How to make a successful career as a landscape photographer
Making money from your favorite genre of photography sounds like a dream come true. If you are a landscape photographer and want to make a living out of it, Thomas Heaton has some valuable advice to share. In his latest video, he gives you five guidelines and a bunch of tips for succeeding in landscape photography market. A witty YouTube user described this video “like Obi-Wan passing over his knowledge of the Force,” and I must agree – it’s exactly like that.
1. Only publish your best work
The first and the foremost – think quality over quantity. The pressure of sharing content on social media, and the ease of creating images can tempt us to share everything. Instead, be critical of yourself and your work, and carefully choose what you publish. This is pretty much applicable to all genres of photography, and it gives more value to your work.
It’s also worth noting here that adding context to your landscape photos helps them get noticed. All this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post on social media, but there’s an important point to remember – you should make a difference between the selected “gallery images” and the content you post on social media.
2. Think bigger than just one image
When you shoot landscapes, try thinking about the bigger story. Create a series of images with a theme, and relate them to one another (no matter how striking each of them is on their own). This way you can create a feature, and it gives you more chance to have your work published.
An extra tip Thomas shares is that the media love the images related to unusual weather conditions. If you find yourself in conditions like this with your camera – take it out and shoot away. Submit your content to the media, and you may have a large chance to get your photos published. If you don’t know where to start, check out Rex Features, Science Photo, and Bav Media, for starters.
3. Be original
Originality certainly can’t do you harm in the world full of photographers. As Thomas points out, you will quickly realize that the world of landscape photography is a pretty saturated place. The photos of iconic places tend to look the same, and there are so many of them. In a situation like this, originality is certainly a big challenge. But if you overcome it, it can get you far.
If you shoot at a well-known and iconic location, Thomas suggests isolating the subject within the big landscape. Find an intimate, closer subject. See the big picture, but look for the small ones within it. In a word (that sounds a bit cliché) – think outside the box.
A few more tips are to shoot the ever-changing subjects and take the photos in strange weather conditions. Photos like this are difficult to repeat and they are way more unique than a who-knows-which same shot of the famous view.
Even if you share the locations you shoot at with the public – Thomas suggests you don’t always do it. I agree on the one hand, but only because people tend to destroy beautiful places once they discover them. On the other hand, I would like to see how other artists would see and capture the same place, so I would give away the location to those I know will be respectful towards nature. I’m curious to hear what you think about this.
The last tip about originality is to explore locations close to your home. We tend to oversee the places like this, and they can be true gems for photography.
4. Don’t be shy
Interaction with other artists can only be positive. So – don’t be shy. Talk to other photographers, attend events and workshops, get to know people from the industry and exchange opinions and knowledge. Collaborate with others, as you will add value to each other’s work and learn from one another. This is one of the things I enjoy the most, and I highly suggest it just like Thomas does. It’s not only a pleasant experience, but you can get valuable contacts and knowledge that can help you in your future career.
5. Lose your ego
This piece of advice isn’t just applicable to landscape photography, but to life in general. Don’t be arrogant, accept that you don’t know everything and you probably never will. Only this knowledge leaves us room to grow and improve.
Be open to making mistakes and to learning, and be curious.
Lastly, also be open from criticism, but learn to differentiate constructive criticism from trolling and hate. There’ll always be people who simply don’t like you, but be aware you’ll never please everyone – and that’s perfectly fine.
I hope you enjoyed “Obi-Wan’s” lessons, learned something new and got inspired for your landscape photography ventures. And if you have your own tips to add – we’d love to hear them in the comments below.
[5 Tips to help you MAKE IT in LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY | Thomas Heaton]
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.