Andy Mumford is a landscape photographer based in Lisbon Portugal. He is also an author, and posts his adventures on his youtube channel where he shares extremely helpful tips to becoming a better landscape photographer. He is also the latest in an ever growing list of Fuji Ambassadors to join the podcast.
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In This Episode You'll Learn:
How Andy got started in photography
The most difficult element of photography for Andy to learn
What Andy looks for technically in a great landscape photo
How Andy learned landscape photography
Why Landscape photography is important
How to get started in landscape photography
A personal story of the importance of failure
Premium Members Also Learn:
The Importance of having an instagram following
How Andy grew his instagram following organically
If knowing an image will be sold does it affect how it is shot
Working and selling photos through stock sites
How to get started selling prints and what to charge
Did you enjoy this episode? Check out more recent interviews with other great guests!
Full Episode Transcription:
Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.
Raymond: 00:00:00 Hey Raymond here from the beginning, photography podcast and skydiving is definitely on my bucket list. What's on your bucket list? Let me know. Send me a message on Instagram at our Hatfield photo. Okay, let's get into today's interview.
Intro: 00:00:14 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfield, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymond interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now with you as always, husband, father, home brewer, La Dodger Fan and Indianapolis wedding photographer Raymond Hatfield. Welcome.
Raymond: 00:00:44 It is me, Raymond Hatfield, your host of the beginner of photography podcast. And today we have an interview that I am incredibly excited for with a photographer who knows his stuff and you're going to hear all about it in today's interview. But I wanted to share something real quick as time goes on. The podcast becomes okay, let me start over. When I first started the podcast, it was kind of self serving, right? I really wanted to talk to other photographers and kind of get picked their brains to find out how I could be better, right? Building this platform to, to, to let me do so was, was an awesome idea and was really exciting. But as time goes on, as each episode comes out, I realize more and more each day that these episodes are not only incredibly useful to me. Right? And, and, and let me pick the brains of some of the world's best photographers.
Raymond: 00:01:34 But it's important for you, the listeners, and sometimes it takes a reading, you know, but, but not getting face to face, but, but meeting people online, right? Joining the beginner photography podcast, Facebook group to really hear people's stories about listening to the podcast that that makes me realize that this podcast is just way bigger than, than what I started this thing for. And I think it's best kind of summed up in today's iTunes review. And it comes from Magda and she's in the beginning photography podcast, Facebook group. So Magda, first of all, I just want to thank you for leaving a, a an iTunes review. And what Magnus says was, I stumbled upon the podcast a couple months ago and I have to say it's been life changing. I've always loved photography, but listening to Raymond and his interviews has inspired me to learn and keep shooting.
Raymond: 00:02:29 He has such great energy and put so much into each episode. I highly recommend listening. If you're looking to learn how to take better pictures, you will not be disappointed. So kind of a lot of that was was it was about me. Right? And I, I feel weird about that because I'm just here kind of asking the questions, right? It's not me who sharing the information, it's the guests who share the information. But what Magna's getting out of it is the information is changing the way that she shooting. She's been interested in for a long time. Right? But it wasn't until kind of listening to other photographers that she decided to pursue it further. Right. And that is what is kind of shifting her life in, in a new direction. And I love hearing that just from just from this podcast episode, right? Well maybe not specifically this one cause she hasn't heard it yet, but she will hear in a few minutes and I'm sure that it'll have the same effect, but it's just really awesome to hear that that other people are having experiences with the podcast that are more than just very passively listening, that people are taking action listening to this podcast and putting their life like they're taking control of their life and putting it into, in the motion of, of where they want to go.
Raymond: 00:03:41 And that is just so awesome. So Magda, thank you again so much for leaving that review on iTunes and I'm glad that this podcast in some way affects your life to, to, to move it in the direction that you wanted to. So thank you again, all of these iTunes reviews. I cannot tell you how much they mean to, to not only me, but to you for every podcast. I guess for every review that the podcast gets it, it, you know, algorithms and stuff, it increases the visibility in iTunes. More people find the podcast which increases our visibility to potential guests as well. The larger the podcast the more guests will will come on and share their information. So if you would take one minute of your time, I would be so incredibly grateful to leave the podcast, a quick review and be honest about it.
Raymond: 00:04:34 If it's not five stars, if it's only three stars, I want to hear, let me know how can I make the show better for you? Leave a review, let me know your experiences and, and again, thank you. Thank you so much for everything. Okay, we are going to get into today's interview right now. This interview is with a landscape photographer, Andy Mumford. All right. And Andy, you may have heard of him. He posts a lot of educational videos on Youtube, all about landscape photography and it is t. Today's interview is just one that I'm really, really excited to get into. But as always, there's a, there's a good chunk of the interview missing that is just for premium members. And today premium members are going to hear things that are more along the business side of a shooting and specifically landscape photography. So today Andy talks about things like the importance of an Instagram following and how he built his organically.
Raymond: 00:05:31 He talks about the basics of selling your work on stock sites knowing if knowing that an image will be sold affects how the image is shot and how to even price prints when getting started. So there's a lot of information here for premium members. And if you are interested in becoming a premium member, just head over to beginner photography, podcast.com and you will see a premium membership link up at the top. Just click that for more information. So that is it. All right, we're going to get into this interview, but before we do, I want you to check out the show notes of this episode just to see a sample of Andy's work so that you can get some context behind some of the things that we're talking about. So if you're listening in a podcast player, you should be able to swipe up.
Raymond: 00:06:13 There should be a link there to a, the, the, the show notes. We should be something like beginner photography, podcast.com, forward slash podcast forward slash one three, seven. And then that will take you to the some examples of Andy's work and you'll be able to see it there. One thing that really struck me by surprise, maybe it shouldn't be by surprise, but, but it was, it was how down to Earth Andy is in this interview. You know, here's this guy who, who you see him and he's essentially living the dream of so many photographers. He gets to travel the world and he gets to go to beautiful locations and then he gets to shoot the things that he wants to shoot on his own terms, right? Sure. Maybe he has to get up at like three or four in the morning to go on these long hikes.
