“Be true to yourself.” It’s something that we’re all told from the time we’re little kids. However, before you can be yourself, you must discover who you really are. Part of learning to recognize and appreciate your own unique voice as a human being is figuring out what really moves you and lights a fire in your soul.
When that “something” is landscape photography, you know it from the time you pick up your first camera and take your very first shot. But to give your photography a true heartbeat of its own, you’ll eventually need to discover your “voice” as a landscape photographer as well. Here’s how you can go about accomplishing that.
- Find out what speaks to you and then reproduce it in your own way.
No, it’s not being suggested that you copy other people’s work or rip off another landscape photographer’s unique style. However, it’s important to note that human beings do learn (at first) by observing and imitating others. Take some time to sit down and really start looking at other photographer’s work. Acknowledge the ideas and styles you like, as well as the ones you don’t like. Study the details as to how those photographers got those effects. Then keep all of that in mind as you explore the wonderful world around you in search of incredible shots that are all your own.
- Be open to inspiration at all times.
Any artist will tell you that once art and creativity take up residence in your soul, you start seeing the world differently. This is no less the case with landscape photography. You start looking at absolutely everything in more detail. When you’re out in nature, you start noticing things you normally wouldn’t. You begin to see that inspiration is everywhere and that it can occur at absolutely any time, so it’s important to have your camera at the ready always. Eventually you start to notice distinct patterns as far as what really gets your creative engines revving.
- Go out, explore, and get shooting.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to excellent landscape photography with a distinct voice of its own. The more you shoot, the better you’ll become at mastering the practicalities of your favorite techniques. The more time you spend exploring nature and walking the streets in search of opportunities to capture moments, the better you’ll become at not only recognizing great shots, but knowing where you’re most likely to find them as well. Be open to exploring. Don’t stick to the beaten trail. Take a chance on the more obscure hiking trail or the back road most people don’t take. Sometimes that’s where the most exciting shots are hiding.
At the end of the day, developing a unique voice as a landscape photographer is largely about tuning into your intuition and listening to what it has to say when you go out shooting. After that, it’s a matter of practicing until you nail the skill part of the equation.