14 Things Every Landscape Photographer Needs in Their Life
April 29, 2015
1. A good photographer’s jacket
Landscape photography naturally necessitates a lot of time spent outdoors, and one of the best investments you can make is a high-quality jacket.
Make sure you get something waterproof but not too heavy – you’re likely going to be walking around a lot and you can always supplement it with extra layers if it gets really cold. Packaway raincots can also be a good idea on warm and wet days.
A lightweight but sturdy tripod is an essential part of the landscape photographer’s toolkit, and is absolutely vital for getting your shots as sharp as possible. If you prefer to travel light, look into carbon fibre models.
If you’re looking to get hold of something that won’t break the bank, take a look at our round-up of the best travel tripods for less than £100.
3. Map or mapping system
Know where you’re going. Trust us. Getting lost in the Brecon Beacons is even less glamorous than it sounds, and that goes double for people with several kilos of camera gear strapped to their back.
We’d recommend the Photographer’s Ephemeris app, which syncs with Google Maps to provide useful information specifically for landscape photographers and helps you keep your bearings. If you’re planning a seriously intrepid expedition though, it’d be worth picking up a paper map as well. You don’t want to be entirely dependent on the battery in your phone.
4. A quality wide-angle lens
When someone says the word ‘landscapes’ you’ll likely think of big sweeping vistas, dramatic shots of landmarks amid their surroundings, gorgeous sunsets over dappled fields, and all that sort of stuff. For that, you’ll be needing a wide angle lens. Here are a few wide-angle primes and zooms that have impressed us recently:
5. A good pair of walking boots
Durable footwear is a must if you’re going to be slogging through muddy fields or fording rivers and so forth. This is where it pays to invest up front and get a pair that will last – in the long run you’ll probably save money. Some wellies wouldn’t be a bad idea as well, just in case.
6. A long lens
Shooting with a long telephoto lens can be a great way of isolating details for clean compositions in your landscape shots, and it’s definitely worth bringing one along. As you’ll be shooting static subjects it doesn’t need to be a particularly fast lens either, so you don’t need to worry about spending too much. With this in mind, why not think about trying out the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 VC USD.
7. A beanbag
To get your colours to really pop, make sure you’ve got a polariser. These filters cut out polarising light such as surface reflections and glare, thereby cutting through haze and restoring natural colour saturation to your images.
9. ND and ND grad filters
Finding a way to control the light in your landscapes is a must, and to that end a selection of ND filters is an essential buy. ND filters attach to the front of your lens and reduce the amount of light getting into your camera, allowing for longer exposures that don’t blow out highlights even in strong sunlight. ND filters come in different strengths, ranging from one stop of exposure to around ten stops. A selection or three in different strengths should see you well-covered
ND grad filters apply this effect to only half the image, allowing you to temper a strong sky only, for a balanced overall image. For our recommendations on ND grad filters see our round-up of the best on the market, and if you need a filter with real stopping power we’ve compiled the best 9- and 10-stop filters around.
10. A quality photographer’s backpack
Carrying photographic kit for long periods of time is an excellent way to put your back out, even if you’re as young and attractive as the staff at AP. Making sure you’ve got a good sturdy backpack is vital and can save you from really damaging yourself. We round up the best backpacks for photographers here.
11. Cable/remote release
Another tool for getting your shots as sharp as possible, a cable or remote release will remove the possibility of causing slight image blur by the action of depressing the shutter release button. Perfect for tripod-mounted long exposures. Our favourite cable release systems.
12. A drinks flask
It’s important to stay hydrated when out on a shoot, and a Thermos filled with your hot or cold beverage of choice is a key companion that many photographers neglect. We wouldn’t recommend bringing the other kind of drinks flask, unless you’re celebrating good news like one of your images getting on the cover of AP. If this is the case then go for it.
13. A camera cover
Rain happens. Some DSLRs and lenses are weather-sealed, some are not. Either way, a rain cover is a lightweight and inexpensive item that you would be foolish not to pack. You can pick up an Op/Tech rain-sleeve for as little as £5.99.
Keeping your hands warm is a must, but it’s worth shopping around for gloves that will also let you operate a camera and even a touchscreen. Plenty of these gloves do exist – here’s a pair that impressed us recently, and here are a few more that we really like.