Okay, so finally you had bought a new camera or generated interest in landscape photography. You must be keen to get started as a learner with auto mode for taking stunning landscape photos.
We are on the same page, alright!
If you are feeling underconfident or shy that you are starting up with an auto mode for landscape photography. Let me tell you it’s perfectly fine.
I had also started with auto mode for taking landscape pictures or any photos for a few months or as close to a year. But gradually my heart said that it’s time to take over all the control from the camera to your hand. I think it’s quite normal that starting with guidance is necessary and later stages apply the way you wanted to.
I hope you’re now feeling more confident and not apart from the rest of the world.
but what is an auto mode, since I am assuming that you are a beginner in DSLR!
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What is an Auto Mode in the DSLR camera?
Automatic or an Auto mode is a function in the DSLR where the camera decides & controls everything for you. i.e. in terms of Aperture value, shutter speed, ISO, etc. In Auto Mode, you just need to fill the frame with your interest area & release the shoot button.
Especially someone who is a newbie and teaching himself from the start, Auto mode is very productive if you try to understand why the camera chooses this setting for capturing the frame.
Auto mode is just like when a photographer says A for Aperture, B for Blur, etc. I hope you got this!
Newbie guide in using Auto Mode for Landscape Photography
1. Aim & Shoot
Since you are just starting, the Auto mode will be going to do things for you. It’s the camera’s creativity strike which will be going to speak here.
Ahh, that’s completely not true!
Still, a handful of things would be in your control like how you are going to picturise; would it be a low angle, a high above, or the way you wanted. Let me tell you practicing other angels will really going to help you when you are shifting to the manual mode.
Suppose, you are taking a mountain picture on a bright sunny day and end up taking every picture from the same eye-level perspective. At least, you can control your perspective in Auto mode; to try and go very below or use a tree as an element or create something on your own.
As you can see in the image above, I shot this image in the Auto mode. While shooting in the Auto mode you will still be able to see the exposure triangle settings. This was shot at 1/320s at F9 and ISO 100. In this case, the camera is controlling everything while I had aimed and shoot.
When I was starting with the Auto mode, I used to take pictures from the eye-level every time. I used to find the shortcomings that “oh I should try; this angle looks boring or I might have taken a nice seat on the ground before clicking”. I still use a starting range camera, Nikon, D3500 with the kit lens.
Image quality is yet another important factor. Being a newbie it’s been told to shoot the landscape pictures in RAW.
The RAW file gives the complete data and you have more control over the RAW data than any other file format in the post-processing. Also, know as the negatives.
But I would say that you should shoot the majority of the images in the JPEG format. I have a strong reason for that.
If you shoot in RAW at the beginning of your Landscape photography journey you will develop a habit that you will be going to correct everything in the post-processing later. Rather, you must try to correct everything as close as possible during your shoot time on the spot.
That’s the reason I am insisting you should shoot in JPEG format until & unless you trained your mind to shoot correct on the spot in the RAW format too.
3. Focus Mode
Majority Landscape photos require everything in a sharp focus. Right from the position where you are standing to the farthest point visible. I shot the above image on the Auto mode and values I got were 1/640s at F5.6 and ISO 100.
Shooting landscape pictures in AF area mode requires you to focus on a particular subject but sometimes the other becomes out of focus.
Let’s take an example of the Image above – If I had focused on my front where there are few bushes the mountains had been become completely blurred. Although the focus is quite acceptable here.
Make sure to switch from AF to manual focus. This allows you to focus anywhere in a possible manner.
The Manual focus mode can also shoot when things are not in focus.
I believe you should first try to AF the area of your interest press the release button to lock the focus and then change to manual focus. This will make things easy to apply and execute.
What more important here is that you are making yourself learn something. Likewise, you can learn 7 Simple landscape Compositions at Home. If you believe me or not but everything starts from home “An idea, planning, execution and so on”.
4. Turn off the flashlight
When you are shooting in slightly low light conditions the flashlight automatically turns on because the camera is in Auto mode. The camera decides everything for you if you have remembered. The same thing goes for this case as the camera decides that the available light outside is quite low to focus and shoot the perfect exposure.
For e.x – On a bright sunny day, if you are taking mountains with a river picture and is standing under a big tree. The tree is stopping the outside light to hit your sensor. The camera automatically assumes that the available light is low because you are standing under the tree. In reality, the light is available in a good amount but the positioning is a problem here.
You might consider changing your position or turn off the Auto flash option in your camera.
This will make you understand the light conditions in a more sorted way.
5. Shoot while looking in the viewfinder
I personally feel very connected shooting while looking in the viewfinder because it creates a personal touch and brings enthusiasm in shooting something. This is purely what I feel.
In fact, if you feel a lot more comfortable while shooting through the display & if this can bring out the best from you then you can go-ahead. Shooting through the display is really very effective when the situation becomes challenging.
For e.x – If you wanted to make a particular thing look big and shooting from the ant eye level. Then you cannot see from the viewfinder, the display would be very handy in this situation.
Also, in the cases where you cannot lie flat on the ground, the display shoot will be very handy then.
6. Shooting without a tripod
It’s understandable that you are shooting without a tripod since you had just bought your new camera or generated interest in this niche as I had conveyed above.
Shooting with a self-timer will be going to solve your problem. The camera’s understanding of light and conditions are getting better with every new edition and self-timer in cameras are no exception.
For e.x – if you are shooting something static, like the mountains or the forest. You also wanted that your camera should also not move and remain still. You can control this by using a self-timer. A few seconds self-timer will give pure justice that you are not touching your camera from hand and shooting.
This is how the self-timer will going to play its role here.
Ahh, that ends up with using Auto mode for landscape photography. You are be going to understand this when you keep applying what you have learned. You can pick one topic every week from listed above points and start shooting keeping in mind the week’s topic. This will help you understand the Auto mode concept in a few weeks and then apply altogether and keep practicing. You will really be going to feel much more confident when shifting to the manual mode.
Don’t forget to keep your camera neat & clean as you do to yourself. After all, it’s part of your daily life.
I hope this had helped you in understanding and learning.