Raymond: 00:07:00 But, but you get the idea is that he gets to do these things that he wants to do and shoot the things that he wants to do the way that he wants to. And you're gonna hear in this interview just how incredibly down to Earth Andy is and how he doesn't over-complicate his approach. And it is just incredibly refreshing. And I know that you are going to to, to get a lot out of this interview with Andy. So without taking up any more of your time, let's go ahead and get on into this interview right now with Andy Mumford.
Raymond: 00:07:33 Today's guest is a landscape photographer based in Lisbon, Portugal. He is also an author and post his adventures on his youtube channel where he shares extremely helpful tips on becoming a better landscape photographer. He is also the latest in an ever growing list of Fuji Ambassadors to join the podcast. And today I am excited to be chatting with Andy Mumford. Andy, thank you so much for coming on the heights.
Andy Mumford: 00:07:54 Thank you for having me. Nice to meet you.
Raymond: 00:07:56 Yeah. so like we kind of said right there before I started recording at the, at the beginning of the year, what I decided to do was I reached out to the members of the beginning of photography podcast, Facebook group, and I simply wanted to know, you know, like who are the photographers that you want to hear from, who are the photographers who have an influence on you and you just have questions about that, that you want to expand your knowledge of photography and your name came up more than once. And I knew right then that like, oh, this is a perfect excuse to reach out to not only another Fuji photographer, but just somebody with a, a, an incredible portfolio. So today I'm really excited to be chatting with you.
Andy Mumford: 00:08:36 Well, thank you. It's, that's really nice to hear. And it's, it's it's quite surprising to hear because I think quite often when you, when you're doing photography, you, you, you, and you're doing youtube, you get the comments, but you do still feel that you are almost operating, operating in isolation. So when you, you get that kind of feedback that people want to, you know, want to hear, you've got to say, it still comes as a little bit of, as a, as a surprise to me, but [inaudible]
Raymond: 00:09:00 Nice to hear. Yeah. So I can get people down. Yeah, no, no, not, not at all. Not at all. But as a podcast I was, I can I can, I can pair it the same thing. It's, it's, you know, I talk to these people, I talked to you, I talked to other photographers and the, there is this weird, like, is anybody listening to this? Like I don't know the numbers say that there are, but I, I have no idea. I have no idea. So that's why the group really comes in handy. So I, I mentioned that you are a landscape photographer. You do beautiful work when it comes to landscapes. But I'm sure that one day you didn't wake up and you're just like, okay, here I am a mom, a photographer. Like let's like, let's get go and let's do some workshops. I want to know how you got your start in photography in the first place.
Andy Mumford: 00:09:43 It's a long story because it's been quite a long journey. I, I came to photography quite late. I kind of discovered in photography. Well, when I was a kid I always had like a film crew and I was always documenting what me and my friends were doing when I was sort of 17, 18, 19. But that doesn't really count in terms of photography as a passion that, that defined a lot of aspects of my life that came about 15, 14, 15 years ago when digital photography was just taken off. And I got my first digital camera and I went to New York actually, and took a lot of really bad and just came back to these photos. Look nothing like my my experience. So I got really interested in learning about how to take images, how to take better images. Because until that point, I don't have a thought of just pointing my camera at stuff and clicking the shutter.
Andy Mumford: 00:10:35 I had no idea of of any of the aspects of photography of what a camera was actually doing. So I started to learn and I started to post my, my images online in places like flicker and Devian are, if you remember that community. Oh, I do. Yeah. And I started to pick up tips. I just found a particular DV, oh, it was a really helpful community for people sharing experiences and sharing, sharing learning experiences and stuff like that. So I started to learn and what I always loved was was photographing landscapes because I, I'd always, as a kid, I'd been used to go camping into it. So London and France and really love being outside and really loved being in nature. And I lived at that time really close to the sea. So the obvious thing for me was to take photographs in the sea and I kind of really fell in love with that whole act of being outside with a camera and it just enhanced the experience of being in nature.
Andy Mumford: 00:11:26 It really kind of focused it. So I kind of started with that and just learning how to take better pictures of the sea and learning about filters and about the different aspects of exposure and the diff and long exposures and things like this. And it, it was just a hobby which grew and grew and grew. And then I started to shape trips and I would make, so I've always traveled a lot. So I would start to make trips instead of going displace because I thought looked cool. I went to this particular place because I thought it had great landscapes. So I saw in like my travel started to revolve around around going to particular places that I wanted to photograph. And then the professional side came in through from a complete left field. And I think as, I think it happens to a lot of people who take photographs, at some point someone says to them, I'm getting married and, and, and you take photos, can you, so can you photograph my wedding?
Andy Mumford: 00:12:19 So it was a completely different thing to anything that I was doing, but I photographed a friend's wedding and then another friends and then through through long what's the series of coincidences drifted into doing wedding photography. Professionally, I started to advertise because I had other friends who were doing other things connected with weddings and started to shoot more and more weddings. And that was when I really started to learn about professionalism and dealing with clients and having deadlines and photography as as more than a hobby. And that grew and grew. But alongside of that, I was always fascinated by travel photography and landscape photography and I still doing trips and, and, and learn and improving my, my portfolio and trying to improve my skills in landscape photography. And so they were kind of both growing side by side. And then at a point about five or six years ago were a little more people started to ask, you know, I'd go get emails on comes Portugal, could you could I do a day with you and you could take me out shooting and we could do maybe a, maybe a workshop.
Andy Mumford: 00:13:24 So I started to do one to one workshops or scrutiny group workshops and then to where I am now. So yeah, it wasn't a plan and there wasn't a time when I thought I'm a photographer, I'm not a photographer. I just kind of drifted into it. And alongside all of this time when I discovered photography, I was, I was teaching English. That's how I came to live in Portugal. And what happened was I, as I started to make a living for and started to make earnings from doing wedding photography, I became part time teaching. So I was doing part time teaching, part time photography and photography just kind of grew and grew to fill in the gaps until I eventually left my job and just became a full time photographer. But because it happens so gradually, there wasn't ever really a plan. I never had this right. I'm here now, I want to be there next year. It's just like things happen that I reacted to them and then yeah, here we are.
