Why Landscape Photography Is Perfect For Beginners

When you get your new camera, chances are you’ll want something to photograph, and there are only so many times you can photograph the cat, family members and your back garden before they get annoyed or you get bored. The next best thing to do is go out with your camera and take photographs of the surrounding landscapes! They’re not scary places, there’s rarely any people and you can concentrate on what your doing.

The great thing about landscape photography compared to other types of photography is that with little skill, you can create amazing photos. This is due to the fact that nature can be so beautiful and you have so many options. You see a mountain, the sea, cliffs, horses in a field, an empty farm house, and you can literally photograph anywhere near them and you’ll have a result. Even the newest of photographers will usually have some understanding of composition, and I dare to argue that when you’re new, you are far more experimental with your compositions, because you’re learning your craft.

As time goes on, you’ll understand that weather conditions, time of day and the type of light that is available can enhance your photographs, and there’s little to adapt other than learning to work with the things you’ve learned. You’ll experiment with light and shadows much more, and you’ll build on what you know. It’s a perfect learning ground, where the only things that change are the light and weather conditions. You can fine tune your craft with the certainty that you’ll always be in your safe place, with little risk to others, and the knowledge that you’ll get some amazing images.

Landscape photography also lends heavily on allowing you to continuously work and improve on your editing skills. Unlike other forms of photography where colours can hugely vary, you know what colour the skies, water and landscapes are. You’re already programmed with that knowledge, so when you’re at the computer editing, you know straight away if you are on the right track with the edit you are making.

A lot of photographers will almost exclusively do landscape photography, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Firstly it gets you outdoors, and secondly, of all the other forms of photography its the easiest to sell and the easiest to please other people with. As mentioned, it’s also a great place to learn your craft, as there’s so much opportunity to play with your camera and the settings that go into capturing an image.

If you’re just starting out with photography, get outside, and photograph to your heart’s content. With digital photography there’s no cost, and nobody ever got better by doing less photography. If you’ve got a printer, use it on a regular basis, print out your favourite images and just look at them. Give them to friends and family to look at, and take in any feedback. There’s a myth that you should only do photography for yourself, but if you think your work is great and others don’t, it can be really detrimental to you progressing in photography. Of course you should be able to please other people with your images, it will boost your moral and give you confidence to get better.

Once you’ve taken the time with landscape photography, try other genres such as street photography, portraits, architecture or any other kind of photography. Yes, they are so much more challenging, but you’ll reap the rewards for your efforts.

Conclusion

Starting with photography can be a minefield. You’ll read books, watch videos and listen to others. Even if you don’t plan on doing landscape photography, give it a try. Your subject won’t be moving, you’ll have beautiful photos, and you can concentrate. Landscape photography can really be the place to start your career, and it’s one you can dip your toes into time after time in the knowledge you are learning new techniques and enjoying the peace and quiet that comes with it.

Photographing The Moon (Easy Guide!)

I keep seeing people struggling to take photographs of the moon, and long articles going into the setup and execution of successful moon photography, but they’re always over complicated and make it sound like it’s hard work.

Photographing the moon is the easiest thing to do if you understand you’re basically shooting straight into a bright light source on a par with photographing in the daytime.

If you don’t usually use a tripod with the lens you’re going to use for the moon, you won’t need one for shooting the moon. It needs to a focal length of 200mm (300m full frame) minimum to get really great results (you will need to crop your image after), but just experiment with whatever you want.

The simple steps:
1. Set your camera to manual mode
2. Set your aperture to around F/5.6-F/11 (but experiment as all lenses are different).
3. Set your ISO to base level or just above.
4. Set your shutter speed to the minimum length of your lens to stop shake (regardless of if it has image stabilisation or what crop factor it is). I will often a make that speed a bit more. So with a 300mm lens 1/300 minimum, 200mm 1/200 minimum etc.
5. Set your shooting mode to Continuous (low should be fine, around 3-5 shots per shutter press)
6. Take photographs! (If you’re shooting with a mirrorless camera, you’ll see your exposure in camera before you take the photos and can adjust as needed)
7. Look at your screen, sometimes it’s best to just slightly under expose. If you’re over exposed change your aperture of shutter speed to condensate.
8. Get the photos off your camera and crop the image. You may need to add a little structure or sharpening.

Some people get concerned over the focusing. I’ve never had an issue with any lens focusing on the moon, but if you prefer you can use manual focus. Also some people faff around with metering modes, but it really doesn’t matter what you use, the result will be the same.

Now enough reading, and go and take photos of the moon!!!

