Time moves on so quickly and there's not been a new blog since June 2018! This is absolutely outrageous of course and will be rectified immediately, with the plan to publish at least one per month moving forward.
I was recently asked a very simple question, what would be your top five photography tips? My workshop experience suggests that the following may point you in the right direction.
1. Less is more. Many people that attend my workshops complain that their pictures have no mood or impact, that they just look like snaps.It’s important to really develop an eye for composition; rather than just pointing and shooting at the landscape or chosen subject, take your time to break down the scene in to a few basic components that perhaps lead the viewer in to your images in a pleasing way.
2. Keep it simple. Often when people are starting out they worry about having every focal length covered in their kit bag. For example, a wide lens, standard lens, telephoto, superzoom, the list goes on!! It does come with experience, but my favourite thing is just to head out and explore with a camera and just one prime lens, for landscape, perhaps a 24mm. People can find this frustrating at first, but I find that using a prime lens really makes you work for your composition, allowing us to give it more thought and immerse oneself fully in the landscape. Finding your favourite focal length for this will depend on your own development.
3. Don’t make images for ‘likes’! In this age of social media, people become disappointed if their images aren’t getting many likes. The truth is that social media, in particular mobile phones are not the best way to view photographs. People are simply scrolling though and if something isn’t instantly eye catching it will get passed by, of course there are methods to make images more suitable for social media but it’s kind of futile. Shoot what you want, what makes you happy, the image should be about the final print, not superficial likes!
4. Get out and explore. Having a plan is great, setting a date and turning up for a sunrise shoot for example is what landscape photography is all about, we chase the good light. However, in reality, we can be hugely let down when the day comes around. I say don’t put too much pressure on yourself, just enjoy and explore the landscape, you may find another composition that you can shoot another time in more favourable conditions. Or look the other way, I’ll often turn up at iconic spots and shoot in completely the opposite direction or find something that hasn’t been done before. Most of my favourite images have been found by properly exploring an area, don’t be a sheep ;)
5. When people pick up their first digital camera they are often completely baffled by the amount of buttons and menu systems. Realise that in actual fact you only need to worry about aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and their relationship, attend a camera club or workshop to get the basics nailed! (Yes I run workshops).
I hope that gives a little food for thought, I know it's brief but the next newsletter will be available soon with details that I'm currently pulling together for an Autumn in Assynt workshop, it's going to be an amazing adventure with many, many locations scouted and waiting in what for me is the UK's most varied and dramatic area for landscape photography.