Over the years I have been interested in many subjects and styles of photography. It is no real secret that I am an eclectic photographer and any chance to take a photo is one I crave. I try to find the beauty in everything I see, and capturing it in one perfect shot during one perfect moment brings me so much joy. Every time I get a shot just right the excitement to jump on the computer and edit it is rivaled only by wanting to see if I can find more beauty and get more photos.
My favourite style is probably landscape photography. While all the others are often exciting and fast paced, this is the one that probably brings me as equal excitement as it does joy and peace. It is one of those styles of photography that forces you to encapsulate the beautiful phenomena that is macro-level beauty. Landscape takes all of the small beautiful pieces of the world and combines them into one awe-inspiring image of the world. It is the kind of beauty that leaves you awestruck. The kind of beauty that leaves one word in your mind that whispers off of your tongue: Wow.
Now, while I love this style of photography for its tranquility and the beautiful result, it has its own pitfalls: it is extremely easy to run out of new places to take photos if you can’t travel far, and it is easy to stick to the same few perfect locations. This can be frustrating for anyone seeing stunning photos of places you could only wish to see one day. For me, any picture of Paris, the Rockies, or Norway makes me supremely jealous. Fortunately, I live close enough to the Rockies that it is a very real possibility to get photos out there. Being surrounded by the work of photographers in places like Europe, where amazing locations seem to fill every street corner, can be daunting and frustrating.
What I have had to learn over time is that landscapes can be beautiful almost anywhere. Just because you have yet to find the next stunning spot does not mean they aren’t near you. Just because you have yet to find a way to make the landscapes near you beautiful does not mean it is not possible. Part of the fun and part of the challenge of landscape photography is making landscapes that one might not look twice at into one that makes jaws drop. Finding the beauty where others do not initially see it is the talent of a great photographer.
Finding new places is part of the fun, and it gives you an amazing opportunity to reconnect with nature, or even the more subdued areas of urban life. Wherever your preference is for landscape, I’ve learned it is your choice to find the beauty and your dedication to the search that will help you build a portfolio of unique and fun images that will cause people to look at your work. “Wow”’ is not just for those who can utilize recognizable landmarks that people identify with, but of the interpretation of beauty and translating that to your audience.
To shift topics slightly, one of the concepts that is often addressed by professionals who create landscape photos for companies and fine art is that they all seem to lean into a “one true” weather formula for succeeding in creating stunning images. What I’ve noticed is that a great photographer leans into the weather their presented with and makes it work for their vision. Let the weather and landscape help to mold your creative vision. Moving fluidly with the situation at hand will challenge you and push you to work outside of your comfort zone. It will teach you so many different skills and allow you to diversify your work. To create awe, inspiration, and passion use sunsets and sunrises to your advantage. To create desolation and unease, or succeed in black and white or desaturation, utilize winter, cloudy days, darkness, and rain. To create warmth, joy, and peace use early morning and late afternoon sunlight. Almost any kind of weather can create a beautiful landscape if you know what your end goal is for the photo.
The next tip I will provide it to learn from as many photographers as you can. Attempting to recreate their styles will help you grow. Remember, however, not to be tricked by their “one best way” because it can limit your art and your creativity by boxing you into their way of thinking. Let your mind thrive into the unexpected, and let yourself be challenged by difficult locations, weather, and situations. Experiment until you find what works best with particular locations and your developing style.
Finally, keep looking for your next work of art. Do not be discouraged by your progress. While landscape is one of the more accessible mediums by virtue of little human interaction, it’s not as easy as it appears: You do need to practice to train your eye to see the world and say “Wow” before you even take the shot, and you need to learn how to work your landscape (structure your photos so that they translate the aspects that made you stop and take the photo). If you can say “Wow” then your audience will too.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment or reach out to us on our social media! Use the hashtag #capturecreatecommunity and tag us on Instagram or twitter to show us your work, and answer the question for us: What challenges have you had shooting landscape photos, and how have you overcome them? Happy shooting!