What makes a good photographer

Several factors contribute to making a person a good photographer. We all ask ourselves this question, so here are some key aspects to consider:

  1. Technical Skills: A good photographer has a strong understanding of camera equipment, lighting, composition, exposure, and other technical aspects of photography. They know how to operate their camera effectively, adjust settings to capture the desired image, and utilize various lenses and accessories.
  2. Creativity and Vision: A good photographer possesses a unique creative vision and the ability to see ordinary things in an extraordinary way. They have a keen eye for detail, composition, color, and form. They can visualize the final image even before it is captured, and they often experiment with different perspectives and angles to bring their creative ideas to life.
  3. Knowledge of Light: Light is a fundamental element in photography. A good photographer understands how light behaves and can effectively use natural or artificial light to create the desired mood and atmosphere in their photographs. They know how to work with different lighting conditions and may also use light modifiers, reflectors, or diffusers to enhance their images.
  4. Composition and Framing: Composition refers to how various elements are arranged within the frame of the photograph. A good photographer has a strong sense of composition and knows how to arrange the subject, background, and other elements to create a visually appealing and balanced image. They understand concepts such as the rule of thirds, leading lines, symmetry, and negative space.
  5. Patience and Timing: Photography often requires patience and the ability to wait for the right moment. A good photographer knows when to press the shutter to capture a particular expression, action, or scene. They have the ability to anticipate and react quickly to capture fleeting moments or decisive actions.
  6. Attention to Detail: A good photographer pays attention to the smallest details in their images. They are meticulous in their approach and strive for technical precision and clarity. They carefully review their work for any distractions, unwanted elements, or imperfections that may affect the overall quality of the photograph.
  7. Post-Processing and Editing Skills: Post-processing plays a crucial role in digital photography. A good photographer is proficient in using photo editing software to enhance their images, adjust colors and tones, remove distractions, and fine-tune the final result. They understand that post-processing is a tool to complement their vision, not a means to fix poorly captured images.
  8. Adaptability and Continuous Learning: Photography is a constantly evolving field with new techniques, technologies, and trends emerging regularly. A good photographer is adaptable and willing to learn and grow. They stay updated with the latest advancements in equipment, software, and industry practices. They also seek inspiration from other photographers, attend workshops or courses, and actively experiment with new approaches.
  9. Emotional Connection and Storytelling: A good photographer can evoke emotions and tell stories through their images. They have the ability to capture and convey the essence of a moment, a person, or a scene. They create photographs that resonate with viewers and elicit a response or connection on a deeper level.
  10. Passion and Dedication: Above all, a good photographer is passionate about their craft. I have been doing photography as a career for over 15 years and still love each moment in the field, as a photographer or lecturer. You need passion and have a genuine love for photography and are dedicated to continually improving their skills. You need to invest time, effort, and energy into your work, going the extra mile to capture exceptional images as a hobby or career.

It’s important to note that while technical skills and knowledge are important, photography is also a subjective art form. Each person’s style and preferences may differ, so what makes a good photographer can vary based on individual perspectives and goals and genres. My suggestion is that you attend a short workshop or photography course that will provide you with the basics and assist you in your journey.


