Year after year, the landscape photography industry finds itself bombarded with all manner or apparent ‘revolutions’ and fashionable trends, which in most cases become obsolete just as fast as they appeared. While there will always be those who allow themselves to be swept away by such fads and led down entirely the wrong path, all such instances remind us if nothing else, that successful landscape photography is built on a series of timeless principles and practices which are anything but flash-in-the-pan fads.
And of all timeless traits that contribute to stellar photography, perhaps the most constant and important of all is acknowledging that you get out only what you put in.
What becomes clear over time in the business is that nothing counts more than hard work and dedication. If you’re happy to make the necessary commitment and will stop at nothing to improve your skills and abilities, you can effectively turn your back on about 99% of the complicated and convoluted rules that make landscape photography seem far more confusing than it really is.
So, if you’ve decided to make this year the year you make an extra commitment to your passion in order to take your skills and experience further, here’s a quick look at just a few examples of high-effort endeavours that rarely fail to pay dividends:
Set Your Alarm
While there’s much to be said for the ‘golden hours’ each morning and evening brings the photography community, it’s really nothing compared to the delights that await those willing to set their alarms a little earlier. There’s a spectacular point in every early morning when the dark of the night begins to give way to the rich and moody blue of the dawn, bringing to light an extraordinary palate of colours the likes of which you won’t see at any other time of the day. Of course, nine times out of ten you might find that the weather has dealt you a shoddy hand and your efforts are scuppered, but when you strike it lucky with the perfect conditions and that perfect pre-dawn period, you’ll be blessed with a genuinely incredible opportunity for capitalisation.
Wait it Out
Also on the subject of the Great British weather, it’s more than common for photographers at all levels to pack up and quit for the day the very moment the beautiful sky that was previously framing their shots becomes entirely swamped with ugly-looking clouds. There are of course many instances in which cloud cover actually improves the shot several times over, but more often than not it does little but ruin the shot you were gunning for…and so you get bummed-out and go home.
But here’s the thing – that miraculous moment when the rain stops, the cloud begins to break and the sun once again shines through, you’ll find yourself presented with one of the most stunning landscapes imaginable. What’s more, as the window only remains open for a matter of minutes, maybe even seconds, it’s also a wholly rarer type of beauty shot to gun for. Of course, the downside is the way in which it could take several hours for the clouds to break, or perhaps they won’t even break at all that day, but you’ll never know if you aren’t willing to put in the effort necessary to find out.
When you find an obvious beauty spot, it might be in your best interests to ignore it – chances are a thousand other photographers will have snapped every shot there is to take. So instead of taking that generic long-distance shot of that stunning hill or mountain, why not go several steps further and climb it yourself? The idea here being that if you venture often just a little further than the most obvious shooting locations, you may find yourself presented with opportunities the likes of which make a massive difference to the overall outcome.
Last up, landscape photography workshops may seem like a bit of a superfluous add-on for anyone that’s already pretty advanced in their skills, but in reality there isn’t a photographer in the learn that couldn’t benefit from the knowledge and experience of others from time to time. When it comes to identifying your own bad habits, picking up a few unique tips and tricks from others or simply getting your mitts on the kind of equipment you’ve been wanting to try out for ages, these affordable courses tick all the right boxes and more.