Raymond: 00:14:15 Wow. That sounds like a very non American way of, of, of getting to where you are. I think here in America you would try to plan out everything to the t and then if one thing didn't work, you would just give up on it all and, and get upset about it. But I love, I love that kind of philosophy that you had and I want to know, I, there was a few questions out of that. The first one being when you started shooting weddings, did, did it feel a wrong view? You kind of mentioned the, the importance of, of the professionalism aspect of it. Was that against the grain of what you wanted out of photography?
Andy Mumford: 00:14:54 That's a good question. I never really felt at the beginning I didn't feel a bit that way because there's a responsibility with shooting weddings. I think wedding photography is is probably one of the toughest areas of, of professional photography to work in because every single shoot you do your working on the most important thing in someone's life, they've put how will you know, sometimes a year's worth of planning into this day and they've chosen you to to document that to, to, to, to be the person who helps them provide their memories. Because what happens, I think I'm going very off topic here, but what happens quite often with, with memory and photography is sometimes our memories anchor themselves around when, when the memories start to fade a little bit. Our memories kind of sometimes anchor themselves around particular images.
Andy Mumford: 00:15:50 So in 10 years time, a lot of the images that you take from someone's wedding are going to be quite instrumental to them. Memories of, of that wedding. Oh, I think, you know, they're not, obviously they're not the only thing, but they are very important. So, the, so I think there's a great responsibility that comes with wedding photography, which I probably wasn't aware of when my friend asked me to do it because it was very much, Oh yeah, that word. Just take some pictures. And then it increased in professionalism. The next person I was like, I'm going to do this better. So I invested in a flash and things like that. And I never really follow this is going against what I against the grain. It was just, I don't know. I like learning stuff and I like to try to do things well.
Andy Mumford: 00:16:32 And it was, so for me it was kind of like, how do I do this? How do I do this? Well, how do I do this better? It did reach a point in wedding photography where I lost, I think wedding photography, the, on the one side of it is an incredibly positive thing because a wedding is a, is a, is one of the days in life when you are genuinely surrounded by positivity. There's a lot of love in any, in the room of any wedding. And that's really nice. You know, everyone, his injuries just generally having fun and enjoying themselves and it's nice to work in that environment. It's nice to be in, in working in such a positive environment and to be part of that. And I did enjoy that, but I reached a point where I didn't I just didn't love it anymore.
Andy Mumford: 00:17:16 It was becoming a mechanical process, which wasn't what I wanted out of photography, what I want out of photography. It's quite selfish. There's an element of self satisfaction of, of of, I don't really like to use the word communicating cause I think that's presumptuous, but I think certainly in landscape photography you go to a place and you and you have an experience and you are trying to capture and define that experience in an image. And I wasn't really getting that from wedding photography. There's, there's a huge amount of creativity, creative possibilities and I see a lot of wedding photographers doing really creative stuff that I'm just like, Oh wow, that's incredible. But it wasn't really working for me. I couldn't, I just, I don't know. I didn't really, I just kind of fell out of love with it. I guess because of the, the, the pressure, all, you know, you go to a wedding, you shoot two, 3000 images over sometimes a 14 hour period and it's exhausting.
Andy Mumford: 00:18:14 By the end of the wedding. You're, you're, you're exhausted. I used to shoot with a Nikon d three, which is a big pro body camera with aseptic 200 f 2.8 Lens, which is a really big, heavy, super heavy and an SB 900 flash. And I, you know, I, I'm sorry, I don't know American whites, but that's coming into over three, three kilos in and European money and party, you know, just the strains on your own with your fingers and on your whole body. And then you, you get back and you've got made, you know, these 3000 images to, to call an edit down to the, the selection that you give to the client. And I really believed with weddings that there's a very strict time limit because people have the, that have the honeymoon and the January after their honeymoon they go back to work and their livestock to go back to normality and the wedding recedes into the past.
Andy Mumford: 00:19:03 So it was really important to me that the clients would get their photos within three weeks from the wedding, which when your shoots, if you shoot sort of three weddings in a, in a month, you're kind of setting yourself up for, for 12 hour days of editing. I tried to get along and I just, because of that I just start, stop loving it. And and it wasn't what had pulled me into photography in the first place, which was generally, as I was saying, early on, sitting next to the sea, taking my time photographing waves, waiting for Nice sunsets or good light. And I that just kind of drifted away. And I, I stopped. I stopped being in love with, with wedding photography.
Raymond: 00:19:41 That makes sense. I love that approach. I love that insight. A view into your brain there. It was a very refreshing to hear. So thank you. When, so when, when you went from, I want to know more about that trip to New York, you went to New York, you took photos, you got back, and you're like, this is not what I experienced at all. Was it, was there a lack of, of technical understanding in photography or was it composition or, or, or explained to me,
Andy Mumford: 00:20:09 Oh, is everything. They were terrible. It was well, as I said at the beginning when I was a kid I used to have a film camera and I would take pictures when I was basically always the guy when, when me and my group of mates had had potters I would be the one with the camera because obviously this is in the late eighties, early nineties, when we didn't have phone capris and stuff like that. So I was always a guy with like a small pocket film camera who's documenting that and then you take the pictures to the two boots, the chemist and get them developed. And then they'd always be the photograph. And the phrase that we had in, in my family was, oh, that one hasn't come out. Well, you know, like a picture was badly. It just, you know, it didn't, it developed, it was ever exposed to whatever.
Andy Mumford: 00:20:52 And I never really questioned that phrase. You know, my, my feeling was was that you pointed the camera at something and the camera faithfully recorded it. And the, we know if they didn't come out while it was just, just kind of mystical thing, chemical process that hadn't worked. So when I came back from New York, a lot of my photographs didn't come out well. And what that meant was that they didn't show the scene in the way that I remembered it or what I was experiencing at the time. And there were a lot of reasons for that. Some of those were, were, were exposure reasons because for example, I was shooting into bright light and the thing that I was shooting just silhouetted out because the camera expos to the experiences, I'd overexposed underexposed or I hadn't got a photographer's vision.
Andy Mumford: 00:21:45 So I'd see something that I felt looked really great, like the the Chrysler building, which I think is just an astonishing building or the flat iron building on like, okay, this is beautiful, I'm going to stick for the graph of it. And then when I looked at the photograph, I saw all the things in the photograph that my eyes hadn't seen at the time. Things like on one side, lots of construction work going on and there's a big little bit in the middle and these are the kinds of things that as a, as a beginning photographer, I just seen the scene. So all great, I'll point my camera at it and it will be the same. And then when you see the image, what tends to happen is that when much more critical and the things that our eyes edit out in real life, you know, we don't see that ugly little bin.
