Take your photography to another level

Magarge Dam, Philadelphia

So you are a new photographer who likes to shoot landscape and nature, awesome! Outdoor photography is very challenging and most fun in my opinion. Challenging because your feet get wet when shooting waterfalls or chasing waves when shooting seascapes, you need to wake up early for sunrises and stay late for sunsets. But I only need 1 camera and 1 lens for my photography unlike other forms of photography where you need too much, too expensive stuff just to photograph a model’s face or someone else’s wedding.

I assume you already have a DSLR camera & a lens, here are the other stuff you need to take your outdoor photography to another level:

1) Tripod – buy a sturdy tripod that could support the weight of your camera and lens. It does not need to be the most expensive as long as it’s sturdy. A tripod will eliminate camera shake specially in long exposures and will result to sharper images. You cannot handheld a camera in 5 seconds exposure without losing sharpness, can you?

2) Shutter Release Cable – again this thingy is to minimize camera shake. When you use your finger to release the shutter it will create camera shake. You need to avoid that to have sharper images. And also you need this for exposures requiring the BULB function in your camera.

3) Gradual Neutral Density Filters – this is optional but sometimes you need a grad ND filter to balance exposure between the foreground and the sky. You can only use this in a situation where the horizon is straight like shooting seascapes during a sunset. There are many brands of these but the most popular are Lee Filters.

4) Circular Polarizer – you need this filter when you shoot waterfalls, creeks, streams etc to minimize reflections or glare.

5) Editing Software – anything coming direct from camera unedited are just uninspired photographs to me. Use something to edit your photos to adjust saturation, clarity, sharpness, color, vibrance etc. I use Adobe Lightroom a lot. You can of course use anything that you already have like Photoshop, Aperture, Picasso or iPhoto.

6) Shoot RAW – ever wonder why a blu-ray disc has larger file than a DVD? It’s because a blu-ray has more information in it, the same goes for RAW vs. JPEG. There is so much you can do when editing photos generated from RAW than JPEG. Enough is said.

There you have it.



Technical photo stuff: DSLR camera, 17mm, f/16, ISO 100, 3 seconds, circular polarizer, used a tripod and shutter release cable. Edited in Adobe Lightroom 4.


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