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Be inspired every day with Living North
Photographing Landscapes
June 2014
Reading time 5

Darlington-based photographer Geoff Perry has been recognised as one of the country’s best landscape photographers – here he shares his work and valuable advice

Geoff Perry was an artist before he was a photographer. He grew up in Seaham and studied Fine Art at Manchester Art College in the early 1970s, which is when he started taking photographs in order to create etchings – it was a means to an end.

‘I did a lot of black and white photography to support that,’ he explains. ‘I would photograph boats and landscape views and things like that and turn them into an etching.’

After finishing the course he qualified as a teacher and taught Art & Design at a school in Darlington for 34 years. About a decade ago he started teaching the pupils about digital photography, which is when he became interested in photography as an artform itself.

‘I wanted to start making my own pictures again rather than showing other people how to do it,’ he laughs.

In 2008 he began selling his photographs online and many were also displayed in exhibitions before he was shortlisted for Landscape Photographer of the Year in 2009, which resulted in his image of a yacht in Alnmouth estuary being displayed in the National Theatre for several months. 

Now he is setting up a studio and gallery on Yarm High Street, where his landscape work will be on sale, and he’ll also be available for portraits, family shoots and wedding photography, with some clients wanting their wedding pictures taken in landscapes he has already shot.

‘I’m often discovered as a wedding photographer through my landscape work,’ says Geoff. ‘That sounds a little bit odd but it happens.’

The new studio, Yarm Studio, is due to open at the end of June as a partnership with his fellow photographer, Michael Cartwright. They also run courses together through their other business, Making Photographs, including lessons, photography walks, one-day courses and a three-day residentials, with the superb North East landscapes frequently taking a starring role.

‘Prior to taking up photography I spent most weekends exploring the region looking for interesting places,’ he says. ‘Now I study them through the camera lens.’


Geoff’s Tips

  • Plan Carefully. Know what you want, plan the route in and out, use OS maps and Google, take a compass and record your inward bearing and use a sun compass to direct you to sunrise. Think about where you will stand, how is the tide, talk to others and seek local advice.
  • Print your photo location and leave it at home, display it in the car, and switch on the location services on your phone and other electronic devices. If you fall people will find you.
  • Has the image been taken before? If so, think about how you can attach a personal stamp to make it different and better.
  • Arrive early, well before daybreak, and take a head torch. Decide your composition in the dark and find some good foreground interest that contributes to that composition, such as a drystone wall or rock pool.
  • Prepare your camera – f-stop, ISO, remote settings, formatted cards, mirror lock-up, clean filters – so when you arrive your focus is solely on composition.
  • Wait for the light. Do not get snap happy. If it doesn't happen, leave and come back another day. 
  • All digital photographers as well as film photographers use post-processing either in the light room or dark room. Think about the results of post-processing. Will it help recover what you experienced and may not have captured?

Yarm Studio, 101a High Street, Yarm

'Wait for the light. Do not get snap happy. If it doesn't happen, leave and come back another day'

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