I don’t want to be a landscape photographer anymore.
That’s it; I’ve had enough. I don’t want to do this anymore. For years now, I’ve put myself into a category of a landscape photographer, but I’m not. And I can’t understand why I have to be.
Photography is not about a genre. It’s not about labels, and it’s not about putting yourself into a box where people come and choose from. Photography is essentially the same for every photographer; it’s about how you capture a moment in time about a subject or story and try to convey that to other people, or even just yourself.
You only have one job to do
All photographers only have got one job to do, manage the light. Whether that be from the sun, the moon, the stars or an artificial light source. It is not any more challenging to manage an artificial light than it is to time your shoot for when the sun has the right intensity and colour. (See how I did this in Deadvlei.)
There is no difference; the only thing that needs to happen is practice. You need to understand technically how to use your equipment, but surely that’s the same for any job, I wouldn’t expect a painter not to know how to use a brush or a musician not to understand how to play their instrument. The only difference that makes you any better than anyone else is practice and that other thing they call talent.
Some people can see an image and compose it immediately; others take their time to decide which composition or story to tell, both may end up with just as compelling images as each other as this is just an approach to getting the job done. There is no right and wrong. When you think about how to start taking photos, do whatever your head tells you to. You don’t need to do what you read in a book. Nor listen to someone say on YouTube. That’s because it is their approach, and it might not suit you.
What do I take photographs of?
When I started taking photographs, I just started shooting whatever I could. I did that so I could get to know the equipment. Understand the basics of how you can change a capture. Try just modifying one setting on your camera, that’s a perfect way to learn.
After you know your equipment then just take photos of what you are passionate about, be that as a landscape photographer or otherwise! That can be one or many things. I am an outdoors type person, I like landscapes, wildlife, and I love to travel, so I have lots of choices. You might like cats, so go and take photos of your cats, your friend’s cats or any cat for that matter. Make your own style and focus (camera pun) on getting the best images you can of that chosen subject.
The most important thing is that you enjoy taking the images. You should convey what was in your mind when you saw the photo before you pressed the shutter release.
Don’t let social media be your judge
When you capture a good image, and you feel proud of your work, be careful about how you get feedback. Social media can be a ruthless place, as can be the photography sharing sites and apps. Remember that if someone has thousands of followers and gets hundreds of likes for a photo, that doesn’t make them a great photographer, it just means they have reach.
When you post out, and you get 14 likes, and no comments and you were sure this one was going to be the one. Remember it never works like that. Also, remember that friends and family will most likely not give you an honest opinion about something if it offends you. I am happy to post out my work and hope at least one person feels they have a connection with it.
My images would be better if I have more gear!
I read this a lot on forums etc. People somehow think if they have the latest, most expensive, gadgety camera, then it will take fabulous images. Nothing can be further from the truth. Camera’s don’t take images, you do. What camera should I buy? The one that you can afford and does the job you need it to. It’s simple unless you have a specific requirement for a feature then almost any camera (DSLR) on the market will do.
I would consider spending money on the lenses rather than the camera. Lenses are what give you sharpness, range and quality; cameras just process the light into an image. What more gear do you need? Well, that depends on what you want to shoot, see here on how I recently left with FAAAR too much gear on this trip. Start with the basics, but for me, a good sturdy tripod is a must, this is the one I currently use here.
Landscape photographer…Final thoughts
So, that’s it; I don’t want to be a landscape photographer anymore. I just want to be a photographer. I just want to capture images that I feel tell a story or may appeal to others. Travel, Wildlife, Portrait, Landscape and Astro. I enjoy them all, give it a go and let me know which you like best!