Dealing with Bad Days as a Landscape Photographer

True photographers know the non-glamorous aspects of landscape photography. Those bad days when nothing seems to be going in your favor. When, despite your best efforts, you go back home empty handed—absolutely nothing to show for your hard day’s work. This is the blood, the guts and the sweat that all landscape photographers must shed before they can build a stunning portfolio. But as Thomas Heaton explains, no one wants to share this truth with you:

When you look at a body of work, either by a single photographer or of a series of photographers, you see a selection of the best work by these photographers. Yet, you make the mistake of comparing all of your own work with this high concentration of the best of the best. That can be demoralizing.

We are human. And that means we are fallible and liable to make mistakes. A seasoned landscape photographer is just as likely to make mistakes as everyone else. But they are not likely to show their failures to the world. Which is OK. No one wants to demonstrate their failures.

all landscape photographers fail

Heaton’s camera records the moment when he was hit by dizziness.

This video gives a rare insight into the non-glamorous side of landscape photography. The failures, the heartbreaks, and the long hard days. Heaton shows us what it really takes to be a landscape photographer.

hardships in landscape photgraphy

Stuck in a quarry, wet and cold and carrying large format equipment

Hiking steep mountains for hours, doing reconnaissance of locations, going without water for 6-7 hours, surviving sudden bouts of dizziness, and then quitting after a disappointing day to reach home empty-handed. These are just a few of things that you might have to go through in order to become successful.

handling bad weather as a landscape photographer

If you had to endure this on your first landscape photography session, you’d probably quit for good.

Success!

But this is the time, Heaton advises, that you need to be resolute and promise to come back.

For further training: The Landscape Photographer’s Recipe Cards

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