Why and How: Defining the Qualities of a Good Photographer – Part 5
Quality 28: "Listening to the World Around You"
If you think you are a good photographer, you have certainly discovered that you listen to the world around you as if you were an actor in a movie scene, or a figure captured in a photograph.
You may analyze each photographic element to decide if it is balanced with harmonious and unique compositions or if it repeats the works of others.
This quality of symphony with the outside world is, in my opinion, an essential quality of a professional photographer. It is often called "measuring the temperature" of the world around you.
Quality 29: "Knowing How to Judge Your Own Photos"
A good photographer understands the importance of analyzing and judging images.
I often meet photographers who strive to share their opinions on the photos of others. When I ask them about their own photographs, they are unable to complete a similar analysis.
Nevertheless, this is an essential quality. You must be able to analyze an image immediately after it was taken. You should be able to analyze the composition, the framing, and the impact of the photo on the camera screen and on the computer.
In performing a deep, objective, and uncompromising analysis, you will be able to improve your vision and signature in your next photo session. You will have a more structured perspective when deciding which images to keep and which images to remove when formulating a series with a focused meaning.
By developing this quality, you will save a lot of time in the field. Indeed, you will be able to quickly choose and set up each photographic element in your scene so that it perfectly transmits your messages and emotions.
Quality 30: "Developing Your Sense of Observation"
A good photographer must have a keen sense of observation. Living in with empathy is certainly a necessity for any individual, but it is not enough for a photographer.
You must be able to observe everything that is happening around you so that you can truly seize the decisive moment that is so dearly mentioned by Cartier-Bresson.
This is commonly known as the “photographer's eye”.
The “photographer’s eye” is the ability to quickly analyze a scene and identify key photographic elements which intricately support the point of view, composition, and framing.
You may already have this innate ability, just like many other photographers. However, I am convinced that this photographer’s eye can be developed by anyone who has a desire for it, so long as they adhere to consistent work.
This is how some photographers can still create exceptional photos even if they use a medium-range camera.
Quality 31: "When Your Collections Do Not Meet the Desired Audience"
A good photographer succeeds in creating collections of photographs that have impact, meaning, and consistency.
However, like all human beings, the photographer is fallible. Sometimes you may create collections of photos that do not meet your desired audience.
These are constructive failures that are wonderful opportunities for growth. The best way to learn may be from examining a failure. To rise again, you should analyze the reasons, correct any mistakes, and rebound by beginning new collections.
To create a collection of photos, it might be interesting to approach a new photographic style. As this approach is certainly avant-garde, it might be difficult for a viewer to understand what has been created. Nevertheless, the collection may simply lack interest.
A good photographer never feels sorry for himself. He must keep moving to explore new ideas and venture further into new ways of expression through photography.
Quality 32: "Striving to Be Unconventional"
If you want to be a good photographer, you must be unconventional.
Stepping out of your comfort zone is not enough. Seeking inspiration in new directions is not enough.
New sources of inspiration do not equate with copying and creating what is fashionable.
To be unconventional, you must have solid photographic foundations and master your technique perfectly. Then you can create digressions, thus changing the rules and creating aesthetic images with a deeper meaning.
You must always think differently. You must escape conventions and habitual routine. You must not fall back onto what has already been done in photography.
Never be afraid to fall. Failure naturally follows when one initially explores new concepts.
Quality 33: "Relying on a Rigorous Methodology"
If you want to become a good photographer, you must adopt a rigorous methodology that can be used in the field or during the development of your images.
The methodology allows you to limit wasted time and unnecessary questions, allowing you to focus during critical moments.
The methodology allows you to define your photographic approach and to be guided by your creativity goals.
For example, in wildlife photography, it is essential to have a list of all your accessories for shooting on the field. In landscape photography, if you take long-exposure photographs, you may need an application or a chart to calculate the correct exposure speed based on your filter.
During our organized photo workshops, I usually repeat that the more methodical one is, the more creative one is.
Indeed, if your time is optimized, you are less likely to lose it. All your time spent will benefit your creativity.
Quality 34: "Enriching Yourself with Experiences"
To become a good photographer, you must enrich yourself with experiences. Experience allows you to easily adapt to new situations.
It is in accepting these new experiences, that you will enroll in a photographic and artistic creative process.
The acquisition of new experiences will allow you to anticipate events that may occur during the sessions of your photographic projects. By anticipating events, you can stay focused on the essentials without having to deal with unnecessary details.
Quality 35: "Grasping the Main Photographic Element"
A good photographer can identify the main photographic element of a scene. He must also understand that this element is not necessarily the subject of an artistic photograph.
Never forget that when you create an artistic photograph, your main subject is important, but you should focus on the emotions or messages you want to convey through it.
Quality 36: "Revealing Your True Photographic Identity"
A good photographer always reveals his or her true photographic identity.
Defining your photographic identity will allow you to say who you are, who you wish to be, and how you desire others to perceive you, regardless of whether they are photographers or not.
Your photographic identity will define how you see the world and how it sees you.
Defining your photographic identity allows you to list the artistic data that individualizes your artistic approach.
It is a bit like your administrative identity with your physical characteristics, your date, and your place of birth.
A photographic identity allows you to individualize yourself, to step out of the mass of photographers, to ensure both your singularity and your artistic individuality.
This exhaustive list of qualities that a good photographer must possess may seem long and difficult to grasp. Nevertheless, it works. You must simply devote some time to assimilating each of these qualities.
If I had to summarize in a few words what is most important, I would say this:
A good photographer has a photographic (and artistic) approach that is clearly and perfectly defined. He has a true photographic consciousness. He knows how to create a coherent and consistent collections of photographs that timelessly speaks the photographic language. He knows how to tell stories that will be remembered by his viewers.