Loch na h-Achlaise, Rannoch Moor, Scotland

The Things We Don't See
Working as a professional landscape photographer has its pros and its cons. In this essay I would like to talk about all the benefits and the things I really enjoy while working as a pro

Among the good things that come with the job is the ability to be on location on a frequent basis. It needs to be mentioned that landscape photographers love nature and our environment, the vast majority of us anyway. So, to be outdoors and at one with nature, I consider it to be a good thing. Another benefit is that on a full-time basis you talk, breathe and live photography. Surely for a passionate landscape photographer this is also a good thing. However, if you ask me, one of the best things is the experience of running photographic workshops.

The good tutor

At this point I need to emphasise that not every pro photographer enjoys their workshops; some run them purely because they are a source of income. Let's see this from a closer point of view though. Running workshops means that you are constantly socialising and dealing with people, sometimes dealing with their personal problems also. A very good photographer is not necessarily a good tutor and a good tutor is not necessarily a good photographer. To run successful workshops one needs to be a good photographer, a good tutor and a great diplomat. If you possess all these qualities, then you could be on the road to success.

The good thing

I had better get back to my original point though; the benefits of being a pro. To me, the best thing and the one that fills me with great pleasure is when I point out interesting compositions to clients and see their faces shine and glow. Take this picture for instance. We were standing at the shore of Loch na h-Achlaise on Rannoch Moor in Scotland. It was a gorgeous November morning with no wind, a clear sky and perfect reflections on the water's surface. Everyone was having a really good time finding pictures and doing their best to capture them.

As I always do, I was around them, making sure they were all comfortable with what they were doing and if needed, I was there to offer my advice. One thing I enjoy doing is looking around, finding various pictures and composing them on my camera – then, showing them to my clients and talking about them.

The things we leave behind

I must admit that most clients are really good at seeing and finding wide angle compositions. The challenge arises when we try to find a picture within a picture, or an extract of a landscape, if you wish. When I showed them this picture – which was literally in front of us – the comments that followed were extremely interesting. Where is that? How did you see that? Oh my, how did I miss that? Anyway, you get the point.

When we are at the learning stage, it is fairly easy to look for and discover a wide angle composition. However, to start seeing small extracts of landscapes, you really need to train yourself and adopt a kind of ‘tunnel vision’. The best advice I can offer is to pay attention to your surroundings and not only what goes on in front of you. Look down, pay attention, scan the landscape, use that other lens – you know, the one you hardly ever use, the 70-300mm one. Believe me, once you start looking, you will be amazed at the amount of pictures that you will start seeing.

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