In this article I would like to go into more detail about what matters in my eyes as a photographer, since I am often asked the question of how to become a good photographer.
1. photograph, know your equipment and train your eye.
Always take your camera with you wherever you go. Photograph what you can and always look out for good motifs. You should know your camera really well and be able to use it with your eyes closed, and that only comes with practice. You can only get better by gaining experience and the best way to gain that practice in photography is to take pictures. It is also important that you know in which situation you have to use which lens, when it makes sense for example to use a flash or a tripod. It is also important to know when to go high with the ISO or in which f-stop you have to shoot.
Your camera and equipment is of course not everything, it is also important as a photographer to always walk through the world with watchful eyes. Notice the beauty in the details that surround you and pay attention to how the world can change in the course of a day alone.
2. Light and Shadow
As already indicated, the world is in a constant state of change. In the morning when the sun rises, a landscape looks completely different than at noon, in the evening or at night. Light is a crucial factor in photography, if not the most important. Light determines how your pictures look in the end and how they affect the viewers of your works. So a good photographer knows how to use natural and artificial light. It’s not for nothing that people say photography is painting with light.
3. The postprocessing of the images
Back in the analog era of photography, photographers sat for hours in the darkroom processing their images with the help of various chemicals. Today, the darkroom has been replaced with software like Photoshop, Lightroom or Gimp and photographers spend hours sitting in front of the computer editing their images. But also in the post-processing of photos you can do very much wrong. Good photographers know the software they use inside out. They also know how to edit the image in the direction they want it to go.
A good photographer must know how to market himself and his images. The most beautiful pictures are of no use if no one looks at them or buys them. The photographer must also know how to get new orders and exhaust all marketing possibilities. In this day and age, this is easier than ever before, but the competition is great and never sleeps. That’s why you have to do everything you can to draw attention to yourself as a photographer. A good photographer finds his niche and is in constant contact with the outside world.
If you want to learn more about online marketing, read this article I wrote some time ago: The Importance of Online Marketing to your Business
5. A good photographer should work in a structured way
When clients approach you as a photographer and book you for a job, it is imperative that you prepare well for the work. A photographer thinks in advance about what equipment he needs for the job, how long it will take him and how much money he will have to take for his work. A well-structured photographer is on time and usually already in beforehand at the location where the event or model shooting will take place, to get an impression of the environment. You can not always know everything in advance but a good photographer is prepared for all eventualities.
6. A photographer should be able to entertain.
Some may think, what’s the point of being able to entertain, but it’s really an important skill for many commissioned jobs that a good photographer should have. If you as a photographer have to work with an inexperienced model, for example, she or he will be stiff and it will be difficult to take the photos you want in the end. That’s why it’s so important to be able to entertain. Because if you can entertain people well, you can lighten the mood and the model will be more comfortable in a relaxed situation. This means you get good pictures faster and easier at the end of the day. A good photographer knows how to deal with people he works with.
7. A photographer knows how to pose
There are models who know immediately how to pose and deliver you one good pose after another. But it doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes you have to shoot women or men who don’t know what to do or how to pose. In such a case, a photographer should be able to show the person what to do. I advise you to study photos and memorize good poses. If you are not able to demonstrate these poses, it is also helpful to have a folder with collected poses that you can show to your models.
8. A professional photographer does not sell himself under value
This is a very important but often not considered point, never sell yourself short. But then I don’t get the job, you might think, but the thing is, if you start doing that, you can’t stay afloat as a photographer. Just remember that your professional equipment cost a small fortune, you don’t get that for free either and if clients turn you down because of the price you have to have, then wave them behind. If you are a good photographer, you know what you can do and what you are worth. You don’t need to work for dry bread and water and you need to think about your future. If you constantly sell yourself short, you can’t survive as a photographer, so I strongly advise you not to let them do that to you, and if in doubt, tell them off.
In that time, you can then better continue on customer acquisition and find orders that will help you in the long run.
You have to calculate exactly how much money you need to have at the end of the month and the calculation must be such that you can build reserves. A professional photographer is always aware of this!
9. Never stop learning
There are few professions where you learn something once and then you’re done. It’s the same in photography: as a photographer, you have to keep learning. Look at tutorials, pictures from other photographers and always stay informed about what the latest trends are. With the trends it is always such a thing, you do not have to like them or use them but it is always good to know about what is in the world of photography just in the trend. A good photographer is always well informed and has never stopped learning.
10. A photographer pays attention to quality and listens to the customer.
It’s important to listen to your customers and respond to their needs, because at the end of the day, they’re paying you to do that. Sometimes it is absurd what the customers want, then you can try to dissuade them with counter-suggestions but in that case I sometimes think to myself the customer is king and as long as the end result on customer request is not so bad that I have to be ashamed of my work, I implement things as they are requested.
A photographer should also always pay attention to the quality, both when photographing as well as in the end in the post-processing. Quality is not only the craft of photography but also the way you deal with customers and employees. Always be friendly, remain professional and knowledgeable.
With the skills that a professional photographer should possess, much can be compensated.
These were 10 things every photographer should master, but it could have been 100 things. Being a photographer is not nearly as easy as many imagine, but it is one of the most beautiful and versatile professions in the world. It is important that you know what you are getting into when you choose this profession and I hope I could help one or the other to get a better understanding of what is important as a photographer. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments and I will try to answer them. Have a great day and see you next time!