The net is littered with tips to improve your landscape photography. Just look at the number of articles that appear when you type “Tips to improve your landscape photography” into Google. Many of them are generic & repetitive and are usually solely created to fill space on photography websites.
I have one simple tip that I hold above all others – I have repeated it many times and make no apology for doing so again. Hopefully, the info which follows demonstrates why.
I was out and about on a long lonely drive for work. As usual, with no radio on, my mind started wandering to photography. It had been an age since I created something I really liked. Each December, I pick a set of top 10 images from the year. Firstly, to look back at whilst I pat myself on the back for a job well done. Secondly, & more importantly, to make comparisons against my work from the year previous. Each year I see slight progress which is encouraging enough to keep me going.
I started to worry! Without the computer to hand, it was a struggle to think of 10 images that would better the work of 2016. I was in trouble.
I recently attended a presentation of Bruce Percy’s in Belfast. A hugely enjoyable 2 hours, it left me with very conflicting emotions. Firstly, “should I sell the camera now” because I will never be that good, followed by “Of course I can get there, I just need to stick at it”.
One of the main things that stuck out in my mind was his attitude to progression & improvement. He maintains he still sees improvement in his own work each year. A former musician, Bruce compared photography to music. He claims that many photographers/musicians continue to improve until they reach a Plateau and just continue doing the same repetitive things. Eventually their work deteriorates. He maintains his time in photography has a definitive lifespan. Once he feels he has reached that stage, he will stop making images forever rather than live in the shadow of former works.
I’m no Bruce Percy, but will this be the first year I don’t see progression? Am I on a slippery slope? If so, what has gone wrong? I started to run through various different aspects of what might have changed in 2017.
Camera & lenses = same
Filters = same
Locations = same
In Field Technique = same
Post Processing = always room for improvement
Printing = now doing my own = helped identify some post processing issues
Time In Field = Less
There is was, the answer staring me in the face. I’ve not been getting out for landscapes as much as I had been previously and it has started to show in my work. I’ve joined a new camera club this year who hold a lot more competitions than my previous club. Landscapes don’t always get their just rewards in club competition and my photography focus had shifted slightly in an effort to compete. Learning how to process for printing had also taken a fair bit of my time and I still have a fair bit still to learn.
I simply haven’t been getting out into the landscape as often as I had previously…..
I haven’t gotten any worse, I’ve just not put the same level of effort in.
Tips To Improve Your Landscape Photography
If you are like me, and find yourself not getting out enough…. Forget all the other tips to improve your landscape photography such as new gear, post processing tutorials etc. Simply get out there regularly and “Put yourself in danger of getting that image”.
I now knew the problem, and more importantly I also knew the solution.
One week and 3 shoots covering the length of the country later. I now have two very strong images which will be fighting hard to get into my top ten this year. In my opinion, they are as good as if not better than some of the works which made the shortlist last year. All’s not lost, so tune in early 2018 to see the final short-list.