Landscape Photography Tips: Stay Focused with Doug McKinlay
Landscape Photography Tips: Stay Focused with Doug McKinlay

Hi, I’m Doug McKinley, and you’re watching AdoramaTV. Today we are going to look at landscapes, lenses, styles, and techniques to improve your landscape photography. We are here in the wonderful Hever Castle in Kent, where Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn grew up. AdoramaTV presents, Stay Focused with Doug McKinley. So we are here the castle, and it’s looking great. Hopefully we’ll get some really good
pictures, while highlighting the seven key components of what makes a good landscape picture. First up is depth of field. Great landscape pictures have great
depth of field. Lens choice: now, if using a wide angle lens, like this 24 mm lens, everything from the near foreground to
infinity, should be sharp, and the best apertures are between
f/8.0 and f/11.0. These should ensure a sharp image from
near foreground to infinity. Now, there is a different way of measuring depth of field, called hyper focal distance, but we will leave that to another time. Now smaller
apertures mean slower shutters, therefore a good tripod is essential. The
next key component is the focal point. Without a focal point, your landscape
pictures run the risk of turning into nothing but
vast expanses of nothingness. The focal point can be anything, it can be
rocks, trees, or rivers, anything to latch the eye on. Without this, your pictures will have no strength. Focal
points lead the viewer into the picture, they give the images vitality, and don’t
be fooled into thinking that clear days are the only days you
can shoot landscape pictures on. In fact, the opposite is true. Turbulent weather often makes the best
landscape pictures, and make sure you try shooting from
different angles, up high, down low, whatever it takes. The third
component is the sky most landscape pictures will either have a
dominant sky, or a dominant foreground. So be aware of the effect the sky can have
on your pictures, in fact, the sky itself can be a key
component in a good landscape image, in conjunction
watch for reflections, and the right conditions that can make very powerful pictures, and of course make sure your horizons are level.
Nobody wants to see a mountain slip off the frame, stage left, or stage right. Don’t forget to check out Adorama’s latest contest where you can win some amazing prizes! So we have changed our location to have a little chat about composition rules. Now the rule of thirds in linear lines,
are in my opinion, two of the most important rules. Now the
thirds, states that your subject is more pleasing to the eye,
if it falls on on of the four intersecting points.
But don’t get too hung up on this, just get them off center, and our horizons are either, in the top third in the frame, or the bottom
third the frame. Linear lines help to draw the viewer
into the picture. Things like fence lines, or railroad
tracks are a really good example of this. Ultimately, we want your images to engage
with our viewers, we want to draw them into the picture. By following these rules at least
initially, you create better and livelier pictures. The next key component is golden time,
the best light for landscape photography, well, for most outdoor photography happens about
an hour after sunrise, and about an hour before sunset, the
golden time. It’s not a lot of time, so you need to be ready, make sure you are in your previously scouted location, make sure your kit is ready, make sure you are wearing the right clothing, no one wants to scuttle home because they’re cold. The next key component is filters. For a long time, landscape photographers
have had the problem of dealing with bright skies, and dark lands.
Until some boffins decided to invent the graduated neutral density filter. It’s a delineation from clear to dark,
this allows photographers to balance out the light from a bright sky in a dark land, and still
preserve detail in both. If you are going to be a serious landscape
photographer, you have to invest in a set of these. The other filters I use, is a circular
polariser, now this helps to saturate the sky, in
cut reflection, if you need it to be, off water. Lastly, I use the neutral density filter, not the
graduated one, just a neutral density filter. This
allows you to put movement in water. It cuts the light coming into the into
the camera, thus allowing you to use slower shutter speeds. You definitely need to use a tripod, both
a great creative tools. The seventh, and final key component is
improvement. The key to which is innovation,
persistence, and learning from your mistakes. If you
don’t learn from mistakes, you’ll never improve. So embrace them and analyse them. So we found this really great spot at Hever Castle here, this waterfall. It’s perfect for using an a neutral
density filter. This is what these were built for, to put motion in water. This one is 10 stop filter. So it’s really strong, as you see it
looks a little bit like a welder’s latch, you can’t even see through it. So, you have got to make sure everything is set up on the camera before you start. I’ve already taken a meter reading and it has given me half a second. So I know that when I put this filter on the front of that, that meter reading is going to have to go down to about eight minutes. So the shutter is going to open for eight minutes to
get the picture, that’s why we’re using our handy dandy, locking cable release, so let’s get at it. Now I’ve already locked the focus, lock
the all the readings in place, it’s just a matter of pushing the button, and waiting. So it’s almost eight minutes and we are back. Another few seconds and I can shut, close the shutter, and then hopefully we will get a nice image! Unfortunately with these filters there is always a bit of guesswork involved. So let’s see what we have got. It looks a little under exposed to me. You could probably use a few more
seconds, minutes even, of exposure, but I think I can work with this on the computer. Thanks for joining us today, and don’t forget to subscribe to AdoramaTV. Let us know what you think, you can like,
comment, or share this video, and please come by the Adorama Learning Center
for more great tips and tricks. Do you want great-looking prints at low-cost? Be sure
to visit our easy to use, online printing service. Adoramapix has professionals who treat your images with the utmost care that you can count
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60 thoughts on “Landscape Photography Tips: Stay Focused with Doug McKinlay”

