There’s a great piece by Adobe on their blog about visual trends, “Natural Instincts: Finding Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Wellness on Planet Earth.”
Unless you’re living under a rock (which may actually be a good thing) you’re aware of the back to nature, connecting with earth trend that is making an appearance in just about every aspect of our lives lately. Consumerism and commercialism have taken us away from some of the most basic joys of life, nature and the world around us.
What does this have to do with photography? As stated in Adobe’s article, the trends in decorating, in colors and in advertising are all moving toward nature, natural landscapes and more natural color palettes. Images that make us feel, help us relax and breathe, images that take us away from the everyday concrete, man-made worlds we live in. If you are a photographer selling fine art images, working with commercial accounts or selling stock then these are the types of images you should be producing and putting out there to sell.
Trends in travel are also getting back to nature, exploring more destinations that involve more star-gazing, camping and fewer umbrella drinks poolside. I think photographers, in general, have mostly done this already. We tend to be a back to nature type of crowd. If you are a photographer who leads workshops and/or photography tours you may want to ditch the big city tours and start looking into some more remote/wilderness and nature orientated destinations. More and more people/photographers are looking for these types of experiences.
I just like to take photos, what does all this mean for me?
This is taking the trend in a different direction but you can learn from getting back to earth and use that to help improve your photography. How? By connecting with nature (and actually connecting with wherever you are).
Take a half-hour, put your camera down and sit or wander in an area. Observe, watch and see what is around you. Listen to the sounds. Smell the smells, hopefully, there are no skunks around. Just be for a while. Be aware of the light, how it hits the trees, where the shadows lie. Relax and breathe. Pick up the leaves in the fall, crinkle them up in your hands, listen to that sound, feel the crispiness of them. Touch the trees, feel the bark, see the patterns it makes. Does this seem all airy-fairy, hippy-dippy? Sometimes, but being in nature feeds our souls. If you think about it, it’s where we came from. We didn’t have all this concrete, all this technology — we played outside, we rolled down hills and we connected with the earth. Maybe it wasn’t intentional or deliberate but it’s what we did.
Once you’ve taken the time to take in all that is around you beyond just seeing it, pick up your camera. I guarantee you’ll take entirely different shots than you would have had you just walked into that place and started shooting. You’ll be putting what you experienced just that moment into those images. You’ll feel what you are shooting in your heart, in your being. You’ll not only see the difference in your photography if you make this a regular practice, but you’ll also feel better.