Becoming A Professional Nature And Landscape Photographer: Explore

Becoming A Professional Nature And Landscape Photographer: Explore

In the previous blog post, Becoming A Professional Nature And Landscape Photographer: Making Opportunities, I briefly went over just a few of the experiences that I encountered coming into the field of Nature and Landscape Photography. Today, I’m going to touch base on exploring before you explore. Our world is full of wonderful details; from extraordinarily high mountains to dry, deserted flat lands and everything in between. How do you decide what you would like to photograph?

I spent a good amount of time as a child reading and flipping through the pages of National Geographic Magazine. The details of our world completely fascinates me and if I could I would visit every place that I had ever seen in those pages. Nothing would bring me more joy than to wake in a different part of the world every few days. Unfortunately, at this point in my life  and my career, my wallet (if it could laugh I’m sure it would) will not allow that much travel but I’m getting there.

Pixley Falls 1 Photographed by Melissa Fague - Landscape Photography

Pixley Falls 1 Photographed by Melissa Fague – Landscape Photography

Explore Yourself First

As a teen my one life goal was to be a vagabond that hitchhiked where I wanted to go, thank god for maturity. Thankfully that goal has evolved into a safer (and cleaner) career path of Landscape and Nature Photography but the drive to see and experience the different climates as well as geographical areas has remained the same. However, not everyone is the same as I am when it comes to travel and not everyone can travel with others. If you are toying with the idea of becoming a landscape and nature photographer I recommend you honestly explore your own likes and dislikes before venturing out into the great beyond. There is nothing worse than trying to create beauty while dealing with uncomfortable situations on an expensive trip.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you plan and book a trip somewhere:

  • How do I react in the humidity?
  • How do I react to the cold?
  • Do I have the equipment for the extreme climate changes?
  • Where can I get the equipment needed?
  • Do I work well with others traveling with me or other travelers?
  • Am I willing to eat the local food?
  • Do I want to see all the travel hot spots or explore the lesser known areas?
  • Do I like to shoot alone or in a group?
  • How do I react sleeping in strange places?
  • How well can I communicate with the locals?
  • How much do I know about the culture?

If you are unsure, most of these questions you can test out on small trips somewhere in your region.

A few years back I learned a valuable lesson on a camping trip with another emerging photographer. The trip was planned for months and at the last minute my shooting partner started becoming iffy about the trip. Before planning, I was told that he was an experienced camper and loved it.  So we planned out this hiking/photography trip in the Appalachian Mountains for a week with three locations to do shoots. The three locations that we decided on all  involved hiking a distance with all of our gear. From the very start of the trip (we had not even finished packing the car up), his mood was less than pleasant and it continued to get worse as the week progressed. Every little thing that occurred made him become even more cranky…it was too humid in the mountains…the tent posts wouldn’t work right…the bugs were attacking him…the food wouldn’t cook on the fire…he smelled skunk…it was never ending. He had no patience for the outdoors and my patience grew thin very quickly with him. By the third location, which was beautiful by the way, I was so frustrated that I just wanted the trip to be over with and be away from him for good. None of the photographs I created at the second and third location we salable because I was too distracted by the frustration with my shooting partner.

The moral of the story is, find out what you like while you are close to home. If you don’t like being cold, traveling to the north and spending time in the cold climate may not be in your best interest. If you don’t like being around other people while you work, than go alone and finally if you don’t like bugs… I don’t recommend being a nature and landscape photographer at all.

 Go back to: Making Opportunities                                                       Coming Soon: It’s A Business