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Valuing Your Point Of View

I’ve watched photographers come to a beautiful landscape in a national park and simply set up their cameras and tripods in the most direct view of the scene. Simply setting up in the most obvious spot is why so much landscape photography looks the same.

You have a unique view of the world—I believe that everybody does. Yes, I understand that some photographers like to go out and “trophy-hunt” landscapes. They just want to go to famous landscapes and take their own pictures of that landscape.

I don’t have a problem with that basic idea. I love to go to beautiful locations that I’ve seen in other photographs, too. But I have a unique way of looking at the landscape and so do you. There are things that impress us about a particular landscape that may or may not impress someone else. I think this unique point of view is important.

Think about this: Not everyone will go to the landscapes that you photograph. As a landscape photographer, you’re showing off the world that excites you. You and I are the eyes of so many other people. If all we do is duplicate images that other photographers have taken, our eyes and our points of view are diminished. The world has lost the opportunity to see something special that you and I can offer.

I know, you might be thinking, “But I’m just a simple photographer—I’m not a pro. What difference does it make?” I think it makes all the difference in the world. You see the world differently from the way I see it, differently from the way anyone else sees it. And your point of view is valid and important because it enriches all of us when we have a diversity of views of our landscapes. It makes you and the landscapes more important.

So, just being aware that you have the potential of seeing this landscape with fresh eyes will help you start seeing your compositions better. Your choices about composition define both how you see the landscape for your photograph and how any viewers of your photograph will see that landscape. You’re influencing other people’s views of the world.

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