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Landscape Photography

Lesson 10 of 27

Shutter Speed


Landscape Photography

Lesson 10 of 27

Shutter Speed


Lesson Info

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is exposure, of course it's going to affect exposure. And then of course movement, both the camera and the subject. So it is considerable simpler. Shutter speed goes up two stops, you've gotta compensate, again, just to remind you, with something else. In this case, ISO went down two stops. That's to maintain accurate exposure. 'Kay, same thing, shutter speed goes up two stops, you have a choice, you can drop aperture and ISO as well. What does shutter speed affect most? Well, it's moving subjects. So, this is a little chart here of different... Effects on the water at different shutter speeds. Basically I've realized over time that I do want some detail in moving water. I don't just want a white misty, like you see here, two second exposure doesn't have as much detail basically. So, I love an 1/8 of a second, 1/4 of a second. Kinda depends on how much moving water there is, how far you are from that moving water. Okay. Now, it also is affected by ISO because ISO can only...

go so low. So, if it's too bright out, and you wanna maintain your aperture and you shutter speed, that's when you want to put on your filter. That's the scenario that matters. 'Cause remember, you want 1/8 of a second, or a particular shutter speed, and you need that depth of field, and you're locked at your ISO. So that's when you'd put on a neutral density. Then you'd lose that stops of light with the filter, rather than the other two elements of the trinity. And then ISO, ISO's similar. Same thing, you increase ISO, you've gotta compensate with either shutter speed or aperture or both. The higher the ISO, the less useable dynamic range. Now, theoretically and on paper the dynamic range is the same, some people debate that, but essentially all that mattes to me is what's usable in the picture. And so I've shown a little example here, or, before that, sorry, the dynamic range is the range of tones between the brightest and the darkest, that maintains detail. Just to reiterate that point. And you can see here in this shot of my studio. Up in the corner there's a lot of, same as that other example I showed you, there's a lot of noise, and so that's getting in the way of the details that's there. So in my opinion, that's not usable detail, therefore it's really not part of my dynamic range that I want to consider when using that ISO. This is really important when you're photographing at night. And stars. And so a couple of examples, I mentioned earlier I have a blog post coming out about this exact test that I did to find one of the better low light cameras. This is just showing you some examples. It' a little hard to see on the screen, but the Sony a7s, at 6,400 ISO versus 51,000 ISO. It's hard to even say that, 'cause it wasn't too long ago we couldn't conceive that. And then to make things even more interesting, this is the Pantax Medium Format camera at 51,000, versus 204,000 ISO. Which is just amazing. But you can see you're compromising at that point, some of the detail. And I'm exaggerating that here, just so you can see what's happening. So, when you compromise what. In this case we're gonna walk about compromising dynamic range and noise. Why? Because we want to photograph at night. So these night pictures aren't gonna look as clean as the daylight pictures. But it's night, it's incredible. We can deal with that compromise. It's worth doing. Right now it's amazing we can even take the pictures at night. So you'd also compromise probably the same two things, because it's the Milky Way. It's not just night, you're getting the whole entire Milky Way, it's worth making that compromise. And then another example is compromising diffraction for sunstars. So when you stop down, yes you're losing some sharpness and detail, but you're gaining the beautiful rays of the sun at sunrise, and wherever you put the sun. And then diffraction by depth of field. So it's not just for sunstar, but also in the situation, and most situations in landscape, we have to compensate by using a depth of field so that we get that foreground in focus and the top of the mountain in focus. So, the other one that I'll suggest is your creative freedom. You know, when you're thinking about these things you want to increase the ISO, so that you can go off the tripod, and be more creative with your movements and your compositions. 'Cause sometimes you just have to get your feet wet on the beach on the sand, so that you can find the shot that want, without the tripod. Alright, and to kind of sum things up here, I give you a tip, don't forget to modify the "in camera" playback option, so that you get that full RGB histogram. 