Do you know what I love about photography? The fact that anyone can do it, but very few can do it well. There are several people out there who start out not so good but they work hard at it, strive to do better and pretty soon become absolutely amazing! Then there are those who think they are already amazing who don’t realize that they really don’t know as much as they think they do. So what makes a photographer good? Honestly, too many things to list here. But what makes a photographer better? I think it starts with honest critiques of their work.
Sometimes a photographer needs to hear that the posing isn’t good enough or the lines do not work with the composition. This does not mean the critic knows everything, but it is good food for thought. It gives you an outsider’s real perspective into your work. This sounds like it goes against everything I say about not caring what others think, but I don’t think it does. You do not have to agree with other opinions about your work, but listening to critiques can be very important to your business decisions. Remember, I have chosen the road of poor artist, if you want to run a business what other people think might just matter a little bit.
I think one of the other things that photographers, especially new ones, forget to do is to let their work do the talking for them. In this day and age of social media and networking everyone can become famous on the internet. But if your work cannot back up your word vomit then your career will not last too long. You will get a little bit of attention and then fall into the ordinary category as so many others do. When you do decent work your words carry more weight. When I can look at an image for 3 seconds on my iPhone and tell you 3 really intro level photography mistakes you probably should not be telling others what to and what not to do. Trust me, if you saw the image and read the blog post I read fairly recently you would agree! But I’m not into outing people and giving them more attention so you will just have to trust me on this one.
So yes, anyone can become a photographer, a professional one at that. They can get clients, they can go through their entire career thinking they are amazing and really just being okay. And this is fine as long as they are happy doing what they are doing. We are not doctors, we do not need to go to school to learn our craft because our jobs are not to save lives. Our job is to create imagery. I get to take pretty pictures for a living. Sometimes I am original sometimes I am inspired by others. But I have chosen to educate myself on certain aspects of what it is I do. This is the responsibility I have put on my own shoulders. I have had many people disagree with my techniques and my way of doing things. I don’t really care, it is how I do what I do. But then again remember, I am pursuing an artistic point of view, it’s not technical, it is not mechanical, it lives and breathes in my world. Each image is different from the rest and my reasoning for taking each image is different from the rest. My images are really my voice, even though I do get kind of wordy.
So now I will ask you to look at your own work and ask yourself, how does it make you really feel? Then if you’re brave enough, start asking others the same question.