As I said a gazillion times before, we all make mistakes, and that’s totally cool as long as we learn from them. But oftentimes we may not even be aware that we make them, even if we’re already experienced photographers. In this great video, Mads Peter Iversen talks about landscape photography mistakes you may not even be aware of, and you’re still making them at least occasionally. I sure know I do.
1. Assuming that landscape photography is an accurate representation of reality: many people claim that landscape photography should be a representation of reality. I’ve also heard it many times, and even believed it back when I was starting out. Sure, it can be, but it’s actually about your representation of the atmosphere of the location you photographed. It’s more about your impression of the place, and you shouldn’t be afraid to play and experiment with lenses, compositions, and editing
2. Letting others dictate how you should do your landscape photography: in a way, this is related to the previous point. Just because other people say you must take or edit photos a certain way, it doesn’t mean that you actually have to. Find your own voice and your own style.
3. Sticking only with certain settings: in my opinion, this goes without saying. Not every scene and every light will work with the same (or even similar settings). Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with long exposures and interesting techniques like time-stacking.
4. Shooting only in the horizontal format: the horizontal image orientation is also known as “landscape,” so it’s no wonder many of us see it as default for landscape photography. But sometimes the vertical or “portrait” format works so much better, so make sure to incorporate it.
5. Using a card with too little space: I learned this the hard way when I visited Mt. Durmitor for the first time and ended up going from RAW to medium JPEGs just so I can cram all photos onto my memory card. Ten years later, here I am with three spare memory cards and a dual card slot. Better safe than sorry.
6. Not having spare batteries: landscape photography often requires staying outside and shooting for the whole day, or more than a day if you’re out camping. So, make sure that you have spare batteries, and needless to say – that they’re charged.
7. Crooked horizons: if you can see the horizon in your photo, make sure that it’s straight. Otherwise, your image will look weird.
8. Getting caught up with one specific photo: when we focus on composition or subject we find particularly interesting, it’s easy to overlook or the other great stuff around us. I’m guilty of this way too often, as I sometimes tend to obsess over one thing I find particularly photogenic. I wasn’t even aware of it before watching this video, so it gave me something to think about and to change in the future.
9. Chasing a personal style at all costs: while being recognizable and having your own style is desirable, you shouldn’t do it consciously and at all costs (especially if you’re a beginner). In the long run, it gets boring to shoot the same thing over and over again and to try and force everything into a specific style. Over time, creativity will leave you and you’ll be under a greater risk of burnout. Instead, do what you want to do and your style will gradually develop by itself.
This got me thinking about my own photography: I still don’t think I have a specific style. But I’ve heard from many people who have followed my work that, when they see my photo, they know who took it. It’s a huge compliment for me, to be honest. And now when I think about it: I never forced that. Heck, I even still don’t know how I would describe my style! Still, it definitely appears to become more specific and noticeable with time, so don’t worry – you’ll get there even if you don’t force it.
10. Not using the weather to your advantage: you already know that the weather or the light won’t always be perfect and as you want them to be. And instead of lamenting over it, use the weather conditions to your advantage! In an older video, Mads gives you seven tips on how to do it, so make sure to check that one out too.
As I said, I’m guilty of some of these mistakes, and I wasn’t even aware of them. So, this video gave me some food for thought and lots of inspiration to fix my mistakes the next time I go on location with my camera. Make sure to watch it until the end and let us know, do you still make any of these mistakes when shooting landscapes?
[Stop Making These Landscape Photography Mistakes! | Mads Peter Iversen]