'Cause it's different than just the one chart. It'll actually show you a red, green, and blue. And that's important when you're evaluating this. And then an exercise is shoot moving water at every shutter speed between a minute, and 1/60 of a second. You're gonna have to use a filter to do that in most scenarios in the daylight. But wait there's more. I also suggest any new camera you get, or any camera you have, take a picture, even inside, of every ISO. 'Cause it'll give you a good mental picture of how much you want to compromise, what ISO you don't want to use. I've got a couple questions I think. Maybe lets take like five minutes for questions, that okay? Sure. That's fine with me. Let's see what the best one is. Do we have any from here in the room? We covered a lot, anything you guys wanna ask about? Yeah, let's go down ahead and pass you the mic over there. Are you able to use auto focus for the hyper focal distance? Or is that pretty much a manual focus situation? Well you could certainly use the camera in auto focus. And as you move that little square around in live view, then you can focus on that point. So yes, you can use auto focus. You just have to move that square around where it focuses, and have a camera that does that. I don't know what camera you're using. Some of them do, some don't. They had a feature in old Canon Elan, it was the best thing ever, but it actually did this for you. You hold the camera up with a single point auto focus, click down, it registered that point, which was infinity. Then you pointed it at the next, which was your foreground, clicked again, and the third time you pressed down on the shutter, it set that. Why they did away with that, I don't know. But anyways, that's essentially what you're doing with this test. RSCCMS84, and one other person wanted to let you know, "For the record, Canon does have a menu tool "for controlling highlights. It's called highlight tone priority." So, for anyone out there using a Canon, that is information for you. Very helpful, thank you for sharing it. Very good. Also, we've got Bridgette, who wants to know, "Why do you change to aperture mode, "why don't you stay in manual mode?" And I'll extend that to ask, in what situations do you tend to use the different shooting modes? Yeah, so typically for handheld, I'm going into aperture priority because it's one less thing I want to think about, which is the shutter speed moving around. So it really just clears up my mind because I'm not on a tripod. And that's probably the main reason. And in that same vein, it's also when I'm photographing something moving really fast. Wildlife, 'cause a bird can fly from a shadow to a highlight just like that. And there's no way I'm gonna be able to compensate that fast. So aperture priority really works. In that scenario, maybe a bird in flight, I might change to shutter priority, so that I maintain the shutter speed ane have the aperture fluctuate. Let's go to Photomaker, "Do you just leave your white balance setting "on auto for your landscape shots, "since you can adjust the wrong post?" Do I leave it at auto? Yes, 90% of the time. Occasionally I will change for the night photography, just to get a visual on the back of the camera, of what it might look like. It's a little better if the auto, white balance doesn't work too well at night, so in that scenario I'll pick a white balance of 3,800, thereabouts, for the night shots of the Milky Way. Other than that, auto white balance works really well. The only caveat to that is that if I'm shooting video, the camera shoots video real well, and it's really fun to shoot video, but whatever white balance is set, it will remain on that video. So you wanna double check white balance if you're shooting video. Great. Any final questions here? One more, go ahead. Yes, I was wondering how you utilize or evaluate the RBG histogram? Okay, the RBG histogram is really just the same thing as the white one, where it's projecting all three. So what will happen is typically one of the colors will shift first, and so you're getting a more detailed view of those tones in that color channel. So the camera really projects JPG file, so it's not the raw file either. So what you're looking at is to just, you might want to fudge to the conservative side, and that gives you a little more information. Sometimes it could be a blue channel for a sky. You never know. A sunset might be red, is peaking over there towards the right. So, that's what you're looking for.

Class Description


  • Capture great shots of landscapes and nature
  • Confidently shoot in manual mode
  • Fine-tune your eye for composition
  • Master light for landscape photography
  • Work with HDR and panoramas
  • Perfect your images with post-processing in Lightroom


Turn a spark of passion for the outdoors into beautiful landscape photography in this start-to-finish course. From gear and exposure to light and post-processing, master the landscape photography workflow with veteran artist Marc Muench. End the frustration of being unable to capture the raw beauty of nature and capture inspiring awe-inducing views on camera.

