Shooting landscapes is much like shooting fashion

landscape, foggy, alberta, golden, road, trail, summer, rural, trees, Dan Jurak, fog, yellow, horizontal,

In another life, many, many years ago I took fashion photos for a living. It’s not something that I ever aspired to. I kind of fell into it. Long story short, I was asked to shoot fashion along with still life photography which was where my interests really lay.

When I look back on it, the idea of learning to photograph fashion and share the results of your lessons with hundreds of thousands of people every week was an unlikely thing to happen.

The first shoot I did was with a local model who spent a lot of time overseas, in Europe mostly. We had a makeup artist, the fashion editor had chosen a location, an old mansion with Greek style columns or pillars out front of the building.

When the model first showed up she wasn’t wearing any makeup, wearing street clothes and her hair looked ordinary. Kind of disappointing I thought but maybe all fashion shoots were like this?

Half an hour later we were standing out front of the old mansion with afternoon light being softly filtered through the tall elms behind me. Sara, was her name, leaned against one of the pillars and without me saying a word fluidly moved in a series of poses from one to the next.

Looking through my camera viewfinder the transformation was incredible. With makeup done, hair styles and wearing light and fashionable summer wear it was hard to believe that this was the same person I had met a short while ago.

Wow! This was incredibly easy I thought to myself. The shoot continued on for a while changing outfits and then I did one of the most stupid things that I have ever done during a photoshoot. Back then we were shooting film, rolls of 36. In my excitement I had forgotten to reload the camera and made some dumb excuse to have Sara change back into a few outfits under the pretence that I had some other ideas for the outfits.

How dumb I was! I was so busy talking and trying to get the right angle, pose, whatever that I never realized that I was just clicking the shutter for no good reason. Practice makes perfect eh? LOL

When I got back to the studio and had the film processed, the photos looked like something out of an Italian Vogue magazine. Wow, I impressed myself with how good I was.

Reality check for Dan.

My next photoshoot was with a new model just learning the ropes and this was a different experience totally. It was up to me to try and get her to relax and move fluidly the way Sara had done before. This was definitely NOT as easy as I had made it out to be.

Over the following years I think that I got better at shooting fashion. I really enjoyed it but it would never have been something that I would have pursued on my own.

There are similarities between fashion and landscape photography. They might not be obvious but they are there nonetheless.

Where I usually photograph landscapes during the middle of the day under harsh sunlight and clear skies the land looks normal and nothing out of the ordinary. But almost anyplace on earth be transformed the way Sara transformed herself with the right light and weather and I really enjoy the challenge of finding the extraordinary from the ordinary.

Perhaps that is why I so seldom travel to the mountains. If you can capture beautiful and extraordinary landscapes where you live, just think of what you are capable of when you travel to places that are like supermodels!

Happy shooting,


ps. The dumb thing that I did with the camera with NO film being exposed, I repeated a few more times. Rack it up to learning. We were all beginners once upon a time and some of us are very, very slow learners. 🙂 So take heart, if I can do it, anyone can.



~ by Dan Jurak on May 15, 2018.

3 Responses to “Shooting landscapes is much like shooting fashion”

  1. Beautiful photograph, beautiful lighting!

  2. Thank you Iris.

  3. You’re very welcome!!

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