10 Steps to follow in pursuing photography as a career

  1. Learn and Develop Your Skills: Start by learning the basic fundamentals of photography. Familiarise yourself with camera equipment, brands and models, and what suits your genre and the ares you most interested in photographing. take note of exposure, composition, lighting, and post-processing techniques and ask yourself questions about what you seeas this will help you in developing a ‘signature and style”. You can partake and register in photography courses, attend workshops, or explore online resources and tutorials. Practice regularly to refine your skills and experiment with different genres of photography to find your niche. A 121 Know your Camera Workshop for Beginners is also something to consider.
  2. Define Your Specialisation: Photography offers various specialties such as landscape, portrait, fashion, wedding, documentary, wildlife, and more. Identify your interests and strengths to determine the area you want to specialise in. Focusing on a specific niche allows you to build a strong portfolio and develop expertise in that particular genre.
  3. Invest in Quality Equipment: Purchase a camera and lenses that meet the requirements of your chosen photography genre. Research and invest in equipment that suits your needs and budget. Remember that while gear is important, it’s ultimately your skills and creativity that make compelling photographs. Know that it is all about quality, not quantity, so buy wisely from the start.
  4. Build Your Portfolio: Create a portfolio showcasing your best work. Include a diverse range of images that highlight your skills, creativity, and unique style. As you progress, regularly update and refine your portfolio to reflect your growth and evolving vision.
  5. Assist or Second Shoot: Consider assisting or second shooting with experienced photographers in your chosen field. Assisting allows you to gain practical experience, learn from professionals, and understand the workflow and demands of professional photography. It’s an excellent way to expand your network and establish relationships within the industry.
  6. Develop a Business Plan: If you aim to become a professional photographer, develop a business plan. Outline your target market, marketing strategies, pricing, and financial considerations. Determine whether you want to work as a freelancer, start your own photography business, or join an established studio.
  7. Market Yourself: Establish an online presence to showcase your work and attract potential clients. Create a professional website or blog to showcase your portfolio and provide relevant information about your services. Utilize social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn to share your work, engage with the photography community, and connect with potential clients.
  8. Networking and Collaboration: Attend photography events, exhibitions, and workshops to network with other photographers and industry professionals. Collaborate with models, makeup artists, stylists, and other creatives to expand your network and create collaborative projects that benefit everyone involved. Networking and collaboration can lead to new opportunities, referrals, and exposure.
  9. Gain Experience and Build Your Clientele: Start by offering your services to friends, family, or local businesses to gain practical experience and build your portfolio. As you gain confidence and expertise, start marketing your services to a wider audience. Consider offering discounted rates or pro bono work initially to attract clients and build a reputation.
  10. Continuous Learning and Improvement: Photography is an ever-evolving field. Stay updated with the latest trends, techniques, and technologies through continuous learning. Attend workshops, seminars, and industry conferences. Follow influential photographers, read photography books, and engage in online communities to stay inspired and keep honing your skills.

Remember that building a successful photography career takes time, dedication, and perseverance. It’s important to be patient, continuously learn and improve, and adapt to the changing landscape of the industry. There are really not rules, just like in fashion and “the arts”. The way to approach learning photography is to develop your style, the way the camera settings work comes second. The camera just follow your instruction to capture your photograph. 


Photography as a hobby 

If you want to improve your photography as a hobby, here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Study the Fundamentals: Start by learning the basic principles of photography, including exposure, composition, lighting, and camera settings. Understand how aperture, shutter speed, and ISO work together to create a well-exposed image. Explore different composition techniques and learn how to use light effectively to enhance your photos.
  2. Practice Regularly: The key to improving any skill is practice. Make it a habit to take your camera out regularly and capture images. Experiment with different subjects, lighting conditions, and compositions. Challenge yourself to try new techniques and push your creative boundaries.
  3. Analyze and Critique Your Work: After each photography session, review your images critically. Identify what you like and what can be improved. Analyze composition, exposure, sharpness, and overall impact. Be honest with yourself and identify areas where you can grow.
  4. Learn from Others: Study the work of other photographers whose style you admire. Analyze their composition, lighting, and use of color. Look for inspiration in books, magazines, online platforms, and photography exhibitions. Attend photography workshops or join photography clubs where you can learn from and share experiences with fellow enthusiasts.
  5. Seek Constructive Feedback: Share your work with other photographers or join online photography communities where you can receive constructive feedback. Feedback from others can provide valuable insights and help you identify areas for improvement.
  6. Experiment with Different Genres: Explore various genres of photography to expand your skills and creativity. Try landscape photography, portraiture, street photography, macro photography, or any other genre that interests you. Each genre has its own unique challenges and techniques that can broaden your photography skills.
  7. Learn Post-Processing: Post-processing is an integral part of digital photography. Learn how to edit your images using photo editing software such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. Understand basic adjustments like exposure, contrast, color correction, and sharpening. Post-processing allows you to enhance your images and bring your creative vision to life.
  8. Attend Workshops or Online Courses: Consider enrolling in workshops, seminars, or online courses focused on specific aspects of photography that you want to improve. These learning opportunities can provide valuable insights, guidance, and feedback from experienced photographers.
  9. Engage in Photo Challenges and Projects: Participate in photo challenges or personal projects to push yourself creatively. Challenges can provide a structured framework for practicing and exploring new techniques. Projects allow you to focus on specific themes or concepts, helping you develop a cohesive body of work.
  10. Embrace Criticism and Emulate Success: Be open to constructive criticism and feedback. Use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Also, analyze the work of successful photographers in your chosen genre and try to understand what makes their images impactful. Emulate their techniques and apply them to your own work while still maintaining your unique style.

Remember, improving your photography skills is a continuous journey. Be patient, persistent, and enjoy the process of learning and exploring new possibilities.