My Landscape Photography Process
From the image idea to the printed picture
Photography is more for me than just taking pictures. Of course all of it started with just taking pictures but today the action of pressing the shutter button is just one part of my photography process. I find joy and excitement in every step along this process and I strongly believe that people are missing out on an opportunity when leaving off some of the steps.
For me it is a 6-step process that starts with the idea of an image and in some cases ends with the printing of a picture or even a book.
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Photography had so many positive effects on my life. It brought me to places I otherwise would not have visited, it made me document some of the most important moments, it was a creative outlet, it was something that I could still do during the time when I wasn't able to do anything else physically and it even helped me mentally.
Many of this only came into fruition after I expanded my photography process to what it is today. I plan to cover every step in greater detail in future blog entries. For now, I will only briefly touch every step to make my point, but with emphasis on the last part, as I think that this is the one that's been left out most frequently.
1) The idea and scouting
It was never easier to find your next subject and to do the scouting. If you wish so you would not even have to leave your house. Throught social media and especially Instagram you have access to tons of pictures of exotic locations, the worlds most beautiful places and the most interesting subjects. As long as you see this as opportunity and use it as a source of inspiration this will help you to find your own next picture. The thing that's sometimes difficult is not to be intimidated by the marvelous work of all the other photographers. In my personal development as a landscape photographer it was rather helpfull to see what places there are than to see what others have done before me. It was also benefital to visit the more famous places before I tried to find my own subjects and compositions. There is a reason why some places are the most visited and photographed ones. It's because they are the most beautiful and most photogenic locations in the world. Why should you leave out on these. Just for the sake of originality? If I would not have been able to capture beautiful scene in my early photography years who knows if I would have stayed motivated. Visiting the known places defenitely helps. There are lots of apps that help you plan your next shooting and you should definitely use them to your advantage.
2) Travel and hiking
Some remote locations are only accessible by foot. Today I enjoy the hiking part as much as the photography part. It helps me immerse into nature and by the time I reach the location I'm already in that state of mind that helps me concentrate on the shooting and the enjoyment of what nature presents.
3) Taking or making the picture
That is probably the part that most people can relate to. Sometimes a picture can just be taken. Coincidently you are at the right place at the time. The composition is fairly easy and the conditions all line up for you to just press the shutter. But most of the time even a landscape picture is a result of planning and alot of effort. This is the time when you make a picture. Your composition is refined and you wait for the best light and the right conditions.
4) Post processing
Fact: If you shoot RAW your picture needs to be processed in post. There is no way around it.
Of course you can shoot jpgs. But these are also processed images only that the AI of your camera or your smartphone does the job for you. There are no rules (as their shouldn't be in any art form) when it comes to editing your pictures. Eventually you'll set your own rules for post processing. Removing distractions is allowed, but nothing shall be added. And please... no sky replacement.
5) Publishing and sharing
There are several platforms where you can release your pictures. Facebook and Flickr are already long past their best. 500px and Instagram still seem to be the place to be for your pictures. And currently Vero has become an option again. But by far the best way to publish your pictures digitally is your own website.
Most people and especially hobby photographers stop at this point in the photography process. With some of my photographs I enjoy getting one step further. Amongst all photographers, painters and many other creators it is common sense that the best way to look at art is as a print. You might not classify your work as a peace of art and neither do I, but still it's something that needs to be seen printed. Why is that the case you might ask. Well, just think about yourself scrolling through your or another ones Instagram feed. I doubt you'll look at it longer then maybe two seconds. And further think about the size of your smartphone screen and be aware of the fact that Instagram is optimised for portrait format only. And last but not least Instagram reduces the quality of every picture significantly.
Take a look at other peoples and your own photographs in a printed version and I guarantee, it will be rewarding. It takes time to capture all the details a photograph might have to give and a print provides the resolution and quality that makes it worth investing your time.
Many people are intimidated by other peoples art and others are suffering from an imposter syndrom and often that's why they are hesitant to print their own photographs. Don't get me wrong: I totally get that and it took me a long time as well to do this last step. But in the end I connect so much more memories and emotions with my own pictures then with the ones from anyone else. Of course there is art from other people that matches my taste and that have mastered their craftsmanship where I and all the other hobby photogrpahers still have so much to learn and of course other peoples art can also trigger emotions but what they will never do as good as your own work is to awaken memories that are near and dear to your heart.
Printing your own work, isn't about showing off (in fact I do most of the printing only for myself). It's about preserving memories and it's about giving your work a place to shine.
Today there are so many ways to print. Single pictures I prefer to frame up while a I tend to print projects in a book. There are a lot of good services that provide quality prints. Many of the print examples below I have done with MEDION Foto.
This is where my creative photography process ends. Along the journey to the final product I experienced failure and success, frustration and motivation. But I cherish every single emotion I got out of it. My picture on the wall is the keeper of my memories and the catalyst for my emotions. Only the good ones of course.