— As someone who’s been photographing the moon since starting photography, I’ve used lenses ranging from a standard 18-55mm to 1500mm and taken too many images to count. Each time I’ve used the same method and it’s never failed. The main thing to remember is atmospheric conditions on the night can play a huge part in the clarity of the final image.

Photoscape X Pro – The Editing Software You (Probably) Didn’t Know You Need

There are swathes of editing packages to edit your photographs, some of them really simple to use like Luminar 4 and Lightroom and some of them more complicated like ON1 Photo Raw and Photoshop. But there’s one piece of software that I constantly go back for for various reasons, and this affordable piece of software is a great addition for the times you need something that is just that little bit different.

Many years ago when I was discovering software packages, I came across Photoscape X Pro. I was blown away by its simplicity, and used it a lot to do quick edits such as crop and rotate and quick exposure fixes. But because it doesn’t offer non-destructive editing, and it’s raw editing isn’t as good as others, sometimes it’s just left aside while I tackle more advanced programs.

But every time I need a quick edit of a jpeg, de-fisheye a fisheye shot (more on this later) or need to make up a poster or do something creative, I keep coming back to Photoscape X Pro. Now with update version 4.1, the software is even better, and so I thought I’d review the good and the bad points of the software.

Photoscape X Pro: The Good

Being used to editing routinely in Darktable, Photoshop and Gimp lately, it’s really easy to pick up Photoscape X Pro again and discover what it has going for it… And there are many.

The Viewer mode is an excellent mode akin to the Lighttable and cataloguing views of other software, where you can have all your images on screen at once, view them, tank them, choose multiple images for batch editing and so much more. It’s something I must have in my most used packages, and means you can have full control of what you’re editing by comparing directly on-screen after and during each edit.

The Viewer Mode

Editing in Photoscape X Pro gives you all the tools you’ll need, and jpegs are handled amazingly. You’ll have full control like in any other software of your image, and there are masks you can use to target specific areas. There are also dozens of extra things you can do which are all at the touch of a button. There’s full colour control to make monochrome images, full perspective controls, colour filters, effects filters, film simulations, sun flares and endless controls over adding text and extra images to your photo.

The Default Edit Mode (You can close down left and right panels)
The Color module where you can do your main work

Batch edit is simple to use for resizing images, changing the look of images, renaming images, change image formats and so much more. It’s fast, it’s effective, and there’s a lot you can do with it.

One of the many great features is the collage maker. This is really well put together, gives you loads of options and an extremely useful tool. For a lot of people, it’s one of the main reasons they use Photoscape X Pro, and once you’ve used it once, you’ll understand why they use it. The same thought has been put into the combine option, and again gives you a lot of options to combine images in various rows etc.

Borders are carried for well, and there are very many to choose from, in a variety of styles and different implementations. No fussing or faffing, just choose what you want and apply the border, adjust any parameters and you’ll have beautiful borders in no time.

In the area where you can change perspective and do other similar tweaks, you can also add a fisheye effect, but the main bonus of this feature is that if you edit a rectilinear or fisheye photo and use the fisheye setting in negative values, it will perfectly de-fisheye the image. An absolutely amazing feature that is a must for people who use fisheye lenses.

You can also create GIF’s with the GIF module, Print from the print module and much more besides. The software really is remarkable.

Photoscape X Pro: The Not So Good

There’s nothing hugely wrong with Photoscape X Pro, but there are a few things which other programs can do better.

Raw images don’t have as much latitude when you edit them in the editor as they do in other raw editors. You won’t be able to recover the highlights or shadows as much as you can in something like Capture One for example. That’s not too say it’s bad, and it’s more than adequate for most edits.

The masking has great feathering and control, but lacks the intelligence of some programs, so you’ll need a steady hand for precise work should you need to be incredibly accurate.

It’s destructive software, so if you’ve made a mistake, you have to undo step by step until you get to the point you made the mistake. It has limited layer support for certain functions, and they are in no way as functional as on major software releases.

That’s really about it as far as negatives go for this software. It’s around £30 to buy in the Windows and Apple stores, and there’s a couple of updates every year, plus it is on sale every now and again.

Conclusion

Think of Photoscape X Pro as a Swiss army knife. It’s an incredibly useful tool with some amazingly powerful tools. For jpeg shooters, or those who don’t want ultra complicated raw editors, it’s a great piece of software. There are far more positives than there are negatives and it’s a perfect introduction into the world of editing photos.

Don’t be fooled into thinking the software is not capable, it’s more than capable and in some ways it’s far easier to dip into Photoscape X Pro than it is too get the same tasks done in other software.

