‘A Picture tells a 1000 words.’ ‘Every Picture tells a story.’ That, dear reader, is your photographic story…
It’s 2020 at the time of writing, (and now 2023(!) of course) and there are many more photos being taken each and every day than ever before. The standard of the images is increasing tenfold, it seems, each month. Phones seem to take much brighter and bolder images than standard cameras, due to heavy product investment by the mega-corporations that produce the phones. Instagram then augments the colours and takes those bright-and-bold images even further. But let’s not forget, it could be said the standard of – ah-hem, shall we say – lensmanship, is perhaps decreasing as the quality of the in-phone product increases?
Put it another way. Being blunt. The phones are taking better pictures than the actual ‘photographer’.
Point of Differentiation
So, what do we do if we proudly own Big Cameras. Call ourselves ‘Real Photographers’. What is our point of differentiation?
To my intro. Let’s get back to Telling a Story. Doing Australian landscape photography, nature photography, panoramic photography, surely we must want to convey something in our images? Each and every time? So – as you look through the viewfinder, what are you looking for? The photo should have a clear Subject. That could be the sun setting, the wave splashing, the shape of the lonely tree, etc. Isolation, Tranquility, Harmony, Peace etc
In saying that, I assume that you have landscape photography prints for sale – ‘Photos for Sale’ says your catchphrase – why should people buy them? Even if they are your friends and you are not making any money. They will only buy them if they are, in some way, better than what they can take themselves. Or at the least, very, very different.
So, to get to your point of differentiation, let’s make sure, 100% sure that the subject we have chosen absolutely jumps out of our image. That’s Your Subject and Your Photographic Story.
Show a few people your image and ask them about it – if one answer is ‘peaceful’ and another is ‘despair’ you may have a problem!
Let’s talk about Passion
There is another view to this. In addition to ‘what is your story’ – is ‘what is your passion’… If you do not genuinely love the wilds, it is very unlikely you will be able to take a great landscape photograph. I choose not to take bird photos, for instance. I love to hear birds, but I would not know a Greater Spotted Wing-Billed Throucumster from a Blue-Striped Fairy Pigifond-Wren. Hence my photos would not have passion, and I would probably give up or accept second-best.
Some further thoughts that I will add to: –
Know your Subject
I take lots of photos around Berowra, my home. I know the landscape, I know the seasons, and I know the weather patterns. So, if I want to take a photo from Barnetts Lookout, I take it in summer, within 2-3 weeks or the longest day, or the most south-westerly point of the sun’s arc.
This means my photographs of my local area will likely have ‘an edge’ over someone visiting Barnetts for the first time.
Develop your Style
In addition, over the recent years, I have noticed my work has evolved into what I might call ‘bush photography’ or ‘rural photography’. It’s still all landscape photography, but there is more of a theme. I take a rock (foreground), frame with a tree over a valley (middle ground) with a big sky (background). More on that here. If you recap most of my images, there is that theme or ‘look’ that I have developed.
You won’t find too many Sydney Opera House photos on here, (or on my Facebook or Instagram) and not as many seascapes. If I did spend time developing my portfolio on the Opera House, it would likely take a while before I was any good at it. Many, many other landscape photographers would have the edge over me.
… to be continued …
Like anything else in life, to stand out, you have to be different. If you were to make hand-embroidered football-emblem winter-coats for cats, you could very well be a market leader very quickly. But in a very small market! However this is photography in 2021, with everyone, and I mean everybody, having a phone.
It’s your time to think!
I hope you have enjoyed this one of my photography tips, and that this will help you on you journey to taking beautiful landscape photography – and that your photos tell a story… your photographic story.
Andrew Barnes – the rural photographer. (or the bush photographer!)