As one of the oldest and most popular photography niches, the landscape photography scene is bursting at the seams with talented professional photographers and their stunning pieces of work. Although it’s becoming increasingly difficult to break into the landscape photography niche, it’s certainly an area well worth considering.
We’ve been in touch with UK landscape photographer, Justin Minns, who spends much of his time capturing the beauty of East Anglia as well as running photography workshops around the world. Justin’s quality work has delivered him some fantastic clients, including the National Trust, not to mention a wealth of achievements too, the most recent having three images commended in the Landscape Photographer of the Year.
Why did you choose to become a photographer?
It was never my intention to become a professional photographer, it started as a hobby which just got out of hand.
What drew you to focus on landscape photography as your niche?
Like most budding photographers, I experimented with different techniques and genres, but I’ve had a love of the outdoors since my childhood so it was only a matter of time before I was drawn to landscapes.
What equipment do you typically take with you on a shoot?
I usually carry my Canon 5D Mark IV along with three lenses, typically a 16-35mm, 24-105mm then either a 70-200mm or 100-400mm. I’m never without my tripod or my Lee filters.
Are there any trends or changes to the industry that have affected the way you work?
The popularity of landscape photography as a hobby has meant that I spend as much time teaching as I do shooting!
What words of wisdom would you give to budding photographers looking to focus on landscape photography?
Get to know your local area. Building up an intimate knowledge of the area, learning where to go in certain weather conditions and being able to respond quickly when conditions are good will enable you to improve your skills in a way that random visits to photography ‘hot spots’ won’t. You’ll also create a more personal body of work in the process.
Why should budding photographers choose a career in landscape photography?
It’s a wonderful hobby...but a difficult way to earn a living.
How do you prepare before heading out on a landscape photography shoot?
I spend a lot of time researching locations in advance, usually beginning by taking the dog for a walk to find the spot and then online research to discover the best time of day and year for the light and conditions. The night before, I’ll double check the weather, tides and, of course, my kit.
Describe your favourite landscape photography shoot to date - what makes it so special?
It’s very difficult to choose, I always love it when we get amazing conditions on a workshop and you get to share it with a group, but my personal favourite was probably catching the heather at first light on Dunwich Heath in Suffolk a few years ago. It took four visits before I finally got the conditions I had visualised but when it finally came together it was all the more special for that effort.
What do you think the future holds for the landscape photography niche?
Good question, if I knew I’d probably keep it to myself!
Are there any specific tools or tricks you tried out to develop your landscape photography skills?
I think learning to use ND filters so I could control the shutter speed and get the creative effect I wanted in any situation has probably played the biggest part in the development of my landscapes.
A big thanks for Justin for taking the time to speak to us about his work as a landscape photographer and for sharing his gorgeous images with us, too.