The Landscape Photography Business - Interview

29th April 2016
I was recently interviewed for a photography magazine who were conducting interviews as part of an article about landscape photographers aimed towards the business side of the industry. The interviews were geared towards exploring the way that photographers fit into and adapt to the current picture market and how people are developing new ways of making money from landscape photography. The full interview is below:

Q. How long have you been a photographer?

I bought my first DSLR camera in 2005 so have been into photography for 11 years. I set up my own part time photography business 'Nickscape' in 2013 initially to react to a demand for prints.

Q. Did you study photography at college or are you self-taught?

I’m completely self taught. Whilst I’ve never attended any formal sessions I have learnt through reading a lot of blogs and other photography websites studying the work of others and then getting out with the camera to practice. I've always found that experience of dealing with the conditions you experience out in the landscape have meant that I have needed to change the way I work and find ways of capturing the image in adverse conditions.

Q. Can you name three photographers who have influenced you on your journey into photography and why?

Adam Burton - I first stumbled across Adam’s work before he was a professional and have always admired his natural style and have followed his progress to becoming a well known professional landscape photographer.
David Noton - One of the UK’s best landscape photographers who has a refreshing approach to the photography business than some of other famous names.
Greame Peacock - Mainly an architecture photographer but also produces landscape photos, it was Greame’s work of the bridges over the River Tyne who initial inspired me to get into photography.

Q. Have there been times when you struggled to learn the skills you have today, and if so, what kept you motivated to keep learning?

There have been a few aspects of photography that have been difficult to learn, these mainly relate to the output of prints and the mounting/framing options and techniques which need more personal guidance rather than online research. I've always experimented with mounting and framing options, it has been by working with local businesses that I have been able to find solutions to these issues and be able to provide the quality products that I now do as part of the business.

Q. What equipment do you use?

Nikon D7100 Digital SLR Camera Body (24.1 MP)
Manfrotto 055 3 Leg Section Tripod
Manfrotto 460MG 3-Way Magnesium Head
NiSi V5 100mm Square Filters Holder System
Nikon ML-L3 Remote Control
Nissin Di622 Mark11 Nikon Fit Speedlite
Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly Charged Sensor Brush
Phase One Capture One Pro 8 Imaging Software

Q. What makes a winning landscape photograph, for you?

The conditions are the most important element for me, you really do need to be out at dawn to catch the first light of the day which I have found the be the most pure. Composition also plays a big part so when a good composition matches with the weather conditions you often come back with the most successful photographs. Some of the best landscape photographs I have seen have been taken in everyday locations but the conditions have made all the difference.

Q. Do you enjoy the processing part of photography and what do you like or dislike about it?

I enjoy the post processing part of photography but do find that it takes up much more time than actually being out with the camera. I have a rule that processing an image shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes so try to get things as right as possible in the camera. I enjoy viewing my images on the screen and working out how to get the best out of the RAW data I have captured, I dislike the time it takes to get through the images from a trip, particularly creating the different outputs for web/print/stock library/backups.

Q. Do you have a favorite location you have photographed, why is it your favorite?

Glencoe in Scotland is my favourite location closely followed by the Isle of Skye purely for the unspoiled natural landscape and opportunities that they offer.

Q. If you could visit any place in the world to photograph you haven’t been to before, where would that be and why?

I would most like to explore the national parks in North America & Canada, starting in Yellowstone and finishing up in the Rocky Mountains again purely because of the scenery.

Q. Are you suddenly inspired or do you plan a project?

Most of my photography is planned around holidays and weekend trips, it’s rare that I have the time to be spontaneous due to other work commitments. Unless as part of a commission, most of images I take are on trips which are not dedicated to photography so have to fit these in when I can.

Q. What interested you to become a Landscape Photographer?

Being outside and visiting the beautiful countryside was one of the reasons I caught the landscape bug, it’s often more about being outside in the fresh air enjoying new views and areas which makes me want to get out and take photos. I also enjoying sharing my landscape photos with people who might not visit some of the stunning locations I find myself in.

Q. What is your favorite time of year, day and your favorite subject?

Autumn is by far my favourite time of year for a number of reasons, these include the colour shift in the landscape, the more sociable sunrise times and finally the freshness of the landscape at dawn. During the autumn months the first light is often mixed with lingering mist and the landscape is covered in a fresh layer of dew making all of the foliage glisten.

Q. Do you have any advice for a person who wants to pursue a career in photography?

Work on your editing skills which will make all the difference both in saving time processing images but also to create your own image style to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Most photographers survive or fail on their business skills not their photography skill so make sure you are business/marketing minded and keep up with current trends. Be prepared to take on work other than traditional photography, most photographers I know work in other creative industries alongside their photography business.

Q. What can we expect to see from you in the future?

More of the same with hopefully getting my images into a few more magazines and books and to become more well known in the picture buyers circles. I also want to expand on my current range of calendars and greetings cards which I sell through my website and other digital marketplaces. I'm continuing to expand my stock image collection and have begun to plan holidays in new areas of the UK to add to my appeal and coverage.

About Nick
Nick Cockman is a digital photographer from Sheffield specialising in UK Landscape and Seascape photography.

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