The question I am asked most often always goes something like this, “I have always dreamed of becoming a professional photographer, what is your secret?”. As the photography industry itself continues to drastically change, I have noticed a constant flow of new people flooding into the ever shrinking photography job market. Whether it is because of the advancements in technology that has made owning a DSLR more affordable or the fact that people are being forced to think outside of the box to find any work at all, the fact remains that every day, more and more people are taking up the art of photography.
I have noticed that as people enter the market they begin to treat the thought of a camera just like any other device that is in the main stream market. Just like owning an Apple iphone, I see people purchasing the latest Canon or Nikon cameras for no other reason other then the fact that it is the newest camera on the market or they think it will make them a better photographer. I am constantly asked “Will this camera make me a better photographer?” or “What lens will help me take better photos?”. The reality of the situation is that while having a solid camera and set of lenses helps open up the realm of creative possibilities, they are complimentary to your skills as a photographer, not your skills themselves.
So what is it then that separates the professionals from the rest of the crowd? Passion and Creative Vision. Passion for the art of capturing experiences on this planet and having the Creative Vision to see beyond what most people see. Photographers that have the ability to implement those two aspects into their work will always separate them selves from the fold. Have you ever looked at an image and been emotionally attached to it, but you have no idea why? That is that missing piece that most photographers dont fully understand.
Creative Vision is not something that you can be taught. It is’t something that you can learn from a book, a workshop or an online tutorial. It is something you have to develop as a photographer on your own. As you take more and more photos, you will begin to see a pattern developing. With me for example, when I was first starting out 4 years ago, I started noticing that I under expose alot of my images. I was doing this somewhat subconsciously because it turns out that I LOVE dramatic light. By under exposing, I created images with a lot of contrast, such as in the image above. It is what I called “Moody Photography” because it forces the eye to explore the entire image. That of course is not the only way to do it, just the type of photographer I naturally found myself to be.
When in doubt, always follow your passions and try new things. If you are comfortable shooting only one way, try something new…get our of your comfort zone. You never know what you might come across if you give yourself the opportunity to be creative. It is hard to learn from the photos that just turned out amazing on their own. I personally learn more from studying my images that didn’t turn out as I expected. Don’t be detoured from photography if you aren’t always taking amazing photos. Learn from them. Just remember, no matter what any book, dvd or instructor says….there are NO rules to photography. Go out there and have fun.
Ansel Adams once said,
“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate I shall be content with silence.”.