscape photography - from weather apps through to planning apps (like Photopills or TPE) that tell me when are where sunset is on any given day.

5 - ND Filters. Not the graduated types. For me the grad ND filters are a bit of a waste of time as I use exposure blending in post production (More on this another time). I carry two ND filters with me all the time (for photography. For film making I have a few others - maybe more on that another time too!) The two ND filters are a 3 stop and a 10 stop. I find that between the two I don’t need any more. I use the LEE 100mm filter system holder. These give me the option to slow down water at any time of day (see below - taken in full sunlight). But be warned - just get good ones. Lee or similar. Cheap ones give a nasty colour cast to your images that can be tricky to fix.

Using a ND filter in full sunlight

Using a ND filter in full sunlight

To learn how to use an ND filter (or even just to try some out) why not head over to my workshops page and book yourself on to a 1 day workshop.

Thank you as always for reading

Matt

Matt Ward