Light on tree
Photography Tips and Techniques

The Impact of Expectations on Your Landscape Photography Journey

Light on tree

The photograph above, taken under the intense midday sun in British Columbia, Canada, serves as a beacon of hope. Embarking on a landscape photography trip can be both a reward and a challenge, particularly when multiple options are on the table. You invest both time and money in these excursions, naturally fueling the expectation of capturing stunning images.

The Emotional Toll of Decision Making

From personal experience, deciding where to go on a remote location can become a daily struggle. The agony of choice can be intense, and once a location is picked over the others, the pressure mounts for it to yield spectacular landscapes upon arrival. This might sound irrational, but life is full of self-learning, isn’t it?

Embracing Nature Without Preconceived Ideas

The real secret lies in embracing and admiring nature. I firmly believe in the interconnectedness of all life forms – humans, animals, plants, and what you may refer to as God, the Universe, or Life. My aim when stepping into a landscape is to capture the diverse expressions of this eternal formlessness. Sometimes, it reveals itself in the rays of light, while at other times, it manifests in a tiny mushroom sprouting from a gigantic tree trunk.

As landscape photographers, we are privileged to take portraits of the eternal formless. Expecting a landscape to conform to our imagination is akin to asking God to pose for a photograph. Nowadays, I venture into landscapes with minimal expectations, allowing the formless to present itself for capture. Judging a landscape based on light quality or weather conditions is futile – it’s essentially self-judgment reflecting our lack of creativity or skill to find beauty.

The Importance of Planning (When Necessary)

Of course, certain scenarios call for meticulous planning. Factors like the length of the day, cloud coverage (if you’re documenting clouds), storm and tide patterns (for storm and seascape photography), and augmented reality mobile applications (for Milky Way and star trails photography) can be crucial.

Nonetheless, as a general rule, I try not to judge landscapes or weather conditions. I have found that when I simply admire nature, it rewards me with unbelievable gifts.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do expectations affect my landscape photography?
    Expectations can either propel your creativity or limit it. Approaching a landscape with minimal expectations allows for an open-minded exploration of nature’s beauty.
  2. How important is planning for landscape photography?
    While planning is useful in certain scenarios (like documenting clouds or shooting star trails), generally, maintaining an open mind and refraining from judging landscapes or weather conditions can yield more authentic and spontaneous images.
  3. What’s the key to capturing stunning landscape photographs?
    Embrace and admire nature. Allow the landscape to present itself rather than forcing your preconceived notions onto it. You’d be surprised how often nature rewards such admiration with incredible images.


Expectations in landscape photography can serve as a double-edged sword. While planning and having a clear image of what you want to capture can be beneficial, setting rigid expectations can limit your ability to see and capture the spontaneous beauty of nature. It’s essential to find a balance, embrace the surroundings, and let the landscape reveal itself in its most authentic form.