General Question

pleiades's avatar

What makes for a successful and professional photographer?

Asked by pleiades (6207 points ) January 5th, 2013 from iPhone

How does one become a working professional photographer or an exhibiting photographer?

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7 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I have 2 friends who are working successfully as photographers. One is a high fashion photographer, and the other is an art photographer. The former lives in a large city and knows everybody who knows everybody. He advertises extensively by word of mouth. The latter took years of slaving away to finally be discovered for his talented eye and now displays in galleries in several large cities in the US including San Francisco and New York City.

Both of them have a way of seeing past the immediate everyday image. They see what’s below the surface.

In the case of the high fashion photographer, he sees the inner beauty of models of all types and has a way of speaking to them that brings out the emotions they need to display for the client.

The artistic photographer sees details I would often only notice after seeing his work.

As to how one becomes a successful working photographer, I believe talent is important and so is luck. Knowing the right people doesn’t hurt. I am no expert in the field, but I imagine a certain level of education might be of assistance, too.

I hope other people will come along and add more. I know my answer is missing a lot of important points.

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hearkat's avatar

Since the advent of digital photography, it seems that there are increasingly more photographers around. The most common are the local folks, who shoot weddings and other life events. To reach the level that Jake’s friends have, requires a ton of talent, patience, perseverance, and luck. As with any artistic venture, there are a lot of talented people in the world, many whose talents never get discovered.

Here is the Dept. of Labor’s Occupational page for Photagraphers

gailcalled's avatar

Here’s the website of the phenomenally successful fashion photographer in my family. He is also considered one of the best young up-and-coming artists of his generation.. He works like a fiend, travels all over the world and has sacrificed much of his social and family life to use his energy while he is hot and at the top of his game.

He had a camera in his hand since he was a young teen-ager.

Among other honors, he has been named ”“one of the ten photographers changĀ­ing photography.” (See the bio link on his webpage.^^)

Bellatrix's avatar

Why not write to some photographers whose work you really love and ask for their advice.

I support everything that has been said before but I would also start to seek out mentors – online and in person. Attend exhibitions, lectures by top photographers and follow their blogs (if they have one) and email those you really relate to to ask questions. Most people love to talk about their work and as long as you aren’t painful and pesty, you might be surprised by who replies.

OfAwesome's avatar

Remember, it is not in the eye in the camera, but in the eye of the beholder of the camera. ;)

Highbrow's avatar

A good photographer is someone who makes good photos.
Whatever the look, the equipment used, the technologies implemented. Technology is not a substitute for creativity, but it is not a hindrance.
The importance of technical and personal qualities
In photography, have performance equipment is not always enough to make good shots. There are in fact some basic techniques that must be mastered before claiming to be a good photographer. To excel in this art, it is not enough to know the standard settings of a camera.
On the other hand, current devices are increasingly complicated and powerful than neophyte will never use them wisely without some notion. These techniques are of major importance, but certain personal qualities, captured images can be dull.
These qualities are essential to a good photographer then bring each shot some life and emotion that is felt directly. In short, this is all some technical knowledge and personal qualities that allow a photographer to achieve each of the photos.

The key qualities to get

While many photographers have been trained to become professional variety, there are also self-taught, with perseverance, have managed to get noticed. But they all have learned by themselves to develop certain qualities that made them great photographers.
Indeed, although parameters such as the use and management of light are always taken into account during the various formations, it still belongs to each photographer to adapt to the environment in which it is called upon to make shots. Well, have a good general knowledge is a necessary quality since it allows the photographer to open very diverse subjects.
Moreover, a good photographer must also have good reactivity and anticipation. As such, he must act as a journalist and be on the lookout for smaller events that may be subject to nice pictures.

Traits to prioritize

Photography is an art and as such, it is difficult to say that such traits or personal qualities are needed to become a good photographer. Yet these personal qualities are critical, and the passion for photography is definitely the most important.
The passion is the engine that drives the right photographer and he will find the time to exercise and continually improve his technique. Sensitivity is also among the characters and qualities that should be given a good photographer.
Indeed, a sensitive person, feels much more emotions, colors and all the little details that other and can easily translate his shots. A good photographer is also a patient person. The first reason that patience is a quality required is endless learning photography. Furthermore, a good photo depends on many parameters that are not always present at any given time. Thus, the right photographer is one who waits for the right moment.
In photography, curiosity is also very important because it opens the way which can sometimes be interesting. This curiosity should begin with the mastery of different options and features of the camera up to the attention paid to details when you shoot.
As with anything else to be seriously undertaken, photography also requires the willingness on the part of those who want to excel. This quality is the very essence of a successful photographer and it must even be pushed a bit on the far, becoming a perpetual search for perfection.

Miscellaneous qualities for any specific events

Apart from the qualities of a good photographer mentioned above, specialization in certain areas require other personal qualities. Thus, for a wildlife photographer, discretion is a tremendous asset to make beautiful photos.
For a wedding photographer, the best way to succeed is to have an easy contact to build trust and guests take pictures without any problems.
Moreover, although such events are unique, the wedding photographer must not put pressure and vigilance is always required so as not to miss a moment or an important emotion. Finally, this kind of photographer should also update the techniques he will be using since wedding photos have evolved significantly in recent years.

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