What is good landscape photography? I have asked myself this question many times. It is a subjective question as we all have different preferences. My view on what is good photography has changed over time.
I used to love sunsets on sunrises. Most photographers have shot sunsets at some stage in their career. Sunrises and sunsets have beautiful colors, and that is why so many people like this type of images. As time has gone, and I have seen thousands of sunsets I have to admit, they no longer appeal to me the same way. They no longer make me wow!
So why do I still shoot (some) sunsets? The answer is simple - they get attention from the audience on the Internet. This does not necessarily mean sunsets are good landscape photography. Colorful photos just attract people, which is what we want when we post our images on the Internet.
Are you copying other photographers to make good landscape photography?
Should you change your photography style to get a lot of Likes on Facebook and other social media sites? That is a valid question, and the answer is “it depends”. It depends what the goal with your photography is.
If your goal is to be seen and to get a lot of Likes the easy way, you should post saturated “me to” images. The problem with this is your images will look the same as everyone else - you simply don’t stand out from the rest.
A majority of images posted on the Internet are perfectly edited landscapes with (over)saturated colors. The photographers claim they try to present the reality and what they saw at the scene. Often the result is way from what I will call reality.
Anyhow, because these images get a lot of Likes, do they represent good landscape photography?
Is photography becoming more and more a competition?
If you publish your images on Facebook and 500px, a lot of people might be able to see your work. Unfortunately, Likes does not tell you a lot about how well your photography is. The audience on social media consume photos in a hurry, and very few takes the time to give any valuable feedback.
OK, so what about sites like 500px. In general this site is regarded as hosting high-quality imagery. Landscape photos on 500px are for sure of high quality, but is it good landscape photography? If the goal with your photography is to impress other photographers 500px is a great place.
From a business perspective, it is questionable if these platforms are the best. Once again, it depends. If you dream of selling and make income from your images, other photographers most likely are not your main customer group.
Even good landscape photography needs to be marketed
Everything is subjective and different people like different styles of photography, it is not so much about the photos. It is the photographers and their ability to market their work to the right audience that is important. The fact is simple, any image is good if it is presented to the right viewer.
This is good news, right? It means anyone can be a good landscape photographer. Whatever type of landscapes you photograph, you should develop your style and be true to it. When your are passionate about what you do, it will show through your work. And more important, no photographer can make images that everyone like.
If your intention is to sell your images or services you must show your images to the right potential clients.
Can everyone make good photographs?
Think about it for a second. How can you shoot the next epic landscape photo? There is no spot left in the world that is not photographed at any angle and in perfect light. Is the right approach trying to copy what is already done? Even if that is what happens a lot, I don’t believe this is the way you should go.
I have also gone to many places and tried to take the same, or similar photo as others have done before me. I have never been happy with this approach. Every time I take such a "me to" photo, it bores me.
You can make good landscape photography by going back time after time to the same location in your backyard. Chances are you will experience more great light and different weather conditions there. Traveling to a "famous" and well known location to find the light and weather to be less than favorable, is not fun at all.
Can anyone be a good photographer?
What makes you a good landscape photographer is to be consistent in what you do, love your style and market your style for what it is.
Since the social media platforms developed, the professional photographers who made good money from selling their images earlier, claim they no longer can live from this business.
Why? With their experience, they probably make as good photos as you and me. The difference is the way we can market our work today, online. Marketing is the biggest difference; they are no longer alone.
There have been a lot of discussions about the right to use the title, photographer. Photographer is not a protected title so anyone can market them self a photographer. The title does not make you a better photographer for sure. It is what you do with your camera and even more important how you market your images and services.
This is an important question. Is it the best photographer or the best marketer that wins the customers? Probably a combination, but it is no longer enough to make great landscape photography, you need to be good at marketing as well.
Can you be a successful photographer with a hit and miss approach?
It is easy to think you can be a good photographer with a hit and miss strategy. Some people think anyone can take good images if they only have a nice camera. Far from the truth.
Others, because the camera is digital, and each frame is at no extra cost, keep shooting as many frames it takes to get the one “good photo”. Do you create good landscape photography with this approach? I believe it is not that simple. You might get occasionally good images with this approach, but you won’t be able to create consistent good photos - over and over again.
As a serious photographer, you have to ensure you can repeat your successful photos again when needed. You have a lot of opportunities to study and learn how to improve your landscape photography skills. All the learning resources available online is the main reason so many new and extremely competent photographers have showed up.
Can image editing skill make you a good landscape photographer?
You can learn photography from so many different places these days. The availability of editing tutorials is endless.
Some will claim you only need a Photoshop plugin, or Lightroom preset to make great landscape photos. If it only was that simple. You still have to know how to use a camera and how to compose a photo. A boring photo can never be turned into a great photo by post processing.
Putting that much trust in digital photography is the same as claiming a writer write better novels because he uses a laptop rather than paper. Everyone knows that’s not the case.
Maybe you have not yet seen the “best of good landscape photography.”
Obviously, unless you have not discovered the photo, you can not tell it is good. Despite the growing number of social media sites on the Internet, it is a possibility you have not yet seen the landscape photo of your life, the one that makes a difference to you.
Internet is crowded so even if this particular image is already on the net there is a good chance you have not seen it yet. My point is, there are a lot of other landscape photos of high class you will not find on social media sites.
Some great photographers have little or no presence in social media. How can their photos still sell well. One reason is they were early, and their photography was marketed before social media became so popular.
And don't forget there are still additional marketing channels to the Internet.
But it is all about marketing.