  1. Louie Ballz says:

    Very helpful info. Thank you

  2. hawg427 says:

    Great video 🙂  There's one online photography "Expert" LOL That is very adamant that we do not need tripods in this day of DSLR photography.  He has also said tripods are only for real cameras, Medium format or larger. Another LOL from me. I am from the "Old School" photographers formally trained and the use of a tripod was Highly encouraged. It makes you think about your framing of the photograph. No reason to rush in landscape photography.  What's your opinion on the build quality of Induro Carbon fiber tripods?

  3. Conor Casey says:

    Interesting video and fairly helpful tips.  I like Doug's presentation style. 🙂 

  4. Dante Oops says:

    .these were amazing tips. Thank you Doug.

  5. Henrik Palshøj says:

    Excellent video.

  6. Nazareth434 says:

    Good tips here- I'd like to add a fewm ore if you don't mind- some tips I've found to be invaluable

    Light Color Gesture- if the light isn't right- wait until it is- look for color- make it a central part of the photo- stop taking photos of everything at every time- QUALITY over QUANTITY- if you don't have light or color, then you must have a super strong subject, and it must be shot utilizing things like lead-in lines, angle, shutter speed- which are tools to 'enhance' an otherwise boring scene- like Maisel said, if you have color and or light, the actual subject is really kind of unimportant- color and light become the subject matter, and folks respond to both light and color more than actual subjects- it's just how the brain works- Want your photography to improve? Stop snapping photos of everything, look for quality subjects like l ight and color and gesture- and make those your primary subjects- check out Jay Maisel's website for some examples of what I'm talking about- He does no post processing work on his photos- He simply ups the color saturation incamera and that's it- you'll see exactly what I'm talking about when I say make color light and gesture your primary subjects for better photos

  7. Gary Coomber says:

    Great video thank you 

  8. Jonathan Araujo says:

    How can an image be different from exposing 8 minutes, from say, 30 seconds or 1 minute? Any experienced photographer could give me a hint?

  9. Diego Sartori says:

    I was wondering if there is any harmful wear or tear on the camera from these long exposures, I love doing long exposure images but I feel uneasy with having the exposures running longer than a minute or so.

    Do worry without reason?

  10. James Aston says:

    Great tips & well presented.

  11. moira chalmers says:

    That's spooky, I'm just looking for tutorials to learn some new tips for going away in a couple of weeks when I start watching this one and think this guy is familiar – that's because I walked past him with a pack of huskies whilst he was filming this at Hever castle as we had a large number of huskies there for the kids to hug in the lead up to Christmas raising money for the Siberian husky welfare association. What a small world it is.

  12. Jim Bell says:

    For gods sake get rid of the bloody captions.

  13. Silvia Alejandra Miño says:

    Great video, tips, ideas!! Thank you so much!

  14. Curtis Johnson says:

    Thought this was a great video.  I liked the pace, quick and to the point.  Used great photo examples.   Thank you!

  15. Honey Bhee says:

    is this consider a landscape photography?

  16. Siebenthal says:

    This was very helpful to me! Thanks a lot!

  17. Clipping path Lab says:

    these were amazing tips

  18. Tecnovlog says:

    8 minutes of exposure? my camera only goes to 60 seconds

  19. Sethu Raman says:

    what about the last took at shutter speed 420..but its not the long exposure…

  20. Ralph Gehteha says:

    Hm. Isnt it a bit self-limitig to say, landscape images shall have great depth of field (implicitly saying, those with an intentionally shallow depth of field are "bad")? Also, shooting at F11 usually wouldnt give you the best image quality possible with a lens.

  21. NazCross says:

    Solid info thank you for sharing.

  22. Steve C says:

    Very good, I'm learning and want to know lots

  23. Wahid Fayumzadah says:

    Man, I live in Holland, it feels like I can bearly do any nice landscape photography. I haven't actually tried it… but that's what I think. It withholds me from doing it actually.

  24. Charles A. Ragucci says:

    Well done. I liked the way you just focused on the most important points rather than getting hung up on any one. Follow these and you should get some great results.

