top of page

My Photographic Journey

I don’t know too many other ‘landscape’ photographers, but from what I pick up from social media and my conversations when out and about, is that although all of us have our own reasons for starting out in photography, a lot of our photographic journeys are vaguely similar.


I wonder how much of your own experiences and development parallel with my own?


Phase 1

Buy a semi decent point and shoot – become the defacto ‘guy with a camera’ on nights out

It’s the early days of Facebook – flood feed with blurry images taken on drunken nights out. 'Bums out' shots are common and looked on with pride. Any non-people photos should be immediately deleted. High engagement and reaction level from friends, great bantz!


Ability level ‘idiot’.

 

Phase 2

Take camera on exotic holiday/activity










Actually take a non-people photo that you want to share. Apply ridiculous edit in Microsoft photo editor – share online to rave reviews from friends and family. Self-satisfaction levels through the roof – ‘I’m a photographer’!


Ability level naïve idiot

 

Phase 3

Purchase entry level DSLR

Subscribe to a Photography magazine. Take camera on every walk/day out. Apply garish HDR filters and experiment heavily with colour replacement effects. Correct focus is optional. Flood Facebook with photos, arranged in multiple Albums. Gradually erode good will of friends and family’s sympathy ‘likes’, until confidence in own photography replaced with realisation of incompetence.


Ability level crap idiot

 

Phase 4

Purchase new lens


Repeat phase 3.


Ability level ‘optimistic idiot’.

 

Phase 5

Give up for a bit.


Ability level ‘Liberated idiot.’

 

Phase 6

New gear and narrow focus

Convince yourself that the camera is the reason for your incompetence and buy a better model. Remember you like wildlife and try and marry that with trying to like photography. Take lots of pictures of common birds very close up. Share on Facebook. Facebook friends count goes down. Encouraging comments from distant elderly relatives/acquaintances received only when posting photos of Robins or Cats.


Ability level ‘having fun again idiot’.

 

Phase 7

Small improvements create overinflated confidence.

Occasional in focus image considered ‘a masterpiece’. No consideration for composition. Social media reach extended to Viewbug/Flickr equivalents. Increased focus on editing (cropping) leads to first tentative steps at creating a website. Eagerly promote yourself as a wildlife photographer, and enthusiastically share your website to all and sundry. Hard truth NO ONE CARES!


Ability level 'disillusioned idiot'.

 

Phase 8

Upgrade gear again, influx of cheap accessories

Buy better lens, see marginal gains. Buy crappy tripods, memory cards, hard drives etc. Experiment with Lightroom. Social reach at all time low. First time partner gets grumpy with you for staying out with camera for extended period.


Ability level ‘doghouse idiot’.

 

Phase 9

Start a family














Free time and money nearly non-existent. Photography sessions more of an excuse to get some peace and quiet, become accustomed to early mornings. Take 100’s of family photos and saturate Facebook once again.


Ability level 'barely functioning idiot'

 

Phase 10

Make a photography fwend

Find a like minded loser to diversify infant focussed conversations. Photo sessions met with raised eyebrows from partner. Photo fwend shares better images from similar sessions, self-doubt increases. Redo website to boost ego. Hard truth NO ONE CARES. Lack of time/money put as the blame – switch to landscape photography!


Ability level 'LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER idiot.'

 

Phase 11

Landscape photographer! Early mornings are a thing

Discover the wellbeing benefits the peace and solitude of being out at 5am introduce. Take lots of photos. Buy more gear. Properly discover Lightroom. Visit the honeypots. Learn lots. First time thinking about composition.


Ability level 'Rule of thirds idiot'.

 

Phase 12

Discover Youtube

Thomas Heaton is the best landscape photographer in the world. Devour content. Increase frequency of photo visits. Get more GAS. Sunday morning photo sessions become more frequent. Parrot facts from Youtube as rule. Colour saturation strong in images but occasional keeper.


Ability level 'enlightened idiot.'

 

Phase 13

Obsession

All content across all mediums devoured. Other hobbies and interests fade. Discover Instagram and try to build audience. ‘Likes’ = good photo. Start thinking about seasons. Start learning other photographers’ names. Compare photos to others and feel inadequate. Over edit to compensate. Engagement in photos from friends and family limited to occasional 'pity likes'. Stop getting invited out, so instead start looking at weather and hoping for fog/mist/storms.


Ability level 'Antisocial idiot'.

 

Phase 14

Crossroads

So here I am…


Ability level ‘Confused idiot’


I have now practiced long enough to be reasonably confident in the

basics; I’m happy with my gear and I’m continuing to scout interesting places to visit and understand the weather/conditions a little bit better. I even like some of my photos, and I feel I’ve got a ‘style’ I’m happy with. I continue to enjoy going out with my camera and editing photos isn’t a chore.


However, I’m mindful that my obsession is starting to impact on my wife’s plans, and the time I could be spending with my family. While we all need time to ourselves, how much time is reasonable, especially when you’re operating as a team?


I take 1000’s of photos and yet my audience doesn’t really increase – while I’m grateful for all of my interactions, I’m self-aware enough that a lot will be ‘likes for likes’. Is the traffic I’m generating worth the effort? Does it matter if no one looks at your photos?


The reality is that there are a lot of very good amateur photographers out there these days, so how do you differentiate, and is it worth the effort and self-promotion, especially when you’re naturally averse to that kind of thing?


Happily, I think I’m starting to get to a realisation that will keep me satisfied, and that is ‘who cares’!

  • · Who cares about the audience when my main enjoyment is simply taking photograph’s.

  • · Who cares about the likes, when the only person you need to satisfy is yourself.


Rather than worry about who shares your images, wouldn't it be better to share the process with your family, and bring them on trips with you, or take a few nights off editing to be more present?

Once I can get fully on board with that way of thinking, anything else that happens will be a bonus!

bottom of page