With both live instruction and on-site photography tutorials, you'll master both the technical and creative necessities for capturing better landscape images. After the adventure, learn to perfect the scene using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to crop, color and fine-tune those images. In addition, you'll tackle advanced techniques including HDR and panoramas.


  • Beginners ready to get off auto mode
  • Intermediate photographers looking to improve
  • Photographers ready to tackle landscape photography as a new genre

SOFTWARE USED: Adobe Lightroom CC 2015, Adobe Photoshop CC 2015


As a third-generation photographer, Marc Muench has spent nearly 30 years working as a landscape and sports photographer. His work has appeared on the cover of publications like Time, National Geographic, Traveler, Outside, Sierra Magazine and more. In addition to shooting, he leads photography workshops around the world. He teaches with a mix of technical and creative details and personal insight.


  1. Class Introduction

    In the past, landscape photography wasn't considered even considered a profession. But, today is one of the best times to be a landscape photographer. Learn why -- and meet your instructor in this intro lesson.

  2. The Nature of Landscape Photography

    Landscape photography and nature are inseparable. In this lesson, learn why bonding with nature is essential to landscape photography, along with factors like an eye, scale, and how to take a critique.

  3. Finding Your Eye

    Seeing in photography has an entirely different definition. In this lesson, learn how to refine your eye for photographs and develop your individual style.

  4. Gear Bag

    What's in a landscape photographer's gear bag? What focal lengths are best for nature photography and landscapes? Learn what's typically in Marc's bag on a shoot, from the DSLR camera body, wide-angle lenses, and longer lenses to accessories like tripods, neutral density filters (ND filters), and polarizing filters. Then, learn what non-photo accessories are also helpful, like a headlamp.

  5. The Creative Trinity

    The subject, composition, and light work together in what Marc calls the Creative Trinity. Learn why the subject should be considered first, and why composition and light come second for digital photography.

  6. Scale

    Scale creates a sense of size to the image -- and often, a sense of drama. Learn how to understand size to create depth and drama -- then play with scale as a visual trick. In this lesson, Marc shares landscape photography tips using scale and proportion, like adding a person to instantly create a sense of scale.

  7. Light and Timing

    The time of day can play a big role in the results of that final image, including the amount of light in the photograph. But while most photographers pack up after golden hour and sunset, Marc says that often means missing the best part of the day. In this lesson, learn the stages to sunset and sunrise and tricks to working with low light and night photography. Then, learn "drills" or exercises you can do to improve your own timing by learning your digital camera's controls. Discover why your timing on that shutter button is still essential, even with landscapes.

  8. The Technical Trinity

    Aperture or f-stop, shutter speed and ISO all work together to create a balanced exposure -- but they also play a role in other areas of the image as well. Master the camera settings -- as well as depth of field, dynamic range, and camera stability -- using the Technical Trinity.

  9. Metering, White Balance, and Depth of Field

    Metering inside manual mode is a process -- pick up those essential steps in this lesson. Figure out how to read that histogram, then, work with white balance (and the way the white balance can be thrown off my ND filters). Finally, control how much of your image is in focus with depth of field.

  10. Shutter Speed

    While also balancing the exposure, shutter speed will freeze or blur any motion in the image, from the clouds in the sky to the waves on the ocean. Determine when to use a slow shutter speed for blur, and when fast shutter speeds work best. Gain insight into choosing the right shutter speed for the scene and when to compromise with ISO.

  11. Focus

    Where do you focus in a landscape image? What focus modes do you use? Walk through the best focus settings for landscape photography and gain the know how to get those tack sharp photos.

  12. The Vocabulary of Composition Part 1

    Composition uses several different terms and even guidelines like the Rule of Thirds. Master essential elements to composition by learning what draw's the viewer's eye, like shapes, lines, focus, texture, and more.

  13. The Vocabulary of Composition Part 2

    Continue delving into composition and drawing the eye. Work with point-of-view, depth of field, contrast, color -- and use focus to draw the viewer's eye into the ideal part of the composition. Learn why not every landscape photograph needs a narrow depth of field.