Andy Mumford: 00:22:24 We don't see that construction works become really apparent in photos and certainly when you show them to other people. So it was, it was a mixture of both of those kinds of things, of just not being aware of the, of composing and arranging elements within an image and not being, not having an understanding of the explosion of the way they've exposure what the camera was going to underexpose in particular situations over expose, it was near the shutter speed wasn't fast enough to freeze movement. So there were blurt things that were blurring and things like that. And I just had no understanding of any aspects of all of that. So those are the things that I said, Whoa, Whoa, how can I make this better? Those are the things that I, that I wanted to learn.
Raymond: 00:23:03 So how did you educate yourself on what you needed to learn and how, how'd you do it? What resources did you use?
Andy Mumford: 00:23:10 I, I use the Internet a lot. I bought quite a few books on, you know, from, from Amazon on, on the different aspects of, of tography. I think the first stone free book I ever bought was a Dorling Kindersley book. It was like the, the guide to everything photography. And it's, it's a book now that I look at it and just think, Gosh, you know, why should, why did they ever buy this? But it was incredibly so because every page or every, every five pages, which were just like, no, that's, that's not interesting. There was always something, there was like, oh, of course. Literally, you know, things like moving litter bins back, which seems so utterly obvious now, but the time they really want. And and as I say, I started posting images on the, on sites like flicker and DV and I would ask people, I would see people who were taken images that I wanted to take and say, oh, w w w you know, you've said you use a filter here.
Andy Mumford: 00:24:00 What's the filter? Why did you use that? What, what do what, what does that do for you? And occasionally people were very, very helpful and I learned a lot just from asking people online. And I try to, I get, I do get a lot of questions through the youtube channel now and I do try to answer everything because I know how useful it was for me when I was starting out learning because you know, there are so many things that so many aspects that we really need to learn. And I think with every person it's different. Some people will naturally pick up some things very easily and some, you know, without, without even needing to ask and other people don't and other people get other things different, you know, more easily. So I just asked a lot of questions basically. And I read a lot
Raymond: 00:24:41 And I probably, so just to, yeah, just a pure curiosity and putting it into practice. That's great. I think when it comes to learning photography, oftentimes new photographers are either looking for just like, like one source, you know what I mean? Like where's, where's the one place that will just teach me everything about photography? And like you mentioned there at the end, it's like everybody learns kind of in a, in a different way. And everybody has a different way of, of, of understanding what it is that they're doing and that there isn't just one source for every photographer. And you kind of have to be a little bit self-aware and and do it yourself though.
Andy Mumford: 00:25:16 Well, I spent before I, as I, as I said before, before I was doing photography full time and I was a teacher and I was teaching English for, I don't know, all this 20 years of my life, it's a long time in the classroom. And during that time I spent a lot of time learning about learner acquisition and the way that a different, you know, that we have different learning styles and the way that people learn in different ways. Some people learned orally, some people learn visually, some people learn kinesthetically and everyone has a different way of learning and has a different speed of learning. And from, from teaching, you were to know that if you had a class of 15 people and you would teach you do an hour long class on a particular aspect of the English language that almost everyone would remember something different from that class.
Andy Mumford: 00:26:00 You know, the, the, the next week they, one person would have completely forgotten this thing, but remember those words where the other person did remember those words, but they'd remember this grammatical item that you told. And so I learned a lot about learning from being a teacher and from the way that people learn. And I think that's, it's a really important thing to remember when you're, when you're, when you're, what I do now is a lot of photo education through workshops is to just because you tell somebody something, it doesn't mean that they going to learn it. Everyone needs a, has a different way of, of gaining information and of acquiring knowledge.
Raymond: 00:26:34 That's a, that's a very awesome inside look into photography. Because while I was listening to that, I thought I'm definitely the the one who wouldn't remember anything from an hour long conversation. That's why I'm glad that we get to record these so that I can always go back and listen to them. When it comes to wedding photography, like you mentioned as a, as a, as a former wedding photographer I know that for me my main goal when I'm shooting a wedding is to capture the emotion and things like composition and even exposure can even go by the wayside a little bit because if I get a photo with, with like, you know, an amazing emotion where, where the moment matters most, then it's okay, I can get that. So that's what I focus on. When it comes to landscape photography, what is your main focus and goal to capture in a frame? Right.
Andy Mumford: 00:27:30 I think it's always about mood and feelings. So it might not even be that different. It's I think, you know, as landscape photography is, we tend to want to shoot in particular light. You know, when the light is at, it's a, is at its best because it makes the place more appealing. But ultimately all of these things are secondary to the mood. When you, when you go to a particularly amazing place, whether it's a mountain or, or, or forest or whatever, or some particularly beautiful piece of coast, there's a mood to being there. I think. I think landscape has an energy. And I, I, I, I tend to say this a lot in video, so I apologize if I'm repeating it, but I really believe that as human beings, we are really at home in nature because I think that for most of our existence as humanity, we actually have had a much closer relationship with, with nature than we do now.
Andy Mumford: 00:28:26 But I believe it's still there and all of us. And I think that's why where I live in, in Lisbon, and I live very close to the sea. And on any given day, if you drive out to the beach, you'll find people who've drove, drove their cars out and sit and watch the sunset. And why, why do we do that? You know, why, what is it that attracts us in, in, in America, you have national parks. What is it that that pulls people to those national parks in the weekends and the holidays. And I believe it's, you know, we genuinely do feel good when we're in a wild place. And I think landscape photography is, you're really attempting to capture that feeling. Not so much the place, but the feeling that the place gives you a, so that when people see the image, they feel something of what you are feeling.
Andy Mumford: 00:29:09 So that's kind of always the goal. So it is a, it is, as you think about wedding photography, you're trying to capture the emotion. It is very similar, but the, the way of the ways that emotion is works in weddings is obviously very different to the way that emotions we can in a natural environment. But yeah, I think, I think fundamentally you're looking at what, what's happening with the landscape and what's happening with the weather, how the, how the mountains interacting with the clouds. For, for example, I'm thinking, okay, what am I, what, what's my experience here? And How can light image show that,
Raymond: 00:29:46 If that makes sense. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it does. But when it comes to landscape photography if you walk away from a day with like one good image, like it's a, it's a great day. You have to be a lot more critical with your work than you do with weddings, I think. So what sorts of things are you looking for in a, in a great image?
