There will always be an argument of what mode is the best one to shoot in.
I am not going to go into all of those modes, since I mostly shoot in manual mode. Which is the preferred mode for many landscape photographers.
But the important thing is to step away from automatic mode, even if that may sound scary for a beginner.
In automatic mode the camera is in charge of how the photo will end up, but instead you will want to be in charge of that.
The two most common modes to do that for landscape photography are aperture-priority and manual mode.
These may look differently on your mode dial, depending on what camera you are using.
In aperture-priority you set the aperture manually, while the camera sets the correct shutter speed so that the photo will be exposed properly.
The aperture-priority mode works well in most landscape photography. Yet I find that mastering the manual mode, where I take control of all the functions myself, makes me more certain that I will get the end product that I want.
And I will for that reason go more detailed into the manual mode.
In manual mode you will have to set up exposure, shutter speed and ISO manually.
And even if that may sound difficult, it is actually easier than one should think.
Most modern cameras have what is called metering, and is a very sophisticated tool at the bottom showing 3 2 1 0 1 2 3 when looking into the viewfinder.
When photographing, this tool will tell you if the camera settings are set up properly with shutter speed and aperture to get the best exposure.
If the arrow, which will show up under the numbers when focusing is to the left, the exposure is too dark. And to the right the exposure is too bright.
Let us say it is at +1, so too bright. Then you will have to adjust the settings by for instance increasing the F stop to let less light in and by doing so making the shot darker.
When the arrow is at the middle, the exposure is correct and you are ready to shoot.
You can also use this tool to underexpose or overexpose the shot if that is preferred. I often lean towards -1 when I shoot some of my more moody photos, to get it a bit darker already before the post processing.
By default the metering is set to evaluative / matrix metering where it evaluates the light in the whole frame, and this works well in most landscape photography.
But you can also narrow it down to center-weighted metering where the camera evaluates the light in the middle of the frame.
Or spot metering, where it evaluates the light on just one focus point.
So what are the best settings to shoot landscape photography and at the same time having that arrow in the middle of the metering?
That all depends on the time of the day and the light.
A good rule is to start around f10-f14 and ISO 100. This will give you a wide depth of field and for that reason both a sharper forground and background, yet not making the shot too dark. Then adjust the shutter speed to get the metering correct.
I often shoot in the evening light, which I find looks best for landscape photography. If you use wider aperture like for instance f4, you will catch more light.
The lower F stop, the more light lets in to the camera. But at the same time the corners will not be as sharp as you would like. By adjusting to a higher F stop more of the photo will be in focus and the end result will be a sharper image throughout.
On ISO, the lower number the less light is letting in.
Modern cameras will let you adjust the ISO pretty high, but at the same time you will get more noise into the photography.
If you prefer shooting at night time catching the Milky way or the Northern light you will have to adjust it a bit differently.
Then you will want to catch as much light as possible, and the settings may for instance be F2.8 and ISO 1600.
This will let a lot of light in, but will at the same time add some noise to the photo.
The higher ISO, the more noise you will get.
If you think that the shots get too dark due to lack of light in the scene you are shooting, always avoid using the built in flash. This flash creates a rally harsh light that does not look good.
Then it is better to adjust the settings to a higher ISO. You will get some noise, yet it will still look much better than the light from the flash.