In Part 1 of his Pro Workflow, Alpha Collective member Andy Best (@andy_best) shared how he scouts locations for landscape shots and chooses which gear he’ll need to prep and pack. In this article, Part 2, you’ll learn menu item-by-menu item how he sets his camera for landscape photography as well as how he keeps his gear organized during a shoot.
Andy Best breaks down his camera settings for landscape photography button-by-button.
When Best is photographing landscapes and astroscapes, he does try to limit the number of photos he takes. “Sometimes it's a detriment,” he says, “because I don't take enough or change the angle enough and end up with too many in the same direction. I’m just really picky about when I’m firing and I can usually get a sense of whether or not the moment, such as a sunset, is over, or if it’s going to get better.”
To get the most out of his images in-camera, these are his settings for landscape photography.
Camera Settings For Landscapes
- File Format: RAW
- Raw File Type: I just had on compressed due to a run-and-gun timelapse experiment. This keeps the files a lot more manageable especially if you are just having fun. Once I have the technique down, or for professional jobs, I keep it on uncompressed. I don’t shoot JPEG but if for any reason I’d leave it the highest quality. Sometimes this is a good format for building storyboards for projects – keeping it simple.
- Aspect Ratio: I leave it at 3:2, but again if you wanted to build storyboards for a project you can switch this to 16:9 for that effect. Keeping it all in camera so you can fly through post and move on.
- APSC: I have it off, but sometimes I turn it on to get an idea of what the image might look like if I crop past a focal length that isn’t quite enough.
- Long Exposure NR: I keep this off. I don’t see much difference in NR when it’s on, so I’m all about time when I’m shooting astrophotography. I’d much rather shoot as manual as I can and if needed touch up grain in post if necessary. If I wanted to avoid some post time I would turn it on, but I find that higher end post software that is setup for just that gets me better results.
- Color Space Adobe RGB: Currently I feel like many of these settings are about your finished product and what you plan to do with it. There are many discussions around this that I don’t really worry about. The science says that Adobe RGB can capture a wider range of colors and the images tend to be more vibrant, therefore you might want to use this to shoot for printing your work and I’m trying to build more of a library that I can build a gallery with. Whereas the digital world, personal devices, video games, and the internet is built to work with sRGB. I have bounced around between the two but typically leave it on sRGB.
- Bracket Settings: I don’t typically shoot bracketed unless there’s just too much contrast in the dynamic range of a scene. Even then, it’s rare for me to play with this.
- Focus is on AF Continuous and Face Tracking is on: I’ve been shooting a lot of photos of my daughter running and playing and this does a lot of the heavy lifting for me.
- Focus area Zone at the moment helping me quickly track a flailing child using a larger area to detect and one that I can move around the frame.
- AF Track Sens is on Standard
- Pre AF / Af Area Regist / AF Area Auto Clear all off.
- Exposure Comp: Usually hovers around stopped down a quarter to half.
- ISO 50
- ISO Min 1/500 - I haven’t messed with this in awhile. You can mess with this when you are doing internal day to night timelapses, but it’s been a while.
- Metering mode Multi
- Spot Metering Point is Center at the moment.
- I don’t shoot with a flash.
- White balance I use Auto and mess with the RAW file if necessary. There are a few times I’ll warm up a sunset to get the idea of what it could look like super warm, or like in Astro I’ll drop it super low to get a colder feel.
- DR Auto HDR I have off.
- Creative Style I have on Standard keeping it looking as real as can be.
- Picture Profile is off
- Focus Mag. Time - No limit
- Initial focus x1
- AF in Focus Mag On
- MF Assist On
- Peaking On with Manual Assist
- Anti Flicker OFF
- Face Registration - I don’t use
- Silent shooting is currently off, but I love to use it when shooting wildlife or moments where you don’t want people or things distracted by the sound of the machine.
Custom Key Settings For Landscapes
- C1 is Interval Shooting - Timelapses can happen fast and I don’t like going through the menu if I don’t have to.
- C2 is Bright Monitoring so I can better frame up Astro scenes.
- C3 is Prioritize Rec. Media
- C4 is Silent Shooting
- Multi Slc Center Focus Standard
- Center Button Eye AF
- Right Button ISO
- Down Button WB
- AEL Button AEL Hold
- Focus Hold Button is Focus Hold
- Audio Signals - Always OFF!
- Lock Operation Parts Off
Keeping Organized During A Shoot
As he does fill up his memory cards with images, Best flips them over before storing them back in his memory card pouch. This way when it comes time to ingest them he knows which cards have the images on them. He also has a different memory card pouch for each camera. This type or organization is key in keeping Best’s photography efficient.
“I don't have stuff all over the place – I definitely make sure that I am always keeping things in order. I never just put random lenses or lens caps in random pockets. Everything has its place so I can move quickly and know that everything will be there, and at the end I won’t have created an extra job for myself to clean everything up. I can get back to my rig and toss my camera bag in my kit, knowing that maybe the only thing that I have to do the next day is touch up the glass, but I will never have to reorganize. That's how you can stay incredibly efficient.”
Stay tuned to AlphaUniverse.com for Part 3 of Andy’s workflow, where he will discuss post-processing and social sharing.