Just like there are trends in fashion, there are also trends in photography. Just remember those overdone HDR images that were all the rage some ten years ago. But trends change, and there are now other techniques that photographers tend to overuse. In this video, James Popsys talks about five photography techniques you’ll often see in landscape photos, and why they shouldn’t be used that often. Are you “guilty” of overusing these, too?
To make things clear, this is James’ personal opinion, and it doesn’t mean that you are wrong for using any of these techniques. The thing is – you shouldn’t stick with them all the time and use them just because you can. So, let’s check out what these techniques are.
1. Long exposures that include water
When you shoot water using long exposure, you’ll end up with a silky, smooth, surreal look. I personally like it, but it doesn’t always work. As James puts it, he finds a photo appealing when he feels like he’s “in the photo,” not just that he’s looking at it. And you’ll agree: it’s hard to make the viewer feel as if they’re in the scene if that scene looks completely surreal. When you shoot water with long exposure, you throw away ripples and waves that can add to the story, or even be the story. So, it’s not a wrong thing to do, but it’s just kinda limiting.
Another technique James finds overused is panoramas. Of course, they do have their purpose and can look fantastic, but he believes that many people use them simply because they can’t decide what their subject should be out of two or three things. So, they just cram everything into a single panoramic shot.
I’m guilty as charged of this one, or at least I was back in 2015. That year, I visited Corfu. I fell so in love with the city that I wanted to shoot everything at once. That was, as a matter of fact, the first time I shot panoramas. I wanted everything to be in the shot because the town is so darn beautiful wherever I looked. But honestly, even panoramas couldn’t depict Corfu’s beauty.
3. Always feeling like you need foreground interest
Many landscape photographers like to have foreground interest. There’s definitely nothing wrong about it. However, many tutorials treat foreground interest like it’s a must, and many photographers have accepted it as such. And it’s wrong. Simply put, you can create an interesting, captivating landscape photo even if there’s no foreground interest.
4. Golden hour
Shooting at golden hour is like a joker when it comes to natural light. Let’s be honest, everything looks better in the golden light of sunrise or sunset. Again, nothing wrong with it, but many photographers will be disappointed or even skip shooting if they miss the golden hour or if the weather is bad. And that’s wrong. Just like the long exposure I mentioned above, it’s limiting. You can (and should) shoot at all weather conditions and at different times of the day. It gives you more challenges, but also more opportunities and more versatility.
5. Sky replacements
And lastly, the sky replacements. It has become so popular that Luminar 4 will offer the AI-powered sky replacement tool. And to be honest, it seems that many people are doing it just because they can. James finds it disingenuous, and I have to agree. I’m not really into landscape photos that have been heavily manipulated, and I find sky replacement a pretty heavy manipulation. Although, I think it’s fine as long as you’re honest about it. Again, it’s your creative choice, but don’t do it just because you know how.
What do you think of these techniques? Do you also find them overused in landscape photography today? And would you add any others to the list?