  25. planecrazyish says:

    Great video. a whole lot of to the point valuable information. Thanks

  26. Media Tutorial says:

    Cool video. 😍

    Would be cool if you would check out my channel and videos as well.

  27. Ryan Willshear says:

    Great channel, helped me learn as a beginner. Would be good if could take a look at my photos and say what you think 🙂

  28. Doug Yeomans says:

    Why would you want to go for an 8 minute exposure?

  29. Dale Berry says:

    Is anyone else tired of blurry waterfalls?

  30. Vishweshwar Kandalgaonkar says:

    Nice tips

  31. Themis Aglainis says:

    how can i calculate the time i need for the shutter speed to be a nice picture and what iso and f should i use??

  32. Graham Gillett says:

    A great video but very rushed…

  33. Neil Cowling says:

    Eight minutes to take a shot, maybe in the 1800's, a few seconds for that shot

  34. Inbal W says:

    Thanks. I did read somewhere that it isn't good to use ND on a ultra wide lens. Is that true?
    Which lens did you use on this video?

  35. Yo Mismo says:

    I only saw a lot of commercials of all kind of brands, but not so much landscape photography.
    It was very disappointed actually.

  36. Cody Shanley says:

    This isn't a landscape.

  37. MrTanker10a says:

    Leave it to Doug McKinlay to be succinct about his topics…Thanks for the great Landscape video…

  38. Maurício Checchia says:

    I have the same old ball head!

  39. Irwin Lakin says:

    Doug, you mention that hyperfocal distance is important to get sharp photos from front to back and defer its explanation to another time.  Have you recorded another video on this topic with adorama?  Thfanks.

  40. Paul Taborovsky says:

    Great video!

  41. Old400 says:

    A very enjoyable video, but I am wondering why you used the cable release on the long exposure to minimize camera shake, then flopped the cable over the camera. That seemed to defeat the purpose of the cable release.
    Keep up the good videos.

  42. madcrazybonkers says:

    The thing I hate most as being new to landscape photography is the way they try to insist if you want to be a real one is you must have grad filters not many say if you don't mind more post just you use bracket and save the money for a better lens which is the way I'm going and then look at filters. I just wish they would all stop trying to force kit that's not needed

  43. Abigail Sockeye says:

    8 Minutes? You could get the same shot with a 10 second exposure.

  44. Cyril Hehir says:

    Did i see that wright? After he pushed the cable release shutter button he threw it back on top of the camera, (5m20s in video) Doesn't That cause camera shake or am i missing something.

  45. Pema Tamang says:

    is it better to 24mm lens in aps-c camera for landscape?

  46. Hendri View says:

    Photography is one of the most exciting hobbies you can pick up, but when you're first starting out it can all just seem so daunting. But don't get discouraged! It's important to remember that everyone started somewhere. There are no Mozarts in photography, virtuoso geniuses who were born knowing everything there is to know about the craft. More often we began like Beethoven, sitting at the piano in tears.

    But while learning how to compose a symphony would take years of practice, composing a great photo can be done at the click of a button—if you know what you're doing. Fret not if you don't, however, we've got some simple tips that are easy to remember, easy to follow, can be used with any camera, and will improve your photos in no time—no technical knowledge required.

    10 Things That Must Be Known When Starting Photography

  47. None says:

    10-stop ND is not for water, dude. A waterfall will look like that with only a 8 sec exposure. 10-stop ND is for cloud movement over time — you know, something that actually requires 8 minutes.

  48. Arianie Atolba says:

    Thank you. So helpful especially your explanation on applying the rule of thirds on landscapes.

  49. Grazia says:

    so many helpful tips in a 7 minutes video. Thank you!!

  50. aaron owji says:

    The plateaus at 3:09. Where was that taken?

  51. yujin landscape photography. says:

    very nice tip!

  52. Mahesh says:


  53. Dennis H says:

    I do like to freeze water rather than blur them but, is nice to know all the tricks. Thanks for the KISS.

  54. NoteAndroid says:

    Thank you for provided specific settings on the Left side. For a "uneducated" photographer wannabe like me, you've just gave me a great lesson. Thumb up~!

  55. wgard says:

    I cant understand when I should use Aperture over 11, like 22, in landskapes? Seems like everybody use 11 to get all in fokus.


    I take photos in dslr canon1300d in landscape mood but it cnt be open or edit when we copy its showing error can any one plz give me an idea to solve plz

  57. dfg297lpopdirk says:

    is my 18 to 55 ok

  58. ManiacGame says:

    Very good

  59. Allan Makau says:

    Which camera do you use

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