Andy Mumford: 00:30:09 Well first of all, there's the, the technical aspects. So yeah, let's focus on the technical aspect. So there's focus primarily because I think you can get away at the wedding if you've got a re a fantastic moment and you know, like a, someone spinning around on a dental looking into each other's eyes and you don't quite nail the focus. I think that you can get away with that and kind of present but with the landscape, if it's not in focus, so that that's thrown the first thing. Then obviously exposure, not having the shadows too dark or the highlights too bright because if you've, you know, if you've got a really bright pot in the sky the eyes naturally going to be pulled to that. It's not something that we can hide. So if you've ever exposed a bright bit of the sky where the sun is, we're naturally going to do that.
Andy Mumford: 00:31:01 And I found as a, as a beginning of photography that photographer, that was one of the things that I would do. I would point my camera at the sunset. And obviously when you look at it as a big blown out highlight which just doesn't look nice on a photograph. So there's, there's those technical aspects. And then in terms of composition, I'm a big believer in balance and harmony and, and the way that different elements within an image react to one another or relate to one another. And it's almost as though when you're looking at a, at a, at a landscape, your defining it down to various objects. So there's, you know, this mountain is an object and this rock in the foreground is an object and you're trying to understand how much weight those things have in a, in a composition. So some things will be heavier in a composition than others.
Andy Mumford: 00:31:56 I'm trying to work out so everything feels that it's balanced. So there's not too many heavy things on one side of the image cause that makes it feel like it's tilting one way. So if you've got a cliff on one side and a rock on the same side of the image, then that image is gonna feel lopsided. So it's the arrangement of the, of the different elements of the landscape within the composition and how they balance and relate to each other. So I still, you know, that's still for me a technical aspect. And then there's the mood and the way that the mood is captured is to do, first of all, the technical aspects are a part of that. Because sometimes if it's a really heavy stormy day, you might want to underexpose a little bit because you really want to bring out that feeling of the, you know, the dark clouds and the storm.
Andy Mumford: 00:32:40 So you might, you meet, make the technical decision to underexpose the image a little bit. And then also the, the way that you process that image, we should, you know, just in subtle ways like moving the white balance in, in the, in something like light room, just a little bit is going to give the image a very different tone or mood, whether you call it or whether you, you increase the temperature, make it a little bit warmer. So there are all of those things that go into the into the thought process of, you know, trying to create an image that really captures what, what it was that I would, I was feeling at the time.
Raymond: 00:33:14 That makes sense. That was a, that was a good overview of, of what to get started with when it comes to landscape photography or at least where to start researching for sure. It, it seems like, I kind of want to switch gears here for a second. It seems like in, in recent years, Instagram accounts with the most amount of followers seem to either have one of two things. It's either hot girls or landscape photos to very seemingly different, different things. How important has having a strong Instagram presence been for you?
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Raymond: 00:34:23 Okay, so this kind of wraps the whole thing up right here. And this question is from Sean in the group. He he is also a fellow Fuji photographer. He's the one who recommended me, like most reached out to me and was like, look, you gotta get Nav on the podcasts. His question is it now, now, just as a, as a background, he is a full time. I believe like software developer, he works, he works with computers and like in the mornings before work go hike up like a 20 mile mountain to like take a beautiful like landscape photo and then like go to work. Okay. Like this guy is, he's dedicated to what he does. And his question is, is from your experience seeing other landscapes, photographers, do you think that landscape photographers will be able to make a living sufficiently? And what are some are baby steps that he can take to become full time, full time?
Andy Mumford: 00:35:19 I think the, there is the world that we live in today. The it seems very savvy. I don't think I've ever done any, you already spoke so much about the business side of it. I think that there is a, a bigger market for selling the, selling a process than a product. And I think that youtube and workshops and blogs and even things like this podcast are an example of that because there are so many people taking great images. Trying to make a living from the product, from prints, from licensing is very, very challenging. If you're paying, if you're having to pay your mortgage and your food, you know, and your living costs and you've got kids and things like that, it you have to be, to put it in very blunt and creative terms, you have to be shifting an awful amount of units, which is, which can seem daunting.
Andy Mumford: 00:36:18 And which was for a long while, the reason why I didn't consider landscape photography as a career because it was much easier to, to sell the product of a wedding photography wedding session, for example. What I found works for me and what fits in with my previous career is, is the market for the process which is produced, you know, selling the experience in workshops all youtube, which through our youtube advertising or through affiliate links and through sponsorships generates a revenue more successfully than selling Prentice. There is a very, you know, to, to sell prince if you have the name. If you're, if you're all Wolfe or someone like that, then you are going to be able to sell your prints that are very, you know, you can still make a significant income from, from doing that. But for most of us, that's really not an option.
Andy Mumford: 00:37:12 And most I think landscape photographers in this day and age in what year is it? 2019 with the way that social media is so prevalent, it's a far more realistic, a goal to look at using those tools as a way of building a photography business, using things like youtube advertising. And because Youtube advertising generates huge generates and income affiliate links generate an income. And when your channel, Richard's a certain level than companies want to talk to you about sponsorships, which, which generates an income and that in turn then can direct brings your work to a large amount of people, which makes it easier for you to, to sell prints but also to, to, you know, to, to, to do things like workshops, which is what I enjoy doing the most. So I would say if you want to make a living, if you're trying to transition careers from, from whatever you're doing to, to landscape photography is to look at that, look at how you go about sharing.
Andy Mumford: 00:38:13 Cause I think there's such a huge appetite for that. People want to share, you know, they want to share people's learning experience. So even the idea of, of documenting your attempt to become, you know, your process of becoming a professional photographer is in itself something which is is valid to all the people who all making try to make that step themselves. So, you know, for sure. And I would say try doing something like this because the fact that he's asking this question, obviously there are a lot of people who want to do the same thing. I, I transitioned from my full time job through wedding photography to, to doing landscape photography. And I think people, you know, there are people who possibly would like to try to do the same thing. So that in itself is a, something that has value that that process has value because people can learn from it.