  14. Techniques in the Field: Scouting

    Most great landscape photographs aren't just stumbled upon. Scouting is the process of looking for scenes that create great landscapes. And without deadlines and restrictions, scouting can be a creative exercise. But scouting is more than simple exploring -- here's how to set up for success in scouting.

  15. Pre-visualization

    Seeing a photo in your mind before you actually take it is called pre-visualization. This helps you make the right choices when planning, like when to shoot. Gain insight into planning the shot -- and tackling the unexpected opportunities -- in this lesson.

  16. Bracketing

    What happens when one exposure isn't enough? Bracketing will capture multiple shots of the same image, adjusting the exposure each time. Bracketing allows for techniques like HDR and can also be helpful if you're just not sure hot to get the histogram right. Learn when to use bracketing, what settings to use, and the best practices for capturing a bracketed series.

  17. Tilt Shift Lens

    The tilt-shift lens is a fun creative lens -- and you only need a few minutes to learn before shooting. Discover tips for working with tilt-shift, like shifting instead of tilting and working with the wider point of view.

  18. Long Exposures

    Long exposures are a landscape photography favorite. Determine what gear you need, how long to make the exposure, and tricks to shooting with slow shutter speeds.

  19. Post Processing: Importing into Lightroom

    Start fine-tuning those landscape shots inside Adobe Lightroom. Learn how to add photos to Lightroom, how to organize images, and tips for adding images to make them easy to find later.

  20. Lightroom Catalog Setup

    With your photos into Lightroom, set up your catalog for success. In this lesson, learn how to sort and rate images, frequently used keyboard shortcuts, and the various stages of editing. Work with collections and catalogs inside Lightroom.

  21. Color Correction

    Gain insight into best practices for color correction for landscape pictures. Learn the gear that color corrects your monitor and how to decide what's too much color and what's not enough.

  22. Develop Module

    Dive into post-processing with Lightroom's Develop module. Learn how to use Lightroom tools to turn RAW files into the spectacular scene you remember. Work with camera profiles, cropping, curves, the histogram, and more.

  23. Basic and HSL Panel

    Continue fine-tuning your images using the Basic panel with sliders for exposure, contrast and more. Then, work inside the HSL panel to work with individual colors.

  24. Filters - Regional Dynamics

    Filters aren't just physical tools you use in the field. Lightroom's different filter tools apply adjustments to only portions of the image. Learn how to adjust specific areas of the photograph -- not the entire photo -- in this lesson.

  25. Merge HDR Images

    Combining bracketed shots in Lightroom creates an image with high dynamic range. Learn how to finish the HDR technique using the merge tool inside Lightroom. Start with grouping the images, then learn how to edit with HDR.

  26. Stitching Images and Manual Blending

    Craft a panorama from multiple images. Use Photoshop to stitch a panorama. In this lesson, Marc teaches a simple stitch method. Then, work with advanced Photoshop methods like a manual stitching process for more complex HDR images.

  27. Converting to Black and White

    Black and white can create powerful landscape photography -- but the colors don't always transfer over to the right shade of gray. Determine whether or not to convert an image or leave it in color. Then, control the results using Lightroom's tools.


