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One of the most popular subjects for photographs at any level – from amateur to professional – is the natural world. Landscape photography combines the sheer power of the natural world with the formalising and organising eye of the photographer. This combination of the natural and the purposeful is what makes this form of photographic art so powerful and so popular.
But as many photographers have discovered there are very few places in the world that haven’t already been photographed. This is a bigger problem for the amateur, who is often trying to squeeze in their landscape shots around their home or while on holiday, meaning they’re often hard-pressed to find a landscape or an angle that hasn’t already been ‘done.’ And while that doesn’t matter if you’re taking photos just for personal pleasure, if you have any desire at all to go beyond that, you’ll need to find some ways of making your photos more unique. Here are some ideas anyone can try.
Add a Model or Prop
Landscapes are all about the natural beauty on display, of course, but that’s also why so many examples of landscape photography look roughly the same. One easy way to make your own landscapes stand out more is the addition of visual information. By having a model pose as part of the landscape – not the focus of the shot – you’re adding something unique no other photographer will have, as well as adding a portion of drama and tension to the photo.
Similarly, if you lack a model, consider a prop – something funny, something provocative, or something simply out of place. Just about anything could be used – a toy dump truck nicked from your son’s room could be a comment on the environment, or a toy bulldozer a comment on over-development. Experiment with different ideas and see what triggers creative joy.
Reverse the Angle
Landscapes tend to look similar for many reasons, but chief among them is the fact that everyone more or less takes the same shot. Review the landscapes that are already out there (on the Internet or on gallery walls or in books) and get a sense of what the ‘usual’ approach is, then see if you can’t reverse it – go to the spot everyone is photographing, and take the reverse.
If nothing else, you’ll have something that no one else has done. Of course, there may be very good reasons for this and you might wind up rejecting your efforts – but there’s a very good chance your innovative positioning will reward you with some really interesting photos that no one else has thought to take.
Landscapes don’t change much, especially if they’re famous enough to be photographed on a regular basis. This presents opportunity, because you can show up to take their photo any time, but it’s also a challenge, because it’s extra difficult to make your landscape photos unique. The key is simple: See what’s been done and add something to it.
And if your new approach to landscapes is successful, click here and we’d be honoured to create some amazing pieces of art for your walls.