Andy Mumford: 00:39:02 And there are all kinds of, you know, people online, you know, you see people selling courses online or ebooks and these kinds of things because that's where fundamentally the the photography market is heading. Now, I think experience is a, is what people enjoy more than a product. So when I'm doing a workshop, people will spend a quite large amounts of money to, to travel to particular places, to to, to go, to shoot places, to, to learn photography, to be in an environment where they have like, you know, where they're surrounded by, whether they're only doing photography. And those same people won't necessarily make the same investment in a print, if that makes sense.
Raymond: 00:39:46 Yeah, no, absolutely. It's a, goes back to what you were saying earlier, like we feel at home in nature, there's something in nature that, that we, that we enjoy and part of it is now the experience, right? The experience of going on a workshop is a much more valuable than having a print and kind of sitting at it and, and, and imagining what it took to get that photo. So I absolutely get that and I think that the Shaun can definitely take away from that answer. So thank you. You talk a lot about on, on Youtube about the importance of failure. Right? Can you share a personal failure that you faced while shooting landscape photography and how it affected you?
Andy Mumford: 00:40:31 I don't know. Yeah, it's the, it's not, there are just so many stories rather than wanting particular, it's you, you very often just, I was in Norway a few weeks ago and you can very often shoot something and you get so involved in the process of being there that you then come back and you look at the images and you think, oh, if I stood a meter to the right. So I think it's rather than being disheartened from that, it's the kind of, you know, okay, next time I need to be more aware. I've, you know, I've had so many and I think every professional photographer fails more than they succeed. I think every I think that's true in, in any, in any level of, of, of creativity. Every writer or every songwriter, you know, produces more songs than they, you than they ever record.
Andy Mumford: 00:41:21 And, and has more versions that don't work out than the versions that eventually make it onto your, to be recorded. And I think that every one of those is a learning process, which, which makes the final, the one that works. It's what makes it work a bit in terms of stories. You know, I remember years ago I went to, to Scotland's, to the iron of skying. I really wanted to to photograph the, the old man of store, which is a, it's a very famous rock formation on the on the isle of Skye and it's a sunrise location because it faces east and it's a, it's a bit of a hike, I can't remember exactly, but it's it's about an hour to walk up there and it's generally quite steep. Incline and I set off at about four in the morning in the dark on my own and it was a bit miserable, wet and downturn raining.
Andy Mumford: 00:42:11 I know I, I'd gone up there the previous afternoon to, to scope out the scene. And then I sat there and in, when the sun, the sun never came up because basically the cloud cover was so low. Then I couldn't see more than, I don't know, like 20 feet in front of my face and I never even got to see, I couldn't even see it and I just sat there. You're just thinking, why am I doing this? It was freezing cold. It was raining. What is the point of doing this? And then you know, you, it's, it's very easy to get disheartened and just saying, well this, this was a complete waste of time. But then the next day you think you used to get up and I said, well, tomorrow will be better so I'm going to get up and I'm going to do it again.
Andy Mumford: 00:42:53 So then the next day I got up, I get sunrise and got a great shot, not from the old man's store. I went to another location and got a shot that I was really happy with. I don't think that really gets to the point of, of failure, you know, what I was seeing of, of, of learning from failure. I think it's, it's just understanding that when you shoot something, you will often not get it quite right. I think, you know, sometimes you do, but occasionally it takes a few attempts and those, those attempts can happen within the same shoot. So you can be shooting something and then you realize maybe if I go and stand over there and remove this rock from the composition and that requires a level of awareness that what you're doing is isn't working. And sometimes you know, you can stubbornly stick at something, and I've done this before.
Andy Mumford: 00:43:38 I think, no, this is going to work, this is going to work. And then I look, look back at the images. I just think, you know, what, what was I doing? It clearly didn't work. And then understanding that the reason that it didn't work is because the things weren't balancing, you know, the elements weren't balancing within the frame and that quite simply that there wasn't, there wasn't a shot there. There wasn't it what I was trying to do just was never going to work unless I, you know, the find moved somewhere else. And I think it's just understanding that and realizing that it doesn't matter if you fail and and and you understand that you failed, then you'll go and do it again and you will learn from the failure. Hopefully, you know, you'll learn that maybe you need a to compose it better.
Andy Mumford: 00:44:20 But beyond all of that, and, and this is what I think is most important, is the fact that it's just great to be there being in d doing photography. And I think it's very easy to lose. This is, you know, when you get to a beautiful place, you can feel that if you haven't taken an image that captures that, that you failed, you know, there was no, and it's an but you haven't failed, you know, you've gone to an amazing place. Actually, let me give you, I've just remembered a very good example. The first time I tried to shoot the Aurora, I, I failed completely. Because I, when you shoot the Aurora the northern lights, you usually you're in the pitch black and you can't see anything. So focusing the camera is a challenge. So if you're trying to shoot the roar over a mountain, you usually can't see the mountains.
Andy Mumford: 00:45:10 So you're focusing blind. So what I made the mistake of doing with just setting the, the, the focus ring on the camera to infinity. And thinking that'll be of okay, but it's, but it's not, because most lenses are set up that when you shoot them at infinity, they're actually not set to infinity. You kind of have to go back, go back a little bit. So you shooting it, infinity really gives you shooting it. Where the lens tells you is that infinity really gives you friends to back shoppers. So pretty much all of the images that are shot on the Aurora were a little bit out of focus. And there was, you know, there's initially this disappoints that didn't work, you know, down. But I had a brilliant time and this was what was most important is that the, you, I, you can't let the photos or the, the lack of success in getting the photo define the experience because being out there shooting the Aurora is a privilege.
Andy Mumford: 00:46:03 It's a gift. You know, I was so, so lucky to be able to do that. And it was such a pleasure to be standing in this place with this incredible light show going overhead. That, that in itself was, was a fantastic experience. And then there's the taking away the fact that it didn't work and thinking, okay, next time I'm going to get it right now it would have been nice to have got it right the first the very first time. And I would have got images from it. But the reality is, is that, you know, a year down the line, two years down the line, often, you know, these things don't matter because we, we don't need to have a great image of every single experience that we have, great experience that we have in life. That's not, that's not what makes life worth living.
