5 Qualities Every Great Photographer Should Have
Being a great photographer is more than just knowing your camera inside out technically or owning the latest and most expensive camera gear.
In my opinion it's actually about the inherent qualities that allow you to see beauty in the most unexpected places and capture that beauty in a photograph.
So what makes a good photographer? Well, depending on what kind of photography you're focusing on (as every niche demands different qualities) these are the five top qualities that I believe are a first stop necessity in bringing an A game to your photography.
1. Imagination and Creativity
Photography is basically a form of art. It requires a creative mind—and plenty of imagination. A good photographer will look at something ordinary, and even extraordinary, and find many different ways to interpret what she’s seeing and convey those interpretations into beautiful and meaningful photos.
Composition comes into play here too. Even if you aren’t concerned about the artistic side of your craft, composition is still key in producing great photographs. Learn this craft. It will help move your creative and imaginative images into incredible works of art.
2. An Eye for Detail
A good photographer will have a very keen eye for detail to ensure all elements within the photo—the lighting, the composition, the subject, and everything else in between—work together harmoniously to convey the right vision, message or emotion. This is trickier than you think, especially when you're photographing people or pets.
Key elements that make up a photograph:
Even the smallest detail can make or break a photograph, without you even realising it. So having a 'gentle' eye for detail is very important. In my personal photography, I don't believe in scrutinising too much as I prefer to allow the flow to take place, however taking care of details can be the difference between saving a great photo and a lot of unnecessary editing later.
3. Patience and Flexibility
No matter how much you try to control every variable, things just won’t go your way at times. There will be days when the lighting isn't quite right (or as you wanted it to be), when your models or clients may be exceptionally difficult, or when you used the wrong lens for the look you were hoping to create.
Whatever photography field you may be in, patience (and lots of it) is always an essential quality (and virtue) to possess. You need to be patient enough to wait for the right lighting. You need to be patient enough to deal with crying babies, hyperactive animals, and difficult clients. And most of all, you need to be patient enough to keep trying when you simply feel like giving up.
In addition to patience, you would do well to become flexible. The two qualities go hand in hand—be patient enough to deal with whatever comes your way, and flexible enough to change course when things conditions aren't working. You'll learn to think super fast in an instant. After all, the entire shoot depends on you!
4. Good People Skills
Probably my number one chosen quality. Being a professional photographer means working with people—whether it’s a client, a model, or even fellow photographers. And the difference between being a good and a great photographer in my opinion, is how you treat and interact with people. You’ll be networking with potential clients and partnerships, so knowing how to connect and communicate effectively with others is a huge advantage.
I genuinely CARE about people, so when I'm working for my clients, everything I do becomes a natural expression of myself because I want them to FEEL great about their experiences with me and walk away with fantastic photos that mean something to them. So this means I need to understand them, as a child, a husband, a wife... as a family.. Yep... you got it, understanding what makes your clients tick, what's important to THEM. And when you naturally care, this comes a lot easier, and starts drawing the right people/clients to you.
Passion makes anyone. The photographer is no exception—it will always make you work that little bit harder, push that little bit further, and drive you to be a better you than you were the day before. We all know that when you’re passionate about what you do, it will always shine through in your work. And it does! It takes a lot of time and effort to make it as a professional photographer, and the ones who do succeed and manage to make a name for themselves are those who are truly passionate about their craft creating a positive experience for their clients.