Jeff McPheeters

This was my first class with Creative Live and also my first exposure to landscape photographer Marc Meunch. I've been a photographer for many years, an educator in science and technical fields for more than two decades, and a lifelong learner of the craft of making photographs. I am pretty picky when it comes to educational resources and when it involves recommending something that I want to reflect my own standards of excellence. That said, I came with an open mind, with some expectation that I would learn a few tricks, but also with the understanding that after spending thousands of hours in books and online courses as well as direct workshop and tutorials from a range of photographer workshops, Adobe training, KelbyOne and other professional organizations, that some of what I'd hear would be stuff I'd already known. My first impression was positive, as I think Creative Live did a good job explaining the purpose, intent, and scope of the workshop, as well as giving me a good idea of the speaker's credentials. As the session begin on Day 1, I was immediately impressed with the quality of the technical aspects of the live feed. It was like I was there. The sound quality was outstanding. The video streamed effortlessly and I only have wireless access to the Internet. I'm not on high speed wired cable. The bandwidth can fluctuate, yet it worked extremely well. The speaker, Marc Meunch, was relaxed, engaging, professional, and possessed such a comprehensive and deep understanding of the topic that I felt extremely lucky to have been told about this workshop. I don't think I've ever been able to watch someone who was so masterful in their presentation, so thorough in their organization and outline, so enthusiastic about their work, so passionate about the craft of landscape portraiture, or so articulate and engaging with the audience; at least in the realm of Photography. I'd jump at any chance to listen to Marc Meunch again; and especially to attend one of his outdoor workshops. One of the unique aspects of this workshop was that Marc uses some video clips from his outdoor workshops to illustrate what he's talking about in the classroom. Very effective. And the slides he chooses to share are effective and easy to understand. It's very inspiring to watch Marc present ideas and illustrate them through his own work, showing before and after and alternate compositions to demonstrate the point he's making. Day 1 was so good that before it was over I'd already purchased the two day workshop. I was that certain it was worth the cost. Frankly, I'm not sure I'd find a class like this for under $100/day. This is a pretty good deal. Day 2 was equal in usefulness and inspiration as Day 1. The discussion of gear selection and scouting techniques along with the introduction to his Lightroom and Photoshop workflow was very helpful and would be especially apropos to someone getting more serious about their landscape work but not very experienced with Lightroom or Photoshop, even perhaps a little intimidated by the prospect of needing to learn those two software giants, because Marc shows the power and easy of learning them. I was pleased I was able to attend and even more pleased I can watch these over and over and study points I didn't quite grasp the first time through. I highly recommend this course. The viewer will be inspired and encouraged as a result. Marc doesn't make it look easy; rather he makes landscape photography look fun and exciting and worthy of the effort and time to find ones own style and vision, clearly imparting the practical how-to's to aid each person in their own journey to make it more enjoyable and satisfying.

a Creativelive Student

I don't like writing reviews. Seems like everyone just wants to hear that everything was... awesome. So, let me try to be specific about what I liked: I thought that the concept of the creative trinity was brilliant. I thought that Marc's presentation on composition was the best I've ever seen. His ideas on having a theme for shooting was inspiring because it was simple. He also had some great tips on light. The other thing I appreciated about Marc's presentation was the wide variety of locations shown and his knowledge of them. I also am always interested to learn more about the people that have inspired presenters. Sometimes, it feel like CL classes are aimed at the lowest experience levels. But, as someone else said in review... there is always a nugget or two and review is beneficial. I wish Marc was more animated. He's obviously very self contained and reflective -- gotta be who you are, right? I have purchased Marc's class, the Shive class, and Art Wolf's class. All have had different benefits. I wish they would do others and take complexity up a notch -- specifically, helping others understand the planning necessary... how they find reliable contacts to guide them and what those things cost. How they are transporting all the gear they carry. More specific information on permits, camping gear, dealing with adverse conditions, etc. And, more information on how they get different images of frequently photographed locations.


I happend to stumble upon the course by an email. I clicked on it and realized that Mark had come to my town (Sitka,Alaska) to do a trip with my good friend. So I thought I'd watch a bit. After awhile I realized this is good, way good. So I shot a lot of that day just eating it up. The director would come on every bit and say there was a show price. I thought well I'll just watch. Then on the second day he did some things that the announcer said he had never seen. I thought the same thing. So I bought. I have been shooting for 40 years and I still LOVE to learn. A noted psychologist said "We are happiest when we are learning" and I couldn't agree more. Thank you Creative Live for offering these courses. I live on an Island in Southeast Alaska with 14 miles of road. BUT I can be a front row student with some of the best teachers in the world. Thank You! Also a Huge thank you to Mark. It takes a ton of time to do this, and Im sure you get tired of the same questions again and again, but it truly changes the lives of us who love this type of life.