You’ve gone and done it. You’ve finally saved up for a landscape photography workshop and you’ve booked it. You’re going to Iceland!
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Participating in a landscape photography workshop is a great way to travel and explore Iceland whilst learning all there is to know about your camera. Not only can the experience motivate you and inspire you to grow as a photographer, but you will have the opportunity to photograph some of the most incredible locations in Iceland without the hassle of having to plan and organise it all yourself.
See our popular Autumn Photography Tours & Workshops in Iceland
An added benefit of a guided photo tour is that you’ll be taken safely and directly to the best locations for landscape photography in Iceland, all whilst having expert guides on-hand to share their knowledge with you, helping you to quickly develop into a better photographer.
There’s no doubt that some of the things you will learn in your photography workshop can change your life, particularly if you’re looking to take your photography to a whole new level. You’re probably wondering though about how you’ll be able to learn effectively once you’re in-field, surrounded by others with differing skill levels.
Whether you’re new to photography or a seasoned professional, it’s difficult to make the most of a landscape photography workshop if you don’t know what to expect. So this month, we’ve decided to share with you our professional advice, which will help you to prepare for your photo workshop and to make the most out of your photography investment.
- See also: Summer Workshops in Iceland
Tip #1: Master the Technicalities
You’ve probably been fiddling with your camera at home already, looking up all sorts of information about the technical aspects of photography. However, landscape photography in Iceland is much more than that.
The truth is that the sooner you can move past the technical hurdles of photography, the faster that you’ll be able to focus on the creative side of things such as composition, capturing the best light and being able to use your camera as an effective tool to tell a story with your photos.
Don't be afraid to ask questions of your photo guides. Photo by: 'Iurie Belegurschi'.
During your photo workshop in Iceland, don’t be afraid to ask your photo guides any and every technical question that you may have. Doing so will allow you to learn exactly what you need to know about operating your camera, so that you can move forward and begin to express your creative vision.
Tip #2: Find Your Style
When you’re first starting out in landscape photography, or any kind of photography at all, it is natural to want to emulate the work of other landscape photographers that you admire. You may have even been drooling over other people’s photos of Iceland on the Internet for years or months!
A photo tour is a great time to develop your own photography style. Photo by: 'Iurie Belegurschi'.
Well, you’ll probably be excited to hear that during your photo tour in Iceland, you’ll most likely visit a lot of the same places that you’ve seen in all of those pictures. We know that deep down inside, you’ll probably even want to take exactly the same photos, just because you love them so much.
However, the sooner that you can find your own style and begin to create unique photos that reflect your own vision of the landscape, the more rewarding that landscape photography for you will be.
So even when you arrive at those amazing locations that you’ve seen on the Internet and your photo guides show you some of their own previous work, by all means, set out to try to emulate the shots but don’t make that your one and only goal. Understand that you’re on this landscape photography workshop to learn to take great photos, so it’s important that you are able to find your own personal vision and style.
Tip #3: Push Yourself, Take Risks and Experiment
There is no safer place to practice landscape photography than on a guided workshop around Iceland, so it goes without saying that this is the best time for you to experiment and get creative!
Get outside of your comfort zone to take photos in a way that you might not normally take them. If you usually use a mid-range zoom lens, challenge yourself to get down and low with an ultra wide-angle lens instead. For those who have never tried abstracts with a telephoto lens before, now is the time to do it!
Try new photography techniques during your photo tour. Photo by: 'Iurie Belegurschi'.
Being in a completely new environment is a great opportunity for you to do things that you’re not used to doing, so allow yourself to explore your creative boundaries by taking risks with composition and exposure that will push your photography into a new and exciting direction.
Try shooting in different orientations and most important of all, take photographs even if you don’t like the scene. Let’s face it, you didn’t save up to come to Iceland to do nothing. Learning to take photographs even when the landscape doesn’t appeal to you is one way that you can explore outside the box. Most of the time, you’ll be surprised at what you can come up with.
Tip #4: Make Use of Your Photo Guides
Your photos guides are experienced professional landscape photographers who have been doing this for a while, so use the time that you have with them both in-field and out as best as you can.
Take advantage of their knowledge and expertise by asking questions. More importantly, listen to their responses to everyone’s questions, not just yours, and try to put what they say into practice.
Make the most of your photo guides. Photo by: 'Iurie Belegurschi'.
You may not agree with everything that is said but keep your mind open to their advice. Trust them – they want you to succeed!
Tip #5: Accept Critique
One of the most important aspects of learning photography is being able to accept critique, not just from your photo guides but also your peers. Usually, there will be differing viewpoints to be heard. That’s just because everyone has a different creative vision.
During your photo workshop in Iceland, try to embrace other people’s suggestions and remain open-minded about trying them out. You have the rest of your life to remain focused on one thing; for now, you’re in-field in one of the most beautiful places in the world, so this is the time to try out anything and everything!
Be open to receiving feedback and critique. Photo by: 'Iurie Belegurschi'.
The aim of receiving critique is not to be offended but to realise that others are helping you to make your photography better.
If you want in-depth feedback about your images, then try giving in-depth feedback to others. Don’t be mean; nobody gains anything from hearing hurtful comments. If there is something about someone else’s image that you love, then tell them about it but also provide a bit of an analysis about how you think they can improve upon it. This will encourage others to provide you with the same feedback.
Of course, analysing other people’s photos can also make you more aware of improvements that you can make upon your own landscape photography so don’t be afraid to give and accept critique!
Tip #6: Be Patient and Persist
Landscape photography is something that can take years to learn. In fact, like any other art-form, it’s an ongoing craft that can be fine-tuned continuously. Even your photo guides devote a large portion of their time to keeping up to date with current photography techniques and practices, so that they can stay on top of their game and continue to develop their creative vision.
Don't be afraid to express your creativity. Photo by: 'Iurie Belegurschi'.
While you’re in Iceland, don’t be upset if you feel like you’re not able to express your creativity. It’s in there; you just have to find a way to let it out. Be patient and persist. These are the moments when you’ll find that you’re able to learn the most and your creativity will start to thrive in the environment around you.
If you’re really feeling like you’ve hit a block, then take a moment to watch what everyone else is doing. It may even be useful to ask your peers whether they can show you their compositions and explain what they are doing, so that you can start to see the landscape in a different light.
Don’t be afraid to explore your surrounds and to seek the input of others when you need it. After all, you’re not on your own… and that is the beauty of being part of a photography workshop.
About the author: Serena Dzenis is a landscape photographer based in Iceland. You can find more of her work on her website or by following her on Facebook and Instagram.
Have you ever taken a landscape photography workshop in Iceland? What did you find was useful in helping you to learn? Leave a comment below!
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