Introduction: How to Capture a Landscape Photo With a Canon Camera

Imagine an amazing sunset over the South Dakota countryside. The sun shining its last bit of life for the day, the land glowing from the light of the sun, the clouds turning yellow and orange. Now imagine wanting to keep that memory forever, what can be done? This is where a camera comes in handy. Today I am going to discuss and show how a person can capture amazing landscape photos while also setting up the camera correctly to get the shot a person is looking for. I will be using the Canon EOS 90D for my photo but these same steps can be applied for most digital Canon cameras.


For this, a digital camera, tripod, extra batteries, SD cards, and a plan is needed for the shot.

Step 1: Plan, Plan, Plan!

The first step, and this can arguably be one of the most important steps in completing for most photoshoots, is planning on what and where to photograph. Planning ahead allows a person to arrive early and understand what to expect by the time it comes to capturing the scene. For knowing what to photograph, this can be a daytime scene, sunset scene, or even a night scene with the stars. For this instance, it will be a sunset scene. I always plan ahead using either a notebook to write what I expect or Google Maps to scout areas I think would be good for a landscape photo.

Step 2: Grab a Digital Camera

After planning out what a person wants to photograph, grab a digital camera. Photos can be made with many different digital cameras regardless of their age. Newer digital cameras offer higher quality features with extra modes to capture top-notch photos. If there is no digital camera, a phone may be used but this limits quality image potential and editing options.

Editing can help improve an image overall so if available, explore editing settings using an editing application on a computer or cell phone. Editing too much however, can ruin an image so it's best to not overdo an edit.

Step 3: Pack Extra Batteries and SD Cards

Next, pack extra batteries and SD cards. This is vitally important because batteries can fail or die out quickly and not having a backup can ruin someone’s chance at capturing an amazing photo. Like batteries, SD cards also can fail at the worst time thus the reason to bring extra cards in case.

Step 4: Bring a Sturdy Tripod

In order to avoid camera shake, it’s important to bring a sturdy tripod. If the tripod is not sturdy, wind may cause the tripod to fall with the camera on it and that leads to an expensive loss. Tripods are almost a necessity when it comes to landscape photos as they prevent unwanted shake which allows for quality and sharp images.

Tripods also allow a user to use camera settings not possible if holding a camera. These settings can further improve an image's overall quality if adjusted correctly.

Step 5: Pack Extra Lenses

Lastly, before heading out, pack extra lenses. Having extra lenses allows the operator to capture photos from different perspectives either by widening the perspective to include more of the scene or by zooming in closer to a section of the scene. The lower focal length, also indicated by the number of millimeters on a lens, the wider the lens. To save time, a lens can be attached beforehand simply by removing the lens caps and camera cover, matching the red dots up, and screwing the lens into the camera tightly.

Step 6: Set to Manual Mode

Now comes the part of setting the camera up manually in order to properly expose a photo. Make sure the camera is set to manual mode. To find this, set the dial on the top of the camera to the M mode. There are three primary settings in the camera, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO or image sensitivity. The first setting to change is the aperture which is indicated by an F on the camera screen.

Step 7: Change the Aperture (F)

For a touchscreen camera (as shown), click the Q button on the lower left side of the camera and select the aperture. If a person is still not certain on where to find this option, it can be found in the top row of the camera screen in the middle of the shutter speed and ISO settings. Shutter speed will look like a fraction and ISO will be a number in the 100s or even 1000s.

If the camera does not have a touchscreen (not shown), click the A/V button located on the backside of the camera and while holding it, use the dial on the top right and switch it either to the left, which will lower the aperture number, or to the right, which will raise the aperture number. For landscapes, set the aperture setting to around F16. This will allow landscape and distant objects to be sharper for the image.

Step 8: Adjust ISO

Next, adjust the ISO setting by either clicking the Q button on the screen or by pressing the ISO button on the back of the camera. Because there is a tripod, a person can set the ISO setting to the lowest number it can go, 100. Most cameras go down to 100 ISO which reduces any grain that could potentially ruin the image. ISO is image sensitivity and it’s a setting that can help expose an image the higher the ISO number is. However, the higher the ISO number, the more grain is added and this could either make or break an image.

Step 9: Adjust Shutter Speed (1/*)

With the aperture and ISO set, the last setting to change is the shutter speed. To change this setting, simply press the Q option on the camera screen and click the shutter setting. To find this, it is also on the top row of the camera screen and depending on what it is already set at, it may look like a fraction or include multiple seconds. Set this setting to a shutter speed of 1/200 to start. Once these settings are set, a person is ready to capture a landscape shot of a sunset.

Step 10: Set Up a Tripod

After all three primary settings have been set, take a tripod and set it up. Using the hatches, unclick them to allow the legs to expand in order to make the tripod taller. A taller tripod allows for better control of the camera in order to capture a shot. Make sure to expand the legs of the tripod before setting the camera on it. Expanding the legs of the tripod allows for sturdiness and prevents damage to the tripod and camera if a tripod were to fall.

Step 11: Set the Camera on a Tripod

To set the camera on the tripod, take the tripod shoe located on the top of the tripod and release the knob that holds the shoe on the camera. This shoe can be screwed onto the bottom of the camera so the camera can be properly set on the tripod. Once the shoe is screwed tightly onto the bottom of the camera, take the camera and open the knob on the top of the tripod and correctly fit the camera onto the tripod. Tighten the knob after the camera is attached to the tripod.

Step 12: Capture a Photo

The camera and tripod are now set to capture a photo.

When the opportunity comes, simply press the shutter button on the top right of the camera until a clicking sound is heard. This indicates a photo was captured successfully. To view this image, press the playback button, which looks like a play button, on the back of the camera.

Step 13: Final Thoughts

With all this being put in place, a person can capture a landscape photo to help make a memory last forever. Attached is the sunset photo I captured while preparing these steps. My settings were a little different as mentioned but settings can be messed with and experimented to satisfy ones needs and wants. Here were my settings to capture the attached photo: Shutter Speed 1/80; Aperture F/11; ISO 400.

Note: I did edit some of this photo using Adobe's editing software, Lightroom.