As I’ve said, I’ve left this software a couple of times, but I always go back to it if I struggle to do something on Photoshop or whatever the program I’m using.

I find if I’ve edited a photograph in another program, sometimes it’s great to put the jpeg in Photoscape X Pro and you can perform some extra tweaks, including looking through the great film filters in real time, which can sometimes make a big difference.

It’s not perfect, but it’s fast and gets the job done. There are some killer features that make it super handy for everyday use. There’s a free version and a paid for version, and you can get most things done with the free version if you want to give that a try.

— The current version of Photoscape X Pro, and the one discussed here is version 4.1, found at their website http://x.photoscape.org/

Perfecting your photography

Over the course of this website, One Camera One Lens has offered a great deal of articles written to help you improve and expand your photography knowledge. They are all within the blog section, but this is a list of quick links that can get you to the article you need quickly.

Maximising Your Histogram Accuracy
Your histogram is not as accurate as you think, unless you take into consideration the points mentioned within this brief article.

The Benefits Of Shooting In Jpeg
Not everyone shoots in the raw format, and in fact, the majority of people shoot in jpeg. And there are some excellent reasons why you would want to shoot in jpeg.

Who Is Artificial Intelligent Software Aimed At?
A look at the new software that uses artificial intelligence, and who it is aimed at.

Edit Photographs For Your Wall
Have you ever wondered why you can’t sell, or where you are going wrong? This article gives you some fascinating tips on getting your images to look right, so that everyone can appreciate them!

The Best Editing Software You’ll Ever Need!
You’ll need editing software, and here is some huge advice!

Storing Film Simulations On Your Fujifilm Camera
If you are a Fujifilm user, this guide is a necessity!

Improve Your Photography With A Prime Lens
It’s a simple trick, but if you really want to get better at photography, take a read and let it sink in!

Never miss a shot with this trick!
It’s simple, it’s effective, but you will always get your shot using this trick!

Printing Your Photos, And Why It Is Important
Probably the most important this you will read in this list of articles!

Why 35mm Is The Perfect Focal Length
No serious photographer should be without this focal length, and I discuss why that is!

20 Tips For Better Photography
An essential list of common sense tips!

The Importance Of Presents & LUTs
They are important, you should have a few ready to hand… And the article tells you why.

The Importance Of Backing Up Your Photographs
It should be second nature, but so many people don’t do it. This article should help you!

Hopefully you will find something you need in this list of articles. You can delve deeper into the blog section for much more information, and don’t forget to come back on a regular basis for more updates to the website.

Maximising Your Onscreen Histogram Accuracy

It’s a little understood fact that when relying on your histogram to take photographs, or using your blinkies for highlight warnings (among other on screen information based on your exposure), the histogram is based on the jpeg profile that you are currently taking photographs in, and not in the raw image produced by the camera. This article will take a brief look at ways in that you can maximize the accuracy of your histogram in a few easy steps.

How to maximise your histogram

There are four primary things you need to understand and be careful with when maximising your histogram. I will touch on each one, and a simple Google search will bring up much more in depth explanations that I can give you.

The first thing you should do is choose a colour profile from your camera that is as flat and low contrast as possible. Stay away from Vivid and saturated colour profiles. The flatter the profile the better. This was the histogram isn’t confused by the bright colours when looking for highlighted areas.

The second thing you should do is avoid using any dynamic range enhancements such as the Dynamic Range or D-Lighting settings that can be found on most cameras. Again, this will force inaccurate measurements of the light as the camera exaggerates the light areas in your image.

Thirdly, and one that so many forget about is your white balance. Make sure that you use manual white balance as with auto white balance, your histogram can really be fooled when it reads a scene wrongly (which it can do a lot of the time in certain conditions).

Finally, your choice of AdobeRGB Vs sRGB will also have an effect on your histogram, as AdobeRGB had a larger colour gamut compared to sRGB, meaning there’ll be a discrepancy in you histogram once again.

Other things to consider

Of course, while these measures above will help get your histogram accurate, there’s still one more setting that will have an affect, and that is your ISO setting. But realistically you need this option more than the others mentioned, and in most cases you will be trying to keep the ISO setting as low as possible in your composition.

All of the above is relevant if you are shooting in raw. If you are a jpeg shooter, you may have to compromise the colour profile setting, or tweak your image later in post processing.

Conclusion

Every situation is different, and solely relying on your histogram is obviously a huge mistake. However, getting the histogram as accurate as possible is important. Be sensible, use your histogram, highlight warnings and any other tools you may have on your camera, Most importantly though is use you eyes!