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What does a Landscape Photographer do?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
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A landscape photographer focuses his or her work on portrayals of macrocosmic settings. This may include enormous vistas of mountains or plains, seascapes, or even wide views of tiny settings such as microorganisms. A landscape photographer may be a professional or a hobbyist; a professional landscape photographer might make a career taking photographs for exhibits, nature magazines, or the creation of photography books or calendars.

While the basic piece of equipment for all photography is a camera, there is some specialized equipment that a landscape photographer might find especially useful. A wide-angle lens has special optical properties that permit the photographer to capture a much wider field of view than a standard lens. This allows the photographer to get more features, such as mountains or distant weather features into a single frame. A tilt-and-shift lens removes some of the image distortion that is generally caused by standing below or at the bottom of tall structures, such as buildings or cliffs. Since landscape images rely on clarity and stillness, a tripod is also helpful as it improves image stability.

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The subjects of a landscape photographer can be widely varied, both in form and intent. While many people associate landscapes with nature photography, they can also be use to take pictures of cityscapes and urban views, battlefields, or microcosms blown up to a massive scale. A landscape photograph may be used to simply highlight the beauty of a location, show devastation caused by war or environmental destruction, or even provide viewers with a new perspective on something easily overlooked.

A professional landscape photographer, or one that has the ability to indulge in the hobby regularly, may spend a lot of time traveling to fascinating locations. In order to get the best views and images, he or she must be willing to climb mountains, trek through jungles, fly in airplanes or helicopters, or simply wait for hours for the perfect light and the best shot. Both patience and a sense of adventure are good qualities to have for this type of photography.

Becoming a landscape photographer may be very different for different people. Some are formally trained photographers that spend years training and building a professional portfolio. Others are frequent travelers with little training but a love of the genre and regular opportunities to take landscape photographs. In terms of style, landscape photographers may specialize in photo-realistic images, abstracts, or even impressionist viewpoints. Many are inspired by traditional art and other photographers, but most have a unique perspective that makes each image a personal statement.

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