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Thread: What's the hardest type of photography?

  1. #1

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    What's the hardest type of photography?

    For me it's landscapes. I was pondering this over the weekend. I shoot mostly wildlife. It dawned on me that I've concentrated on wildlife for two reasons. First, it gets me out in nature which is why I got into photography to start with. Second, it's challenging from the standpoint that one has to "hunt" the subject first to even get the opportunity to take the photos. Once that's done it's then just the technical process of capturing the images. You have no control over what the animal does so you kind of get what you get and if you're lucky the animal does something interesting. Likewise you have no control over the lighting conditions etc. when you make the encounter. Granted you can take best advantage of what's available but basically it is what it is.

    Landscapes, on the other hand, just sit there. You have to think about it, move around for an interesting perspective, etc. Manipulate what's in the frame and what's' not. Position elements within the frame, blah, blah, blah. I've read umpteen things on how to do it well but when I'm there looking at a scene none of that knowledge seems to make itself available to me. After the fact I'm always thinking that I should have done this or that.

    I was just wondering whether others have the same problem...

  2. #2
    Trina's Avatar
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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    Hi Dan,
    For me the hardest thing is people....making sure the background is not too busy, or they are not closing their eyes at the same time... getting them posed and making sure the lights are right....
    Now landscapes on the other hand, sunsets, sunrises, wildlife, I" hunt" much like you do wildlife... You never know when you will pop over a ridge or cross over a creek and find the perfect landscape shot... its true... it can't run away from you.... but in the cases of sunrise/sunsets things are changing so fast it does not leave you much time for fiddling around with anything.

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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    People who suddenly appear in the wrong place are certainly annoying. However, I find landscapes, where thinking time is allowed, are much simpler than flying birds.

    Or most sports for that matter, where it is a case of just one chance with little in the way of preparation time.

    But some things, like weddings for instance, are a total no go area for me. This is supposed to be a hobby so I don't need excessive stress!

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    I find that travel photography is the hardest for me. It’s a mix of all kinds of photography; landscape, cityscape, street photography, architecture, product shots, all rolled into one overarching theme; but with the added constraint that one has a very limited level of flexibility as to one’s timing. Weather, time of day, etc. might be totally out of your control. I’ve been past Mount Cook in New Zealand and Mount Fuji in Japan twice, but I have yet to see them as they were totally obscured by clouds.

    The other issue is that the opportunity to scout the site is extremely limited. Google Earth can only do so much, and you can sometimes do quite well if you are going to well-known place. On the other hand, if you get to some fairly remote spots of the world, it is pretty useless.

    One is also quite limited to the equipment choice as you have to take everything with you. There are practical considerations if you are heading out on a plane (weight and luggage limits) or hiking off for a few hours because you don’t want to pack too much stuff.

    With travel photography, you generally want to tell a story, but doing so can be difficult because you won’t know the storyline you want to use until the end, so you have to shoot lots of additional material, just in case you might want to use it.

    Then of course is the culling and vast amount of PP work to put things together into a final product.

  5. #5

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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    I find good photography to be the biggest challenge. Trying to take a photo that was worth the click is what usually trips me up...

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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    Portraits and figure shots are my toughest areas. I'm learning, and I've been lucky enough to work with some really excellent models, but there an infinite nuances and chances for minute little mistakes. My portfolio still doesn't contain any posed portraits (though it does have a few environmentals), simply because I'm still behind the curve in that area. Landscapes are also an issue, but mainly due to my lack of interest. Apparently roller derby has made me an adrenalin junkie.

    I'd echo Manfred's points about travel photography. Anticipating one's needs and possible issues ahead of time can be tricky, but that's part of the fun. On a recent trip to Key West, I had to travel with my SCUBA equipment and camera gear. My large, checked bag weighed 48lbs. My relatively small carry-on backpack, stuffed with lenses, batteries, chargers, laptop, regulators, backplate, and other dense cargo, weighed 56lbs. Good thing they didn't check.

