There are so many categories of photography that it can be difficult choosing which one to become skilled in.
The mainstream photography jobs (such as for magazines, food reviews and tabloid newspapers) all use the art of timing and angles to get the best shot. However, landscape photography is rarely thought of as something that could be built on for a career. This is because landscapes can be one of the easiest photographic subjects, which is constant and reliable more so than a living subject. However, it’s much more than just the right lighting, aperture, exposure and compelling locations. It’s about capturing the rawness of the world, without the need to do any after-effect touches to the photographs. Landscape photography can be political, philosophical and cultural all at the same time.
Learn from the best
One of the greatest landscape photographers in the world, Peter Lik, has shown that immersion into the photograph is the most important. You want to be sucked into the photograph’s location and feel like you’re there. Therefore there must be realism and living aspect of the picture. The depth of field is incredibly important to pull the viewer in. The landscape and objects right at the back of a shot must feel just as viable and touchable as those at the front. The best way to do this is to select a small aperture setting on your camera which increases the depth of field. However since the focus of the camera is now being stretched out further, it’s important to keep a steady hand. Lighting becomes subject to the time of the day because far away objects will be darker than those close.
The world is alive and moving, and contrary to what artistic choices might have been demanded decades ago, people in art galleries want the photographs to have flair. Most people think landscape photography is about capturing the calm and serene beauty of an environment. But to convey movement, you must select a longer shutter speed, and most of the time, this means by a generous amount of seconds. Undoubtedly, this will mean light has much more of an impact on the photograph, but even sunset shots can be rectified and properly managed with light reflectors and sunlight being reflected from thick white clouds. Ocean and other moving water shots are some of the most difficult to master but look spectacular as it seems like life has been frozen in time and the power of nature exposed.
Don’t be generic
Refrain from taking a landscape shot from a wide angle. Capturing everything sometimes takes away from the beauty of fine detail. It becomes almost unnatural to get every single aspect of a landscape in one shot. For example, you may be wanting to take a picture of a hill; this doesn’t mean you should also get the houses of people living in the area, the cars, sheep, trees, and lakes all in one go. There is no ‘money shot’ in landscape photography, as the whole point should be capturing a slice of the world. Don’t be generic, and try to replicate what the human eye can see, rather than the capabilities of the camera.
Landscape photography is truly a niche, and not everyone will get the premise. The world is imperfect, and capturing the faults and the triumphs of mother nature, is what it’s all about. Timing and knowing the correct settings for your camera, together pairing it with timing and location, are what sets up a great landscape shot.
This is a contributed article written for WhimMagazine.com