Why and How: Defining the Qualities of a Good Photographer – Part 4

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Photograph in black and white of Caddo Lake in Texas.
Photograph in black and white of Caddo Lake in Texas.

Quality 22: "Understanding the Words Patience and Perseverance"

If you really want to become a good photographer, you must learn to be patient and persevering.

If you want to create interesting photographs, it is very rare that you realize them during a first session. In landscape photography, lights are sometimes waiting a long time.

In wildlife photography, animal attitudes require wait times that can sometimes last for days, especially in Europe.

Both qualities are closely related. I believe that perseverance is the most difficult to acquire. I often come back to a scene 7 or 8 times to make the picture I wanted and dreamed about. Even if I try to build, very often the light is still missing.

But patience and perseverance are also important to understand and capture the soul of a scene. To create a good photo, you have to be in communion with all the elements around you. You must immerse yourself in the atmosphere. If you stay neutral, you will never achieve the photos you want.

Quality 23: "Having Seen the Light"

Light is one of the three essential points I use to build photos using the ACAPN method. It is necessary to create interesting photos. It is not enough.

Even if all the photographers talk about the light, few can boast of having seen "The Light" with a big L, one day.

If that happened to you one day, you understand what I mean.

If this has not happened to you yet, you will see that everything will be different in your photographs when you have experienced this unique moment.

When we have seen "the Light" we know exactly how to photograph. We know when the photos will be perfect.

"The Light" is an important moment in the life of a good photographer.

From this day, nothing is the same again. It is as if we had reached the nirvana of photographers.

During my workshops, this is a subject that I do not mention because it is not imaginable or understandable for all those who have not experienced this moment of grace.

But I was lucky to see trainees come back with ecstatic looks. Seeing them, I understood what had happened. I did not ask them anything. I knew.

It is a few hours after we talk about it. They took a giant step.

All the good photographers I met, had this intense moment. They saw "The Light". They know what it looks like.

Seeing “The Light" requires perseverance and a great deal of self-sacrifice.

Quality 24: "Do not create photos by accident"

You are a good photographer when you are not building, and you are not creating your photos by accident.

They must be thoughtful, mentally prepared before shooting and after development.

It is certain that some of your photos were taken with luck. But luck is a necessary factor to create interesting photos. You must provoke it, search for it.

You must always know exactly what you want to create for your photograph. If you do not know, once you are on the field, it will be too late. The beautiful light will pass quickly. The beautiful animal attitudes will have disappeared.

In the field, you will always face imponderable situations. Nothing ever happens as you planned. You will have to react as quickly as possible. By preparing correctly, you will avoid wasting time trying to find time for problems you might have thought of before.

Quality 25: "Know Your Equipment Perfectly"

You are a good photographer when you perfectly master all your photographic equipment.

Your camera should no longer have secrets for you. You must master all the settings and their impacts on your photographs. For example, you need to know the impact of aperture or speed on your photos. You must know how to use the level, how to check if the area of sharpness is sufficiently wide.

If you are wondering about your camera settings, once you are in the field, you will waste time. The lights or the animal attitudes will have disappeared by the time you find a solution.

But knowing your camera is not enough. In landscape photography, knowing how to use a tripod, remote trigger, graduated filters are essential. In wildlife photography, mastering a gimbal head and knowing how to adjust it, using a cloth photo blind is essential.

Each photographic discipline has its own equipment. You must learn to use them before making your photos in the field.

You must also always use equipment used for your needs. For example, if you practice underwater photography, you do not need to use a 70-200mm lens. If you practice European wildlife photography, a 400mm lens is a necessity.

You must be well informed about the photo equipment. Do not hesitate to contact other photographers who have expertise. You will save a lot of time.

Quality 26: "Technique is Only the Means to Express Yourself"

Knowing your equipment and knowing the photographic techniques are absolutely necessary to create interesting photos.

Knowledge of the techniques of composition, framing, mastery of the theory of photographic elements, theory of masses are not enough.

Technique is only a way for you to express yourself.

You must master the technique, but your creativity depends only on you. Your imagination, the definition of a clear artistic approach, your curiosity, your desire to express yourself with the photographic language are all elements that will allow you to create photos that make sense and are interesting.

For years that I animate nature photography workshops, I see that many photographers think that a very expensive and a very good quality camera are enough to create photos. They think that it is enough to put the eye face to the viewfinder and that the camera will do everything for them. It is a terrible mistake. It is only hardware. Without a brain to direct it, nothing will happen.

Quality 27: "Have a Photographic consciousness "

To become a good photographer, you must have a photographic consciousness. You must be able to relate to other photographers who have the same photographic activity as you or not.

You must be able to situate yourself in your time.

You must be able to analyze your own experiences to become even stronger and improve your artistic approach.

Experience allows you to give meaning and value to your technique. It is for this reason that you must acquire the qualities of patience and perseverance.

Quality 28: "Listening to the World Around You"

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