Landscape Photography: I Shoot because I Feel

What should I shoot, where should I go or what do I want to see and capture? These are questions that many of us photographers, at all skill sets ask ourselves quite often. Whether it be for business or hobby purposes, trying to figure out what we want to photograph can be challenging. For me, to put it simply, I photograph how I feel. My imagery is more feeling based these days. If I see a particular scene, I try to make some type of visual connection with that scene. It could be a certain composition that‘s drawing me in. It may be the light that’s sparking my interest at the moment of capture, but all in all it comes down to how I’m feeling at the time that I’m pressing that shutter button.

Here are some ideas I like to use when I head out into the field, that help me with my vision and image making process.

When I am out in the field, I try to make some type of connection with the landscape.  With this connection I find capturing  what I see becomes more fluid.  As a result, my mind, eyes, and feelings about the landscape I am seeing at the time of capture, are all in sync, and to a degree,  my feelings and emotions subconsciously take control of the camera.

Landscape Photography example of Peak fall colors, Swamps of Southern USA.

Peak fall colors, Swamps of Southern USA.


Light…it is what makes our imagery come to life.  I feel that some form of light, sparks some inherent emotional responses when in the field.  Regardless of how the light is, whether it be cloudy, sunny, partly cloudy, let the light and conditions dictate what subjects you choose to photograph. Ask yourself, how does the light make you feel when you’re looking at a particular scene?  What are you seeing? Are you seeing smaller scenes with no sky or a smaller scene that focuses on textures, patterns, colors, or just the light itself?  This type of thinking will help your vision/productivity while out in the field and with your post processing.

Creating a moody landscape photos in Hazy morning light. Badlands National Park, South Dakota.

Hazy morning light. Badlands National Park, South Dakota.


Let the above points of feelings and light be your creative outlet of your expression. However you are feeling at the time of the capture, express those feelings with your vision and imagery.  If you’re witnessing this amazing sunset, and overwhelmed with excitement and joy, let your emotions show in the imagery.  Once you connect with the landscape, it will show in your work.

Capturing joy with late summer sunset along the Oregon Coast. Oregon.

Late summer sunset along the Oregon Coast. Oregon.


There are times before I go out and shoot, and I’ll ask myself a series of questions, “How am I feeling today?”  What’s my overall mood before I head out for a shoot?   Am I feeling creative?  Do I want to try something new today?  Most times when I am feeling this way I tend to want to completely step outside of the box, and try something different while out in the field.  Stepping out of your comfort zone can produce compelling imagery….only if you let yourself be free, and take risks.  It’s ok to do something different!

Creative Landscape Photography using a drone to view patterns within a salt lake. Southwest USA.

Aerial view of patterns within a salt lake. Southwest USA.


These are just some observations I have made over the years during my photography journey.  I never realized how important feelings or emotions played into a persons creativity and vision.  From experience, personal feelings have impacted how I create my imagery, both positive and negative. What I have learned is to just let my emotions and feelings dictate how I create in the field.  Let yourself be free and let those feelings flow within your vision.  As a result, it has made me a better photographer……but more importantly, a better person.

Check out the following tutorials on Visual Wilderness:

About Author David Thompson

I’m just a regular guy with a camera from Las Vegas, Nevada that has a deep passion for landscape photography. I love being out in nature, photographing different subjects, and trying to make visual connections with the landscape.