Here’s One Key Ingredient to Creating Great Landscape Photographs

Are you consistently happy with your landscape photographs or are you always feeling you could have done better?

Most photographers can usually find an image to be proud of from every photo session but it’s those times when you have more images to be unhappy about that are cause for concern.

It’s natural to wonder what you might be doing wrong that spurs a search for answers. Careful examination of how you work when in the field might point to a number of different things but one that is quite consistent with bad images is how time is spent with the subjects.

Since we all want to make photographs that are masterpieces, here’s one thing that you can change today about how you create your images.  

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How to Add a Sense of Scale to Your Landscape Photographs

When the landscape before us is wide and far reaching and stretches to the horizon, it is natural to want to frame our image to ‘take it all in.’ Many grand landscapes are captured just like this.

Sometimes to add a sense of visual depth we bring a foreground object up close in the frame to provide a better sense of how deep the scene is. However, on some occasions, your camera position may not lend itself to framing something close to the camera and it is these scenes that might require a new approach to providing that sense of grandeur.

Placing a subject close to the camera generally requires a wide angle lens and while that helps bring that foreground subject into the frame, it also can visually ‘push’ the grand scene in the background further away. But if you are zooming out to capture a segment of the grand scene, you leave out most foreground details and this can leave your image lacking that sense of immensity.

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Why Concept Photography is King?

Years ago a client showed me a corporate annual report produced for a financial investment company. The cover photo on the annual report was a stand of giant Sequoia trees shot vertically. The camera angle was from ground level and the lower half of the picture was the forest floor. Centered in the frame and close to the camera was a Sequoia seedling sprouting up through the forest floor with the ancient monarchs in the background. It was a beautiful shot!

The theme for the annual report was ‘Planting The Seeds For Long Term Growth’ and the client no doubt chose this image because it fit the concept they were looking for. The seedling in the foreground represented ‘planted seeds’ while the old growth trees in the rear of the photo represented ‘long term growth.’  Clients often search for stock images that speak visually and convey a specific message related to a theme and in this example it was a photo combining the old trees and the new tree.

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5 Tips for Creating Worthless Photography

Not every photographer is in the business to license their imagery and earn an income and profit, but for those photographers who are working hard to make a decent living, a strategy for success is crucial.

As we know creating great photography is only one small part of success as a professional nature photographer.  You also need a strategy for successfully marketing and meeting the needs of image buyers.  Images that created with more than the ‘pretty picture’ mindset can and often do perform better in the markets. But maybe that is not important.

Bottom line is if the imagery is not selling it could be that you are creating worthless photography and why it is worthless could be for many reasons and maybe these:

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The Future Professional Outdoor Photographer is………

…a storyteller!

You have certainly heard, maybe even said it yourself; anybody can take a picture! While that has always been true even before digital, the level of high quality photography is more prevalent today and easier to achieve. Why is that?

It is a combo of many things. Digital technology has made the ability to capture and process an image very easy. Software has brought many tools for interpreting a RAW file into a unique personal vision for the photographer. The web has brought us the greatest learning tools ever known. It simply is not that hard to learn how to create wonderful photography.

Yet one thing has always been there challenging professional photographers. It has been there from the early days of film to the today’s digital world. It is the biggest roadblock to success in photography.

Maintaining a current business model!

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Shoot Adventure Silhouettes for More Marketable Imagery

Often when we photograph we are concerned about good light throughout our subjects and light that provides enough detail to tell the story we want told. We might use reflectors, flash, or HDR techniques to maintain important detail with strongly lit subjects.

But there are also times when we can create simpler photographs that tell a strong story and silhouettes are easy way to do that. They can tell just as effective of a story, set a mood, or create mystery and it’s those storytelling images that buyers of imagery look for when licensing images.

Last year we ran a post on creating nature images using the silhouette technique. These images included Sajuaro cactus,  lighthouses, forests, and windmills. What’s different is these images are adventure images and add the human element, a proven ingredient of top selling images. If you are an adventure photographer then silhouettes are one more approach to telling the adventure story and create more marketable images.

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When Spectrums Collide: Selective Processing With Infra Red

by Lee Mandrell  

A Simple Infrared Selective Color Project

As they so often are, it was another perfect day in the Smoky Mountains. I’m an avid color landscape shooter, but I am always on the lookout for infrared shots as well as anything I think might separate my shots from the norm. I happened upon this scene at the end of ‘The Roaring Fork Motor Trail’, just at the edge of Gatlinburg, TN. My wife and I asked the shop owner if we could shoot the old dodge truck that resides on the property. She informed us that we could take pictures, but we had to stay on the outside of the fence, and also to let her know if we felt we got anything worthwhile. To me this meant shooting what has been shot thousands of times before me.

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Photographing With A Purpose

It’s common for photographers to wonder what they should be photographing or to ask the same of their stock agents. We all want to make money as our businesses rely on a steady stream of cash flow, but what should we photograph?

There is often no easy answer since we capture images for a client we don’t know yet if we are in the stock business. Many nature and wildlife photographers, unless on assignment, photograph what appeals to them with no client or market in mind. It can be like throwing mud and hoping it sticks.

In some ways you can look at images for license as two types: one with broad market appeal and the other with a niche market appeal.  I have done many assignments and my stock agent used to encourage me to negotiate stock usage for all my assignment images.

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Six Remarks on Composition

No one is an artist unless he carries his picture in his head before painting it,
and is sure of his method and composition.
Claude Monet

Introduction
Composition is an important aspect of good photographs. I have written about it at length in my books and my essays, and I continue to do so.  Here I want to offer some remarks about composition that I wrote recently.  These are not organized the way my essays or book chapters are.  Instead, they are simply numbered and they are not necessarily related to each other.  Read it as a loose list of items written as they crossed my mind and that I wanted to share.

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