When landscape photography is your passion, it’s inevitable. There’s always a point (or two or three) at which you ask yourself whether or not you’re a “real” photographer yet. Sure, you’ve been studying everything about your craft that you can get your hands on and you seize every opportunity to generate spectacular shots… but is that really enough?

What makes the difference between a person that happens to own a camera that they occasionally use and a photographer anyway? If you’re like a lot of people, you tend to think of “real photographer” status as something you’ll attain “someday”. However, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s something that’s already happened. Here are some signs that definitely suggest you’re on the right track.

  1. It’s all about the light.

When you first started out as a landscape photographer, your main focus when it came to choosing locations was the location itself. Maybe you got really into using all of your vacation time to take road trips into the great outdoors… or perhaps you assembled a long bucket list full of pilgrimages you’d like to make all over the world.

Now it’s no longer just about making it to the location. You’re even more obsessed with being there at the optimal time of day to get your shot. Sunrise, sunset, moonrise, during eclipses – once landscape photography makes it into your soul, you’re all about the light and not just the location.

  1. Photography supplies have become your religion.

Once upon a time, you didn’t really see the difference between a cheap camera and a top-of-the-line model. After all, pictures were pictures, right? These days, you can’t believe you ever considered just forgetting about a camera altogether and simply using your iPhone. (In fact, the very memory makes you cringe.)

You wouldn’t even consider heading to a location not only without a stellar camera in tow, but also a camera bag stocked with all of your gear, as well as a tripod or two. And your disposable income? Well, let’s just say that the first place you make a beeline for when you have money in your pocket is the camera shop. You’re probably even on a first name basis with the shop owner by now.

  1. Other photographers follow your lead.

A sure sign that you’ve definitely achieved “real” landscape photographer status is that others have started to look to you as someone in the know. Have you ever gotten the feeling that other photographers are following you or mimicking what you do when you’re out on location? The chances are excellent that it’s not all in your head. They think you’re in the know as to where and how to get the best shots.

You’re probably also seen as “the photographer” within your circle of friends or your family. When the family photographer was always grandpa and suddenly you notice that grandpa’s handing the camera to you during that family vacation at the lake, you know you’ve really earned your stripes.

At the end of the day, becoming a “real” landscape photographer isn’t really something that happens suddenly. It’s something you realize happened a long time ago – the result of a process that was inevitable once photography really took up residence in your soul.