The great thing about shooting landscapes – and one of the reasons it’s so popular – is that you don’t need loads of expensive kit, or an extensive collection of pro-level lenses, to get great images. All you really need is a camera, a wide-angle lens, and a sturdy tripod (and perhaps our free cheat sheet of The landscape’s greatest challenges!).
Having said that, if you’re keen to take your landscape photography to the next level, there are a few bits of equipment that most landscape pros would consider an essential part of their armoury (find out what 26 landscape photography tips all the pros still use).
And the good news is, almost all of these can be picked up for less than the price of a basic kit lens – and some of them for much less! Here’s a quick rundown of five accessories that are well worth the investment.
Quick release tripod head
Enables you to take your DSLR off your tripod, and put it back on, without jogging it and spoiling your composition – if you want to attach an ND filter for example. For more on using tripods, check out our quick guide to 4 ways you can get sharper shots when using a tripod.
Hotshoe spirit level
These will only set you back a few quid on ebay or Amazon, but are worth their weight in gold: simply pop one on your camera’s hotshoe to ensure perfectly horizontal horizons!
Remote shutter release
Enables you to release the shutter without touching the camera, which helps to reduce the risk of camera shake. If you haven’t got one, using your SLR’s self-timer is a good alternative. You can easily pick one up from Amazon.
Neutral Density (ND) Filters
ND filters enable you to set longer exposure times than your lens will allow on its own by reducing the amount of light passing through the lens; the darker the filter, the longer the exposure time can be.
Graduated Neutral Density Filters (ND grads)
If you’re serious about landscape photography, ND grads are essential. When shooting an hour or two either side of sunrise or sunset, the sky will invariably be much brighter than the landscape; expose for the sky and the landscape will be in silhouette; expose for the landscape and the sky will be blown out.
An ND grad is dark at the top and clear at the bottom, enabling you to darken the sky without affecting the landscape (for more, see our guide to ND Grad Filters: what every photographer should know).