Why and How: Defining or Becoming a Good Photographer – Part 3
Quality 14: "Perfectly Mastering Your Photo Equipment"
You are a good photographer when you completely master your photographic equipment and when you know its limits.
The main difference between a good photographer and a technically competent photographer is that a good photographer masters his equipment. A technically competent photographer is not the same as a good photographer because he is simply knowledgeable about his equipment.
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 setting while shooting, you will lose time. You will miss those crucial moments that make photographs outstanding.
Quality 15: "Forgetting About Technique"
You are a good photographer when you are no longer concerned with technique because it comes naturally to you. Good technical reflexes become automatic.
The photo technique and the material are subject to the creativity.
I often tell participants in my nature photography workshops to practice in their garden or in natural places close to their home. They must be able to change speed and aperture, to evaluate a sharpness area, and to change sensitivity without searching for the buttons on the camera. Once on the field, everything must be automatic.
Quality 16: "Deleting Photos Solely for Artistic Reasons"
You may realize that you are a good photographer when you erase pictures from your camera not for technical reasons but because the pictures do not correlate with your vision.
This quality is the consequence of experience. As you master your equipment perfectly, your photographs will be “good” from a technical perspective. That is, you will adeptly manage the exposure, contrast, colors, and sharpness.
When you are skilled in technique, you erase photos directly from your camera because the composition and the framing do not match the subject of your focus.
Quality 17: "Photographing Is Not Free"
You are a good photographer when you understand that photographing is not free, nor is simple.
Anyone can "make" a photo, but not everyone is able to carefully construct a photo or series. Not everyone is a photographer.
Photography gives you a chance to capture and preserve unique moments, experiences, and emotions. Photography is a true creative field, a form of art.
Art is such an important activity. You must fully understand it to best apply it in expressions. Photographic art is an extraordinary way to access freedom. Photography must be treated with respect.
Quality 18: “Be Attentive to the World"
You are a good photographer when you look at the world around you with care and respect.
In nature photography, when you are in sync with the elements of a scene, you can express yourself.
You are a good photographer when you know how to use photographic elements to convey your emotions, translate your feelings, and speak in the photographic language.
To create my photos, I developed a concept that I refer to as "The Theory of Photographic Elements". I share this idea in my nature photography courses.
You are a skilled artistic photographer when you know how to reflect an interpretation of the surrounding world.
Quality 19: "Knowing How to Tell Stories"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 crucial for daily life. Oral communication is important. Our knowledge is transmitted to others mainly in this way.
Quality 20: "Creating the Pictures You Dream Of"
A good photographer always tries to create the pictures he dreams of.
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 that an essential quality of a good photographer is when he or she chases their dreams.
If you want to create interesting and meaningful photographs, I recommend that you imagine what details you wish to include before shooting.
Most good photographers follow this approach. When waking up in the morning, it is important to know what you are going to do in the field or in the development phase.
Planning your final photos will save you time because you will not lose time looking for your scene or your computer.
To stimulate your imagination, I recommend you browse a wide collection of books and 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 be exploring, I conduct a vast amount of research on that work has been accomplished by other photographers in my field and in similar projects.
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 miniature scenario by imagining what can be 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. Photographic visualization will gradually become a habit.
Quality 21: “Practicing Humility"
Even the largest of the oaks was once a small acorn.
Yves Mazoyer is another faithful participant in my wildlife photography workshops. It was during a workshop devoted to fawns that he explained to me how he behaves in the face of new photographic challenges.
Since receiving his wisdom, I have adopted this philosophy. Every day, I repeat this phrase as a mantra. As soon as I enter a new technical or creative subject, I patiently demonstrate humility.
If you want to become a good photographer, I strongly encourage that you practice humility. You must accept that you do not know everything, and that you are exploring the unfamiliar.
You will always face photographers who have better skills in a certain field. You must agree to learn, train, and consider new techniques of shooting or creative detours
Your photographic foundations will become stronger with time.
This is what I call creative photographic plasticity.
Digital photography is practiced by a growing number of people. Each brings their skills, sensitivity, and expertise. You must be able to adapt by acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses in this huge cognitive reservoir of information. You must understand the layout of 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 and practicing patience.
A good photographer is ready to step out of his comfort zone into unfamiliar territory.