Q: My name is Ashley Armstrong, and I am a member and secretary of the Canaan Country Cousins 4-H club in Wayne County. I am completing the Photography Master project. One of the activities in this project is to interview a photographer who has a career in a field of photography that the 4-H member is studying. I have seen much of your work in Ohio Cooperative Living magazine, and I am interested in landscape photography, so I was wondering if you could perhaps answer the following questions about your career in outdoor photography? Ashley Armstrong, Holmes-Wayne Electric Cooperative
A: Hi, Ashley. I’m glad to help! Following each of your questions below are my answers.
- How did your interest in photography begin? I have had a strong interest in the outdoors all my life, and that passion led me to wanting to share the outdoors with others, one of those ways being through outdoor photography.
- What led you to photography as a career? I’m an outdoors writer as well as an outdoors photographer, and I learned that photography could help sell my writing and vice versa.
- How does landscape photography differ from wildlife photography? What techniques and equipment do you use for each? Landscape and wildlife photography are very different in that with landscapes you are shooting photos of subjects that usually don’t move, whereas most wild animals are nearly constantly on the prowl. As a result, different photo equipment and techniques are needed for each. For landscapes, use shorter lenses that will give greater depth of field to your photos, meaning a larger area of the photo will be in focus. For wildlife, long telephoto lenses are usually needed to get close to your subject, at least 300mm. My largest telephoto lens is 560mm. Here’s a tip for landscape photography: try to have an item of interest in the foreground, middle ground, and background of your photos. And try to have all of those three items in focus. Easier said than done …
- As a freelance photographer, how do you market your skills/work to potential consumers? I market my work by writing and shooting photos for magazines (both print and online) and books. To date, I have written more than 1,000 magazine articles and six books; several thousand of my photos have been published along with my stories.
- If you had one single piece of advice for a young amateur photographer, what would it be? Spend time studying the many photos published in magazines, newspapers, and books, then ask yourself the following two questions: why did the photo editor choose to publish that particular shot, and how did the photographer get the shot? Then go outdoors and take as many photos of different photo subjects as you can, and do so at various times of the day. Doing so will teach you how light changes throughout the day. Usually the best light for landscape photography is the natural light that occurs early and late, not so much during midday.
I hope my answers help, Ashley, and I look forward to seeing your published photos some day. Please let me know when that happens. Also, you are a very good writer. Have you ever considered becoming an outdoors writer as well as a landscape photographer? The two skills fit well together, and one helps sell the other. Good luck!