Why and How: Defining the Qualities of a Good Photographer – Part 3

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Photograph in color of a goby on a colony of coral in the Red Sea.
Photograph in color of a goby on a colony of coral in the Red Sea.

Quality 14: "Mastering Perfectly Your Photo Equipment"

You are a good photographer when you completely master your photographic equipment and when you know its limits.

There is a big difference between a good photographer and a technically competent photographer.

A good photographer masters its equipment. A technically competent photographer is not necessarily a good photographer.

When you are in the field for a photo session, time is running out for you whether underwater or on land. The light changes quickly. In wildlife photography, animals change behavior very quickly.

If you ask yourself questions about the technical settings when shooting, you will lose time. You will miss the crucial moments that make the good photographs.

Quality 15: "Never Taking Care of the Technique"

You are a good photographer when the technique does not worry you anymore. Good technical reflexes become automatic.

The photo technique and the material must be at the service of creativity.

I often recommend to participants in my nature photography workshops to practice in their garden or in places close to home. They must be able to change a speed, an aperture, to evaluate a sharpness area, change a sensitivity without having to look for the buttons on the camera. Once on the field, everything must be automatic.

The equipment must become an extension of yourself as well as your arms or legs.

Quality 16: "Deleting Photos Only for Artistic Reasons"

Technically, you realize that you are a good photographer when you erase pictures from your camera not for technical reasons but because the pictures do not speak to you.

This quality is the consequence of the previous ones. As you master your equipment perfectly, your photographs are always good technically. I evoke here the management of the exposure, the contrast, the colors, the sharpness.

When you are good, you erase photos directly from your camera because the composition and the framing do not match what you wanted to show.

Quality 17: "Photographing is Not a Free Gesture "

You are a good photographer when you understand that photographing is not a simple and free gesture.

Everyone is able to "make" a photo but not everyone is able to build or create photographs or series of photographs. Everyone is not a photographer.

Photography is a true form of expression.

It gives you a chance to capture and preserve unique moments, experiences and emotions. Photography is a real creative field. It's an art form.

Art is such an important activity that you have to apply, think, understand how to use it. Photographic art is an extraordinary way to access freedom. It must be treated with respect.

Quality 18: “Watch the World with Attention "

You are a good photographer when you look at the world around you with care and respect.

In nature photography, when you come to be in phase with all the elements that will compose your scene, you will be able to express yourself.

You are a good photographer when you know how to use photographic elements to convey your emotions, to translate your feelings, to speak with the photographic language.

To create my photos, I developed a concept that I called "the theory of photographic elements". I share that idea during my nature photography courses.

You are a good artistic photographer when you know how to show an interpretation of the world around you.

Quality 19: "Knowing How to Tell Stories"

You are a good photographer when you know how to tell stories about your series of photos.

I think it is very important that you know how to show series or individual photos by telling a story.

Never forget that we are in a society where speech is very important. Oral transmission is important. Our knowledge is transmitted a lot in this way. Many people hold information because they have heard it.

Quality 20: "Creating the Pictures You Dream Of "

A good photographer always tries to create the pictures he dreams about.
Benoit Personnaz.

Benoit Personnaz is a participant in my wildlife photography workshops. I deeply respect his photographic approach. It was during a workshop dedicated to the rut of the red deer stag that he told me for him, it was one of the essential qualities to be a good photographer.

If you want to create interesting and meaningful photographs, I recommend you imagine them before you build and create them.

Most good photographers take this approach. When waking up in the morning, it is important to know what you are going to do in the field or even during the development phase.

Imagining your final photos will save you time because we will not lose time looking for your scene or your computer.

To stimulate your imagination, I recommend you to look at many books or photo magazines. You'll find inspiration and ideas by analyzing and judging the photographic approach of other photographers.

Personally, this is the method I adopt for most of my photo projects. When I do not know the territory I'm going to evolve, I do a lot of research on what has been done or what is closest to it.

When I know the area where I am going to build my photos, it is easier. I analyze the photos already taken by others. Then I build myself a little scenario by imagining what I could have done better.

I recognize that learning to visualize your next photographic creations is not easy. It is for this reason that you must train before each session. Gradually, this photographic visualization will become a habit.

Quality 21: “Being Humble"

Even the largest of the oaks has been a small acorn.
Yves Mazoyer.

Yves Mazoyer is also one of the faithful participants in my wildlife photography workshops. It was during a workshop devoted to the fawns that he explained to me how he behaved in the face of new photographic challenges.

Since then, I have adopted his philosophy. Every day, I repeat this phrase as a mantra. As soon as I enter a new technical or creative subject, I show humility.

If you want to become a good photographer, I strongly encourage you to be very humble. You must accept that you do not know everything.

You will always face a photographer who has better skills in a given field. You must always agree to learn, to train, to consider new techniques of shooting or creative.

Your photographic foundations will always strengthen with time.

This is what I call creative photographic plasticity.

Digital photography is practiced by a growing number of people. Each of them brings their skills, their sensitivity, their know-how. You must be able to adapt by picking into this huge cognitive reservoir what you need to progress in the photographic areas you have chosen.

A good photographer is a humble person who knows his limits. A good photographer is always ready to take on new challenges by preparing carefully.

A good photographer is always ready to step out of his comfort zone.

Quality 22: "Understanding the Words Patience and Perseverance"

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