Andy Mumford: 00:46:45 That's not what makes going out to shoot the landscape's important. What makes it important is going out there and being there and using the camera as a way of connecting with that experience. Because I do find that shooting the landscape actually focuses you on the experience. It really root for me at least, it really enhances it. And if the image doesn't quite work out, then the experience is still an incredible one. And hopefully the next time I'll get it better. But I know that as I go through photography, I'll still make mistakes. You know, the, we still have a joke now that occasionally, nationally when we went, the last time I was in Norway recently, I went up my first two Aurora shots, you know, the first one or, or a shot, I've got to take the lens cap off and says, because it's because it's so dark and you can't see anything.
Andy Mumford: 00:47:32 It's like, oh, right. And then, you know, everyone's still does that thing where they, you know, you're shooting at night, so you have the ISO set at 3000, 200, and then you got the next sunrise and you're shooting the sunrise and you've left the idea. You've left the ISO. The highs are high and these things I know that I don't do as I do them very often anymore. I mean, it wouldn't make me sound incredibly incompetent. I think I, you know, I think I'm, my competency has increased significantly, but there will still be mistakes. And I know that every professional photographer, because I worked with different, I partner with different people and workshops and stuff like that still does the same things, you know, everyone does and and it's all no one gets it right and gets it perfect every time, all the time. And I think that's the thing to remember as a loner is that, you know, everyone is making mistakes and is continuing to make mistakes and is learning from those mistakes.
Raymond: 00:48:28 There was a lot of time pack there. That was, no, that was great. That was very motivational. I loved it. I loved hearing that. You know, and it doesn't just take one bad trip to, to kind of ruin everything. One thing that I think about a lot one experience that really moved me growing up was a was a high school, not high school as a middle school field trip that we took. It was like a week, I think it was a week long. And we went to Yosemite National Park and it was just a transformative being there, seen, just trying to take it all in and it was, it was absolutely beautiful. And when I was in, I guess it was like seventh grade, I didn't have a camera really to take with me to take photos. But I think about that sometimes. Have you ever been in a situation where you get to a location, maybe you planned it out and you get there and the light is good and you just don't feel not inspired, that's not the right word. You, you, you, you just don't feel like, like taking a photo in that moment. You feel like you just don't feel motivated to, to take that shot. Does that ever happen?
Andy Mumford: 00:49:41 I think it happens in sometimes in different ways. It is happening. It happens sometimes when I know that the place itself is beautiful, but that I can't necessarily find a way of making it work photographically because there's just this perhaps not a focal point. It's not something to build an image around. I'm not every great view makes a great photo. Yeah. Send me to you though. I mean, that's,
Raymond: 00:50:07 Yeah, that's what you do in most situations. [inaudible] Is beautiful.
Andy Mumford: 00:50:11 Well, I think, you know, I usually take a photograph, but I won't spend a lot of time preoccupying my, like myself with it because if it doesn't, I can, I'm very lucky because I do this for a living and I know usually get another opportunity or, and then I'll get another chance. And I, you know, I, I don't worry on linked to what I was saying too much earlier about failure. I don't worry too much about always having to have an image because I know that the next day or that I'll do, there's always going to be another opportunity. So sometimes, you know, if you just think, well, this isn't gonna work, there's not anything I can make work here, but it's an amazing place, then then it's just fine just to, to, to, to let it go. It's not really a question of not being motivated, it's just understanding what works, what's going to work for geographically and what isn't.
Andy Mumford: 00:51:10 I, a few years ago, I was in northern Chile. My wife and I, we kind of did this road trip from, from the north of Chile across Bolivia, across the Altiplano. And we, we spent about four days in the north of Chile getting a climatized because the crossing, we were gonna do it in four by fours. This is unregulated about four and a half thousand to 5,000 meters. So what's that like? That's between 12 and 15,000 feet, I think in, in, oh my goodness. So you need, we needed to be a climatized. So we spent about four, four or five days just kind of [inaudible] and at a village called San Pedro, Dr Karma getting climatized and just making these trips up everyday, gradually higher and higher. And on one of those trips we kind of went out into the Altiplano, which is a, it's a, it's a very high plane, which runs all the way down the the Andes mountains go through a huge part of South America.
Andy Mumford: 00:52:06 Like the rock is in, in North America and, and it's basically, I think I may even be the same chief, like a long, long chain or that's the spine of the continent and the Lt planters are particularly high, high part of it. And in this part of South America, it's very volcanics. There's a lot of the extinct volcanoes up in the north of Chilean and the south of Bolivia. And we were traveling back and a very high at about 12, 13,000 feet. And on the western horizon it was really low because it, it, it was at the edge of the mountain range and really heavy cloud. And I could see that the sun was going to drop below the clouds and was going to paint. There was going to be a really, really good light and it was going to really give a lot of color to the scene.
Andy Mumford: 00:52:50 But I didn't expect what happened. The whole scar just erupted in color. It was bright red. There's incredible light. And my wife and I just stopped and got out of the jeep and I looked around and my first instinct was to take a photograph and I took a photograph. But we were, it was just, it was, it was just scrub. We were in the middle of just of, of very, there wasn't much that I could look around to make, make things work. And so I took a couple of images, but more than anything, I just remember my wife was just laughing because it was, she's going to see is absolutely amazing. And at that moment, taking a photograph didn't seem that important. It was just, it was such a unique thing and I could looking around and thinking, I can't really make a great image here.
Andy Mumford: 00:53:37 The Sky, the light's amazing, but it's just, I know that there's nothing maybe, you know, that's, that speaks of a lack of, of skills in photography. Maybe another photographer could have done a, and I could have scampered around and lost that moment and not come up with it and got away with nothing. What I did with just a quick shot, which just recorded the moment and, and, and, and captured that, the light and the color. But most of them mostly I just I just enjoyed it and just took in what was happening and just like my wife just laughed because it was just an incredible scene with, with the sky and clouds and the light. The mountains went red. I've never seen mountains go red before. They, they were painted bright red. And it was just a, an amazing moment, which is not, yes, I, you know, I look back on it now and think, could I have done better?
