So which photography subject is the hardest

You think photography is just about you and a camera; well think again! There's a big old world out there and its in control. You have to learn to work with it unless you rely on software. What goes on behind the camera is where all the work is.

Let us try and settle some arguments amongst single subject shooters. I have undertaken many different styles, subjects and photoshoots under different conditions. From Food, agriculture, news, magazines, documentary, research, birds, different moods, architecture, macro, night, street, shipping, travel, wildlife and weather.

I find each subject has its own mindset you need to be in. be it an emotional connection (birds and wildlife) to dark and moody moons. Why I can shoot such a wide range of subjects is due to my lives wide interest range, it has nothing to do with photography and that's a key point.

Ratings are 1-10 being most difficult.


Difficulty rating of 2 for this one. Very easy and often relaxing to photograph and I usually take the opportunity to walk a new location which gives me nature and landscape Opportunites. I've undertaken agricultural photo shoot, and everyone has been a fun and often hilarious experience with my daft sense of humour that breaks the thickest of ice, plus good money too. It involves driving to locations, doing a spot of walking if the farmer wants a particular style of shot or livestock with a landscape behind.


Now we are talking a whole different ball game. A rating of 8-10 depending on the bird. I do a very different style to birds than many others and is a documentary-style photographer too the many years of experience has allowed me to get close to birds without the need for camouflage gear and hides 90% of the time. The hard work is knowing each bird, and how it will react to me and knowing the camera, what it can and can't do. Knowing this has allowed me to get very close to many birds by following their rules, not mine. It can take months to even years to get individual shots. There's no standing around taking as landscaper photographers do. It if hesitate you will miss that crucial shot. As for the injury side of things, I've had many broken fingers, ankle and knee issues. Heatstroke and frozen to death which is similar to landscape injuries.


A rating of 5, moods and emotions are down to each subject, type and my feelings towards each type. I have no clue what will happen, so its go with the flow to the connection of the item and the weather and lighting conditions. Moods cover every subject with me. I'm not sure how others deal with issues. They may go with a fixed idea, but I do not. It is one of those things that's entirely driven by the weather. If it is foggy, then I will switch to a Goffic feeling so will seek a place that will allow me to connect to it. It is not hard; it's just waiting for the right conditions, and even then, it may not work out.


One of my main interests and one that offers a wealth of styles with different lenses, it covers moods, landscapes and nature too. Churches are one of the best subjects to photograph, they great Gothic black and white too. They can be extremely tricky to shoot; lighting can be hard on sunny days, the tall towers makes it different for single style images, even when using on-camera filters, there can be issues. Inside many churches, they often dimly lit to almost dark, which makes for individual items like spandrels and roof angels a slow process. I rate churches at 6, they take the longest, and the pain rating can be up to 10 when holding a heavy lens almost upright when pointing to a tall spire can wear my shoulders out fast.

Macro general 

Difficulty rating of 9 here. There's so much going on when it comes macro; it has the most extensive range of subjects available which require different focusing too. You are often dealing with pinpoint focusing in full manual control. I call macro headless chicken photography, and it takes a lot of running and diving on the floor if you after creatures like butterflies. Then you have the flash ring; it comes with such control you get to control the lighting and understand that not taken with a flash look. Macro is at the other end of the scale when compared to the ultra-slow and easy subject of landscape. If getting wet, cold, muddy, stung and bitten to death, then the macro isn't your thing. Pain on the body rating is 10.

Macro Fungi

And last, be not least the most difficult of shots 10 for hardness here. What you say! Bloody fungi. You mad Kate! Maybe one of the most fun and beautiful of all subjects. They grow in the darkest of places, come in many shapes and sizes, are 99.99 mear inches form the ground. They have beautiful details, often in the undersides, which makes them the most difficult to shoot. It does not matter if you are handheld or using a tripod, either way, you be flat to the ground on your tummy, often pressing your chin into the ground to try and focus on something that maybe the size of a match head and can be smaller too. Flippy screens will not save you either. Want pinpoint focus it has to be via the viewfinder. Fungi's love damp conditions, so Autumn onwards, so expect loads of mud all over yourself and kit. What you don't see behind the camera is someone covered in mud. That's what real documentary photography is all about. One good thing with shooting fungi, it kits you fit—squat thrusts for every item. Camera control is a vital thing too. It can take me a good 30 minutes to an hour to zone into the camera and conditions if I haven't been doing this kind of thing for a while. Pain rating is high too at 8, most of my injures and come from doing macro—torn knee ligaments (twice) broken fingers, A twig up the nose and bitten so many times I have lost count.

The picture shows to match head-sized fungi. Note the wormholes. It took 79 photos to get this shot. I was even using a tripod it too that many. Due to their size, I could not see their detail and nor could make the camera. Yes, my camera was faulty. Liveview proved just as inadequate. Touching the camera would cause terrible shaking.


Difficulty rating 4 for this. This type is down to individual taste, do you want a real feeling to a night shot or turn night into day. I always head for the authentic styles. It has the same set as tripod landscapes when using a long exposure. You can try handheld at night; I take the international space station (ISS) and the moon handheld. It is learning what you can get away with a given camera and lens combo so it's practising and more practice, don't be scared to experiment either. I like to use a torch or light a tree up, or a barn to give some depth.


Same as agricultural photography. Very easy. The only pain is the ships are long and narrow and getting the right angle is vital. I rate these as 1, it is that easy, a boat can pass, and as they pass I can change lenses and keep shooting.


With wildlife, every creature behaves. Differently, it is knowing and slipping into their world that helps. Difficulty rating of 8, the work is based around finding and studying as for the photos, if you know how the creature lives it helps no end. Pain rating of 7, like storm chasing I've had many injuries trying to get what I wanted. Broken ribs after falling from a branch but it is just part of the job. Again it is not about the person or the camera, and that's why so many fails, you enter the animals' world, not yours. Work that out, and you will become a better nature lover and maybe a photographer.


The slowest photography styles and an easy one too, and because of that, it gets a rating of just 2. I often say, if it doesn't run away or fly away, then it should be straightforward to do. With landscapes it comes under many different types with me, be it part of an agricultural shoot, or a ship. It makes up part of a storm chasing image—a church set in a stunning landscape. I'm not a standard landscape photographer; I would instead show it under a massive storm cloud or as part of something else. Otherwise, all my landscape photos are just an add on to my walking hobby. I very rarely use a tripod and would never use photoshop, HDR Or bracketing. I instead show the real side of our world. I mean I am a documentary photographer anyway. The pain rating mind you is very high at 10 due to my leg issues where I often collapse in a heap for no reason.

Storm chasing and weather

Ohh my favourite subject and interest in life. I gladly do storm chasing and weather chasing without a camera. It is fun and bloody dangerous too—plenty of injuries and damage to my cars and camera kit. You got to want to do this long before picking up a camera. If you a bit soft or worry about camera kit damage then do not try this subject. Difficulty rating 7 only due to the weather itself. A lot of work and waiting goes into all-weather event shoot and chases. A storm chase can last 7 hours or longer, taken in hundreds of miles and you may not capture a single thing, but the frill of the hunt is the most fun part. Pain rating 8, been 50 feet from lightning, caught in floods and snowdrifts. Remember its not about you are a camera, it is done to the power of nature to perform for you.