Three Ideas for Creating Different Landscape and Nature Photographs

Three Ideas for Creating Different Landscape and Nature Photographs

Is it just me or do the same type of images keep appearing over and over again on screens and in print? Maybe it's the magazines I read or the people I follow, but I feel like I'm repeatedly seeing (and creating) the same type of landscape photographs. Here's how I'm trying to get out of the rut. 

Beautiful, sweeping vistas (potentially with a person in the middle ground for added scale) continue to saturate social media feeds and publications. Personally, I even feel like I'm always taking the same kind of photo, even when the landscape is different. And I'm noticing more and more artists with proficient technical skill but lacking any real creativity in terms of truly seeing the world for more than sweeping landscapes (including myself at times).

Lately I've been trying to push myself to see differently, and do more. Maybe it's a natural evolution of a nature and landscape photographer, and maybe I'm late to the game. But recently I've stopped pulling my camera out on a mountain's summit or at scenic vista where every other photographer is pointing their camera in the same direction, taking the same exact picture. More often than not, I now find myself looking the other way, looking down or up, or looking in the details. 

1. See in Black and White Rather Than Color

I've always been impartial to deep, vibrant colors. I love talking color theory with other photographers and discussing how it relates to landscapes. Black and white nature photography is something I've always been conscious of, but have never fully tried or committed to it. Recently I've been challenging myself with seeing the world in tonal ranges only, rather than being aware of it while focusing on color theory.

2. Focus on a Theme

Another way I've been trying to break free from taking the classic, sweeping landscape image is by focusing on one specific theme in nature when headed outside with my camera. I now try to head into the natural world with just one or two words floating in my head; words like "textures," "patterns," "shapes," and "repetition." These themes are essentially mini photo assignments for myself to focus on rather than just the grand view at the end of a hike, or the giant waterfall every other photographer is pointing thier lens at. 

When headed into the field during the time I took this image, the word "Line" was running through my mind, and I was trying to focus on compositions that utilized this theme.

3. Look the Other Way

One last way I've been focusing on creating different nature images is by looking the other direction. When I went to the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, there were countless photographers there, too. Except they were all pointing their lenses at the dunes with mountains in the background. Only myself and one other photographer turned around and shot a different scene. He photographed the abstract patterns in the sand while I captured people racing up a neighboring dune. Sometimes all it takes to create a different landscape image than someone right next to you is to move a few feet to the left or right, or turn around completely to see a different view or objects behind you.

What are your methods for taking different types of nature and landscape images than the ones currently saturating social media feeds?

Tim Behuniak's picture

Timothy Behuniak is a Salt Lake City-based landscape and outdoor adventure photographer who's passionate about getting lost in the woods with his camera. Tim's hope is that his viewers, like him, will one day love and fight to protect the beautiful locations he is fortunate to photograph.

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Thank you :)

Most people take a picture of something excellent. An Artist takes an excellent picture of something...

These are beautiful! Thanks for sharing!!

I think that seeing in B&W takes practice. In 2012, I photographed the entire year using B&W films. It took me about 3 months before I started visualizing in B&W. During that year, I also used the B&W contrast filters, yellow, orange, and red.

Definitely agree! It's a skill that takes much practice and conscious effort. You definitely have to train this!

Hey! Really enjoyed the article. Gonna try a theme and some black and white photos the next time I get out there. If anyone is interested in how to prepare for a backpacking trip with your camera check out this blog: