Tips on How to Shoot Landscape Scenes with a Canon EOS 70D - dummies

Tips on How to Shoot Landscape Scenes with a Canon EOS 70D

By Julie Adair King

Providing specific settings on the Canon EOS 70D for landscape photography is tricky because there’s no single best approach to capturing a beautiful stretch of countryside, a city skyline, or another vast subject. But, here are a few tips to help you photograph a landscape the way you see it:

  • Shoot in aperture-priority autoexposure mode (Av) so that you can control depth of field. If you want extreme depth of field so that both near and distant objects are sharply focused, as shown in the following figure, select a high f-stop value. An aperture of f/22 worked for this shot.


  • If the exposure requires a slow shutter, use a tripod to avoid blurring. The downside to a high f-stop is that you need a slower shutter speed to produce a good exposure. If the shutter speed is slower than you can comfortably handhold, use a tripod to avoid picture-blurring camera shake.

    You can always increase the ISO setting to increase light sensitivity, which in turn allows a faster shutter speed, too, but that option brings with it the chance of increased image noise.

  • For dramatic waterfall and fountain shots, consider using a slow shutter to create that “misty” look. The slow shutter blurs the water, giving it a soft, romantic appearance, as shown in the following figure. Shutter speed for this shot was 1/15 second. Again, use a tripod to ensure that camera shake doesn’t blur the rest of the scene.


    In bright light, a slow shutter speed may overexpose the image even if you stop the aperture all the way down and select the camera’s lowest ISO setting. As a solution, invest in a neutral-density filter for your lens. This filter works something like sunglasses for your camera: It reduces the amount of light that passes through the lens so that you can use a slower shutter than would otherwise be possible.

  • At sunrise or sunset, base exposure on the sky. The foreground will be dark, but you can usually brighten it in a photo editor, if needed. If you base exposure on the foreground, on the other hand, the sky will become so bright that all the color will be washed out — a problem you usually can’t easily fix after the fact.

    You can also invest in a graduated neutral-density filter, which is a filter that’s clear on one side and dark on the other. You orient the filter so that the dark half falls over the sky and the clear side over the dimly lit portion of the scene. This setup enables you to better expose the foreground without blowing out the sky colors.

    Enabling Highlight Tone Priority or the HDR Mode feature can also improve your results, so take some test shots using those options, too.

  • For cool nighttime city pics, experiment with a slow shutter. Assuming that cars or other vehicles are moving through the scene, the result is neon trails of light, like those you see in the figure below. Shutter speed for this image was 10 seconds. The longer your shutter speed, the blurrier the motion trails.


    Because long exposures can produce image noise, you also may want to enable the Long Exposure Noise Reduction feature.

  • For the best lighting, shoot during the “magic hours.” That’s the term photographers use for early morning and late afternoon, when the light cast by the sun is soft and warm, giving everything that beautiful, gently warmed look.

  • In tricky light, bracket shots. Bracketing simply means to take the same picture at several different exposures to increase the odds that at least one captures the scene the way you envision. Bracketing is especially a good idea in difficult lighting situations such as sunrise and sunset.

    Your camera offers automatic exposure bracketing (AEB) when you shoot in the advanced exposure modes.

    Also experiment with the Auto Lighting Optimizer and Highlight Tone Priority options; capture some images with the features enabled and then take the same shots with the features turned off. Remember, though, that you can’t use both features concurrently; turning on Highlight Tone Priority disables Auto Lighting Optimizer. For high-contrast scenes, also try the HDR Mode feature, which records three images at different exposures and then blends them into a single shot that contains a higher range of darks to lights than can be recorded in a single exposure.