Andy Mumford: 00:54:29 Could I have made an image work? And what I find when I think about it is that maybe, maybe I could have done, but I don't really mind. I don't really mind that much because it was, you know, I was there and I saw it. And the reason that I saw it was because I went to that place to take photos. So photography still gave me that gift. It gave me that gift of being there. And in the end, the image or the lack of lack of image, it doesn't matter cause there's always going to be another chunk somewhere else.
Raymond: 00:55:00 You know what I love about that story is that why you were telling it? I have this big smile on my face and I'm like, I could imagine it in front of me even without having seen even just this document, this documented image of it. I have an idea of what it is and I think that speaks volumes to to the power of telling a story. So excuse me. Thank you so much for, for sharing that. I, you have shared so much today, Andy, you really have a, it has been an absolute pleasure to talk to you today. I got one last question for you. If you had to go back and start all over again, what would you tell yourself to better prepare to be where you are today?
Andy Mumford: 00:55:45 I'd have probably found a composition beforehand for that place that I just talked about. What would I tell myself? I don't know. I, I, things change the world. The, the, you know, the environment that we, that we live in, changes in the way that things were then is not how things are on now. I
Raymond: 00:56:13 Okay. So then let me rephrase it. Advice would you give to somebody starting out?
Andy Mumford: 00:56:19 Starting out now is very different to how it was. And what I would advise is to just shoot all the time expect the things that I've talked about before. Expect to fail practice. If you can't get to, I'm very fortunate because I can try. What if you can't get to beautiful places? There's always something that you can find. When I started shooting it was it it was at a beach that was just down the road from where I lived. And it wasn't a particularly good looking beach, but you can find a way of making it work and you, you kind of refine your craft by doing things on your learning, learning your technique. And the most important thing is to do things that you, that you love and that you enjoy. If you're doing things and you're thinking, well, I'm going to do this because this will be popular.
Andy Mumford: 00:57:10 That's not the right reason. If you're doing it because you love doing it, then then that will always serve you better in the long term. And also just to not be afraid to look at what other people are doing and ask them, what are you doing to, I think, you know, we, we, we all imitate to a certain extent imitate, but we're influenced. We can't help but be influenced by people and to not be afraid of that and not be afraid of being influenced by people. But then putting your own twist on things, finding out what you like doing and just I don't, you know, my, my career in photography came about as, you know, as I've said, through a series of, of different things happening that weren't particularly planned. So I don't really feel that I can give an advice about this, you know, you need, these are the steps that you need to take to to be successful.
Andy Mumford: 00:58:04 And I think I would be wary of anyone who says that because I think everyone has a different path. When I started out in DV, no, a number of the people that were my contemporaries are also made it making a living from professional landscape photography. But each one has followed a slightly different path. You know, has done things in a slightly different way because there isn't just one path. So and what works for one person doesn't work for everyone. So I think that what it comes down to is about, it's such a cliche to say being true to yourself, but doing the things that you enjoy and, and s and I enjoy, you know, I'm just repeating myself that and not trying to do things just for the sake of this will be popular. This will be successful because I think in the end will be, you'll enjoy it as much and there's no point. And I think if you're not enjoying it, you won't be giving yourself fully to it. And then you can, you won't be successful. You can't be successful doing something that you're not fully committed to doing, if that makes sense.
Raymond: 00:59:08 I absolutely, I can't imagine ending this in, in, in any, any better way. For sure. That was very motivational to me. I know that it will be to the listeners as well. Again,
Raymond: 00:59:22 Andy, thank you so much for coming on. It's been a pleasure. Thank you for having me. Of course. For the listeners who haven't been able to follow you yet, can you share where's the best place to find you and your work online?
Andy Mumford: 00:59:37 Well my website, www Andy mumford.com is where it kind of is, where the like galleries and workshops and where the best of what I do is where every, everything that I, that I do basically ends up there. So my best images and like blogs and films that I make, but also through the social media channel, through the Youtube Channel, through my youtube channel and through my Instagram. And I don't know if it photography
Raymond: 01:00:00 Perfect. And of course I will have links to all of that in the show notes. And for some reason my Alexa just went off. So let's turn off the microphone. That was creepy. And again, Andy, thank you so much for coming on and I look forward to keeping up with you in the future. It's been great. Thanks for having me. My biggest takeaway from this episode was that you don't have to feel like you have to make something work. Sometimes you can just truly enjoy your experience and that if that is not refreshing to you I don't know what would be because how many times have you shown them to a location and either something wasn't working, the light wasn't working. You know, you just couldn't get the right composition. It just wasn't flowing the way that you had imagined. Especially when you build that.
Raymond: 01:00:42 Like if this is the guy who's traveling the world to go to a location that he's only at for like a day or two, and he said like, if it doesn't work, just enjoy your experience. Right? He's got the, he's got the most amount of weight on him to make something work and he just gave you the green light to enjoy yourself. Right. So that was definitely my biggest takeaway from this episode because that's not, it's not a very American way of thinking about things right here in America. We're kind of taught to, you know, always think about doing things faster or, or growing larger or being the best. And that's all without, you know, looking at ourselves, you know, oh, we should always strive for the best. Yeah, okay, I get that. But you still need to be, be true to yourself and, and figure out what it is that you want out of photography.
Raymond: 01:01:37 And that, like Andy said in his interview, it's all about balance and harmony. And I thought that that was just so insightful and, and I really took a lot away from that. Trying to make a photo that works that also fits, you know, the way that you want to shoot. You know, those are two things, balance and harmony right there. And Andy, I just want to say if you're listening right now, I cannot thank you enough for coming on the podcast, sharing everything that you did. I learned a ton from talking to you and I know that the listeners did as well. So again, Andy, thank you. Thank you. Thank you for everything. So guys, we're just going to wrap up this interview right now. Again, if you were so kind, I would so appreciate just leaving a quick iTunes or a review in whatever podcast player you are listening to right now. Just it really does help out the podcast and again, I would be incredibly, incredibly grateful for your time in doing that. So guys, that is it for this week. Until next week, I want you to get out there. I want you to keep shooting and I want you to focus on yourself and like always, that is the theme of 2019. Focus on yourself. All right, so that's it. Be Safe, keeps shooting. I'll see you next week. Love you all.
Outro: 01:02:48 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.