Finding your niche in landscape photography
I learned ages ago that it was easier to execute someone else’s great idea than it was to come up with my own. You see, in photography, execution is usually easier than creativity.
When it comes down to it, landscape shooting can be formulaic. I shoot with a basic formula in mind. I have a rough idea of what elements are important in the creation of my landscapes. Study any popular artist, be it music, painting, writing or photography and if you are familiar enough with that persons work you can probably recognize it as theirs without being told.
When you’re first learning photography and shooting landscapes, I recommend to everyone to find photos that they like and copy that style. Get the light, weather and composition as close to the original creators as possible. That’s a great way to learn anything. They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery and I think that’s true. Visit most any of the popular outdoor photo forums and you’ll see what I mean. Mixed among the very bad photos by those who are just learning the craft are the ones who are a bit more advanced. Their technical execution is better. Their ability to see light and compose is better.
One thing is missing. Most or many of the landscapes look too similar. What I call the Pacific Northwest look is in vogue on those forums. It can be the American southwest, the Cascades or the Oregon coast. Too many of those photos look like they’ve been taken by the same photographer.
That’s where finding your niche comes in. I love shooting the mountain parks as much as the next person. What I don’t want to create is another, I’ve seen this a thousand times before look of Bow Lake or whatever landmark is popular. When you visit one of these places, do your darnedest to make it yours.
In one hundred years, the national parks will still be there. They’re probably not going to look much different from how they look now.
What will look vastly different is where you live. In only a few short years of shooting landscapes around my hometown, I’ve seen old farm buildings suddenly vanish. They are forever lost.
The prairie landscape where I live won’t look the same in fifty years let alone one hundred. That’s just where I am, what about where you live.
Any place on this planet can be captured in an artist, creative and unique way. Each of us has within us the ability to create. Get out where you are and stop being a follower. Be a leader. Give me created instead of copied any day.