5 Things EVERY Photographer Should Remember

Step into the shoes of a photographer for a moment. Well, I guess I should say step into the boots, waders, sandals, or cramp-ons of a photographer since we tend to wear so many types of footwear when we are working.

You’re standing in front of your top bucket list place and you’re holding the camera. The photo is great, but a better composition would be in that fragile ecosystem to your right. Or, another photographer is already standing in the perfect composition setup that you want.

What do you do?

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I’ve been to many places in the world, and who knows how many photos I’ve taken, but I always try to remember 5 things about photography that I think everyone should remember.

  1. LEAVE NO TRACE - It’s hard for me to think of a more important item on this list. Leave no trace is the concept of going into a location and knowing all about it’s beauty, but also knowing all about its fragility. When you enter into a new landscape you have to be aware of what could damage it. Not only that, but being aware of what your footprint is on a location. Leave no trace means that when you leave, no one should ever be able to notice you were there. There aren’t any food wrappers left behind. You didn’t snap tree limbs to get a better composition. There wasn’t a rock taken from a place as a souvenir or memory. Photographers are ambassadors to the landscapes they shoot. Start protecting them the right way.

  2. ASSESS THE LOCATION - So many times I’ve gone into a landscape situation and I see a big, initial shot that is pretty obvious. I take the photo, and then all of a sudden I leave. NO! Please learn from my mistakes with this. You can definitely take that initial photo, but afterwards, assess your location and figure out what other, more interesting shots you can get too. Landscapes are essentially stories. When you just shoot the giant shot, you aren’t capturing the whole story. Instead, assess everything around and work the landscape to get better photos.

  3. SHARE THE LAND - This kind of got misunderstood in a recent YouTube video I recorded on this same topic. I’m not saying share all of your locations with GEO-tags or anything like that. I’m saying that when you’re in the field and you see other people or another photographer, work together to share a location. Don’t get offended that other people are around. You’re in nature. No one owns nature. Photography is not a competition. It’s quite the opposite, actually. It’s more like a group effort on a massive scale to document places and tell stories. So, share the land and work together with other photographers.

  4. LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS - This is a newly acquired lesson for me. In life, I’m not really a planner. In photography, however, I’m a HUGE planner. I do tons of research on the locations that I’m going to visit. But, I tend to do so much research that I get one shot in one type of condition in one time of day in my mind to the point that if I don’t get that same shot I’m disappointed. Instead, I’ve been looking at no photos before going somewhere new. This allows me to construct my own ideas of a place and take more creative compositions that compliment my style instead of someone else’s. Now, I’m not saying don’t do any research terrain, packing, or weather wise. You should definitely be prepared in every safety situation you enter, but photography wise, try to lower your expectations to create your own photography style.

  5. KEEP IT LOOSE - This is the hardest item on the list for me to remember. I get so caught up in my own head that I have to get the most epic shot of my life every time I go into the field. That’s simply ridiculous. Photographers need to be able to keep their expectations loose and work with the landscape. Have fun with photography and remember why you fell in love with it in the first place. If you do this, you’ll be a much happier photographer.

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By following this list, I can guarantee that the photography experience will be more enjoyable for you in the long run. This will help you from getting burn out from your photography. It will help you keep your photography fresh. Trust me, and learn from my own burn out.

Not a big reader?

Me either.

Get this whole list in video form here…

THE EDITING SOFTWARE I USE (LUMINAR 2018)

THE GEAR I USE:
THE ONLY DRONE YOU'LL EVER NEED
MY DO-IT-ALL CAMERA
THE LENS I USE FOR ALL THE ZOOMS
MY FAVORITE LENS EVER
MY TRUSTY TRIPOD SIDEKICK
MY OVERNIGHT CAMERA BAG
THE DAY PACK I USE
THE MIC I USE FOR CRISPY AUDIO
MY COMPUTER (NOT A MAC)

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