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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    My relatively small carry-on backpack, stuffed with lenses, batteries, chargers, laptop, regulators, backplate, and other dense cargo, weighed 56lbs. Good thing they didn't check.
    They don't need to weigh the bag that you are going to carry, only the ones that the cargo handlers are going to handle.

  8. #8
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Designer View Post
    They don't need to weigh the bag that you are going to carry, only the ones that the cargo handlers are going to handle.
    But there is an on-paper limit to the weight of a carry-on (I checked, then rolled the dice, hoping they wouldn't test). Don't remember the exact number, but I was definitely over it.

    [/thread_hijack]

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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    I do landscapes to relax in photography, so I find it the easiest. It doesn't move, light is pretty much what you have and so no stress on how to change it (aside from coming on a better day/time - but that's not photography stress, that's not wanting to get out of bed). Usually going to be there next time, very unusual to have a landscape change drastically (although some do).
    Macro I consider (usually) to be landscapes on a smaller scale.
    Portraiture - tough as the subject is expecting you to know how to pose them, how to light them, how to process them and STILL make them recognisable to family and friends. Anything goes wrong, then you have to fix it under their intolerant scrutiny. Nightmare for me.
    Also find food photography hard, all that staging and very finicky lighting, or very very limited time with which to work.
    Jewellery - all those reflections to control, plus a heck of a lot of post processing for some stuff (replacing backgrounds, drop shadows and the like).
    Weddings of course. One chance to get someones shot of a lifetime, and if anything goes wrong, may as well just bend over.
    Architecture - however, that's mainly due to limited space and difficult lighting issues.


    Basically anything I can earn money from doing I find harder than landscapes. Landscapes are very difficult to earn money from as so many people do it, marketing is the key, and nothing to do with photography directly (transferrable skill for so many jobs).
    So, did I miss any major genres?
    Graham

  10. #10
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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    Outdoor sports photography. Lighting can change from minute to minute, positioning yourself for the best angle in relation to the Sun. Shooting with a slow lens.

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    For me, it is underwater photography. For various reasons including that I don't like to be underwater!

  12. #12

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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    It's a no-brainer: The most difficult kind of photography is the kind that I happen to be doing at the time.

  13. #13

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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    The various perspectives on what constitutes "hard" are interesting. In the context of creating marketable images, they are all equally hard to me. What I consider to be good photography rarely aligns with what people buy. So I just fire away and hope for the best in that regard. My context was more around the technical aspect of making a capture that is pleasing to the photographer him/her self.

  14. #14
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    From a technical standpoint, the hardest photography I've tried so far is long-exposure stroboscopic work. Not only do you have to make good shots, you have to make four or more in a row with no breaks. Still working on it.

  15. #15
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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    I agree with Mike. The hardest photography is the photography you are currently doing. Bruce

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernFocus View Post
    What's the hardest type of photography?


    Forensic Photography.

    It takes a precise detachment: a detachment not known in any other form of the Craft.
    Very few Photographers can do it and not many last at it.

    WW

  17. #17

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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    Forensic Photography.

    It takes a precise detachment: a detachment not known in any other form of the Craft.
    Very few Photographers can do it and not many last at it.

    WW
    Without a shadow of a doubt, dead bodies are easy compared to living ones (especially the vulnerable - kids and elderly) with devastating injuries.
    Graham

  18. #18
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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    It is when you see something every day you want to photograph but don't have your camera with you. When you finally return to get that shot, the subject in mind is gone or the scene has changed somehow.

  19. #19

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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    Forensic Photography.

    It takes a precise detachment: a detachment not known in any other form of the Craft.
    Very few Photographers can do it and not many last at it.

    WW
    This one never occurred to me. I agree this would have to be tough.

    One thing I did not anticipate when I started this thread is how narrowly I myself was viewing the topic. Photography covers a lot of ground.

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    Re: What's the hardest type of photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernFocus View Post
    Photography covers a lot of ground.
    Don't forget the oceans and the skies.

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