What is Landscape Photography?
Fencing on The Ranch
For me, the most fundamental part of taking good landscape photos is knowing what landscape photography is in the first place. I’m not talking about dictionary definitions here, either — what matters is how it works in practice. So, what is landscape photography, and why is it so amazing?
1) Defining landscape photography
Have you ever been out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature, without a single person around? It’s a crazy feeling. You can look around the world, and you feel like you’re a part of it — and that is landscape photography.
Landscape photography is capturing an image that embodies the spirit of the outdoors, an animal or people. It carries a sense of being there to see something incredible. When viewers look at your work, their hearts should jump. You want them to feel the same emotions that you felt when taking the photograph either standing in the middle of nature, a herd of alpacas or that special look of someone when they don’t know they are being photographed.
Landscape photography is spending all day watching a storm gather, telling yourself that the sunset will be incredible, and then returning home with that perfect photo.
It’s about leaving your tripod in the car because there aren’t any clouds in the sky, then seeing one of the most spectacular sunsets of your life.
Both of these are commonplace in landscape photography. And, although it seems infuriating, all of this is part of the excitement. Why? Because, when you finally capture the image that you had in mind, it means something.
The modern definition of landscape photography is very broad. Land or sea, urban or nature, alive or dead, big or small — by some measures, if you call it landscape photography, it is. You might say that this definition is too open, but it also has a certain truth to it. When you try to restrict the definition of landscape photography, you’re placing limits around something that should be creative and boundless.
I love landscape photography and have been doing it since I was 12 – although I didn’t know it at the time. I love talking to people about it, studying their photos, and learning from them and seeing the world through their eyes.
Very few people want to wake up at 5 AM to see a place at its most beautiful — but you can always count on a handful of dedicated sleepy photographers to be there. It may seem like a lonely pursuit to stand next to your tripod in the middle of the mountains, with no other signs of civilization as far as you can see. Yet, at times like these, I have never felt more alive.
Landscape photography is about wilderness, objects, people or just something that tickles you’re fancy. When you bring a viewer into a scene, giving them a sense of the world that you saw, that is landscape photography.