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Five Essential Tools for Landscape Photography

Five Essential Tools for Landscape Photography

Photography accessories are tools that a lot of photographers tend to overlook. In many cases, however, they allow you to optimize your images and help you get better aquainted with your equipment so you can be more effective when it’s time to start shooting. Here are five essential accessories for landscape photography that are easy to take with you everywhere you go.
© Lucas Favre / Unsplash

1 – The camera bag

© Keagan Henman / Unsplash

Whether you have a little or a lot of equipment, the right camera bag is an almost essential accessory, especially if you plan to carry your equipment everywhere with you. The number one role of the camera bag is to transport the equipment while protecting it. Among the many existing camera bags on the market, first, choose the format that you’re most comfortable with (backpack, satchel, suitcase, etc.), but also pay attention to the level of protection it offers (padded, with water-repellent materials, with an integrated protective cover, etc.). 

In addition to those two main features, camera bags also come with different types of  storage arrangements (front opening, rear opening for anti-theft protection, quick access to the equipment, etc.). It is therefore essential to ask yourself how you intend to use your camera bag to store your gear and how you want to access it. Nature photographers who also do wildlife photography, for example, will probably prefer a bag with quick access and opt for a camouflage color. Other photographers, such as street photographers, may prefer a courier bag format that’s discreet and easy to carry, and that looks urban. 

© Stephen Leonardi / Unsplash

Aside from the camera equipment, think about what else you might want to take with you as well (a computer, a water bottle, additional accessories, a drone, special clothes, etc.). This is important when determining the size of your camera bag, so that you can store everything in one place. All the different options come in different price ranges. 

2 – The tripod

© Cedric Letsch / Unsplash

The tripod is a an accessory that can also revolutionize the way you take photos. While it is not always necessary for landscape photography, it can still allow you to capture very beautiful images with a slow exposure speed. It is thanks to the tripod, a very stable body and a relatively slow speed that landscape photographers can obtain the trickle rendering of water in a waterfall, the sea or of the sky. 

© Dave Heofler
© Zak Boca / Unsplash

The tripod is also a favorite accessory of night landscape photographers and astrophotographers, who render visible what is invisible to the naked eye, again thanks to a well-managed slow exposure and a stable camera body on a tripod. 

© Alejandro Benet / Unsplash

Lastly, the tripod will be a great asset if you want to take time-lapse photos, i.e. dynamic landscape shots to integrate into a video. To find out more about that technique, check out our article on the subject: Time-lapse Photography: A Guide for Beginners.

3 – Photo filters

You will notice that we often talk about photo filters in our articles. They are indeed a great asset when it comes to optimizing the contrast, exposure and color rendering of your images, especially for landscape photography. These are accessories that you mount directly on your lens or on the front using a filter holder. 

© Eugene Chystiakov / Unsplash

The basic filters that we recommend are UV and polarizing filters. The UV filter will protect your lens from dirt, dust, and scratches and will filter out UV rays. The polarizing filter is very useful in situations where the natural light is especially strong. It will reduce reflections, brighten colors and thus bring more contrast to the image. 

Gradient filters will allow you to compensate for the difference in light between the sky and the landscape, which can often generate non-homogeneous images. Depending on the direction in which you position them, they will rebalance the exposure to obtain a more consistent image directly when shooting. 

You can also use colored filters or neutral density filters to further increase your long exposures on your camera. 

4- Waterproof protection for your camera 

Waterproof protection is a good way to protect your camera from water and snow, as well as dust and scratches. This way, once the camera is out of the camera bag, you can give it a little more protection in the outdoors, whether you’re holding it in your hand or it’s mounted on a tripod. An accessory not to be overlooked for landscape photography, since, depending on the region and the time of year, the weather can change quickly. 

5 – A remote shutter release / application

© Leica 

A remote shutter release will be very useful for your long exposure tripod shots or for your time-lapse photography. Releasing the shutter remotely means you don’t need to  always be standing near your camera and reduces shaking when you shoot. You can use a wired or wireless remote shutter release or even a remote control with an intervalometer and self-timer function for your time-lapse. 

Additionally, people often tend to forget that if their camera is equipped with wi-fi or bluetooth, they can also use its dedicated application to shoot remotely directly from their smartphone. 

In conclusion

Having the right photographic equipment includes having certain useful accessories. For lovers of landscape photography, this usually entails ensuring good protection of your equipment via a basic or more elaborate camera bag. Once out of the bag, you can also opt for waterproof protection for the camera itself. The tripod will allow you to take your craft a step further by taking long exposure or time-lapse landscape photographs. Lastly, filters optimize the image quality of your landscape photographs by enhancing contrast, rebalancing exposure, and brightening up colors.

By Céline Nébor

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