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With 2019 in full swing, what have you learned from your time as a budding photographer in Pickens Technical College’s Photography program in 2018? No matter where you are in your photography career, you can always learn lessons and improve from past mistakes and the work you’ve done the year previous. Professional and amateur photographers alike benefit from taking a moment to look back at their artistic and technical progress from the year before to see where they can continue to improve and which areas of their technique they still need to work on.

It helps to think about your successes and failures as a photographer during 2018 and list the things you accomplished, what you hope to accomplish, and what you still want to work on in the coming year. Sometimes just sitting and honestly examining your work can lead you to new discoveries and abilities in the coming year.

Three Lessons in Landscape Photography

Focusing on the landscape, FStoppers blogger and professional photographer Jonathan Lee Martin learned a few lessons in landscape photography that we can all benefit from:

  • Minimalism applies to photography and life equally. The idea of minimalism is to strip down your art to its bare essentials. Only the things that you need in the frame should be allowed in it. This concept applies to life as a photographer as well. Sometimes, like professionals in any field, we get bogged down by projects, our own needs, the needs of others, small details, and complications. A good approach to both your photography and your life as a photographer in 2019 is to cut out the things that don’t fit with your theme, your purpose. You’ll be much more satisfied with what’s leftover.
    Shapes and separation. When assembling a shot, you need to lead your viewers’ eyes on a journey through your image. The s-curve of a mountain stream makes more sense with an m-curve of a mountain in the background. The separation between shapes allows each form in an image to have its own identity and draw the eye in its unique way. In your framing, think about the objects in the shot and space between them. What story do they tell?
    Neutral tones make people believe. Neutral tones in landscape photography prove that the setting is real and natural. The white of foaming, falling water, the gray of rainclouds, etc. Viewers are expecting these familiar objects to be a certain color. It’s the landscape photographer’s job to render these objects and spaces in ways that will make sense, at least artistically, to the viewer. They ground the image in reality. Of course, this idea of reality and what should be neutral can be played with and turned on its head once you grasp the fundamentals.

Landscapes and Life

The bottom line is that you have to keep shooting, keep trying to create that perfect image showing viewers exactly what captivated you in the first place. Getting the basics of photographing nature and landscapes will unlock more possibilities for you in 2019.