Photography is more than just owning the latest, most expensive camera available. Great photographers can find the art in the most unexpected of places and capture it in one frame. They treat a photograph as a canvass in which they can paint an image for their audience to see.
Just like any creative profession, photography requires having a natural eye for beauty. However, having this talent is not enough. You will also need skills that can elevate your passion for this art form into a full-time profession. Understanding these skills will help you improve, and also teach you how to give your clients an enjoyable experience with you as their photographer.
Here are some of the top skills a photographer must have:
1. Knowledge of the subject
Having an intimate understanding of your subject, regardless of your photography niche, is the key to telling wonderful stories in your photographs. If you are a wedding photographer, you must know the story of the couple you’re shooting and compose your shots based on that. Similarly, sports photographers are required to know the rules of the sport to take action shots that are meaningful.
Basically, knowing your subject’s story is your guide to telling the right stories. The last thing you want to do is misrepresent your subject in the final photos.
2. Eye for Detail
Great photographers know that the devil is in the details. It’s really just a matter of making sure that every element in your shot contributes to the story you are trying to tell. You must learn to take note of the lighting, subject, color, and composition, and how each of these three relates to each other in your photograph.
Take note that the tiniest detail could improve or ruin your shot. So be meticulous with what you want to include in the photo. Ask yourself if the lighting is appropriate, or if an obscure item fits in with your composition.
Noting these details will guide you in taking great photos that tell captivating stories.
3. People Skills
Photographers are not lone wolves. Once you move up from being a hobbyist to a pro, you will find yourself working with people. Because of this, you will have to develop your communication skills to build great relationships with clients and colleagues. It helps with networking and obtaining clients and partnerships with other companies or photographers.
Communication skills will also help with interacting with your subjects. You have to know how to guide and instruct them while helping them feel at ease in front of your camera. Not only does it help you build relationships, but it also helps you achieve your ideal images.
4. Technical Expertise
Photography, while it is undoubtedly an art form, is a tech-heavy profession. Sure, you need artistic mastery, but technical expertise is what will help you achieve all the creatively unique photos you plan to shoot.
You will become a better photographer as soon as you master all of your camera’s settings: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO among others. Regardless of what camera model you have, getting the basics right is the key to taking good photos.
Other than mastering your camera, you should also practice using editing software that could help you transform so-so photos into unforgettable snapshots. Luckily, the Internet does not run out of great photography and editing tutorials.
5. Legal Knowledge
We’ve all heard of other photographers’ work being stolen online, and you surely do not want this to happen to you, too. It may be an underrated skill, but having knowledge of copyright laws that cover photography will be your safeguard against cases like these. This will help you protect your work, and also become mindful of other professionals’ rights as creatives.
6. Business Skills
You may have mastered photography, but a lack in business skills can hinder you from landing projects in the photography industry. In an extremely competitive professional field, you will have to know how to advertise yourself. Convincing clients to hire you is a great feat – a combination of sales and communication skills.
You don’t have to sell yourself as the best photographer in the industry. Learning how to accurately represent yourself to clients (without under and overselling), will set you apart from other photographers. Having this skill set is highly useful, and will definitely help with furthering your career in the creative industry.
7. Knowing When to Use Accessories
Your camera alone can take amazing photographs, but complicated images may require the use of camera accessories. As a photographer, you have to be acquainted with extra equipment like tripods, light diffusers, lenses, filters, and camera triggers. Knowing when to use these is just as important.
For instance, splash photography will require you to use your handy macro lens, a tripod, a handful of flashes, and a MIOPS Splash Water Drop Kit. The kit helps lessen the time required by conventional splash photography by giving you control over drops and timing. Used with other accessories, the kit will help you capture beautiful and precise splashes and water drops.
As a photographer, you should always be ready for hiccups. You cannot control everything during your shoots, and that is okay. Being flexible allows you to have room for changes. You should be ready to switch up your settings and setup when the circumstances demand it. When you are flexible, you will be able to adapt to any situation and surprise changes.
More than anything else, your creativity as a photographer is what will differentiate you from other photographers in the industry. Geared with your imagination, you can turn the mundane into extraordinary photos for your clients.
Just like other skills, creativity can be improved. Unlike what others believe, it is not something that you are born with. You can train yourself to be creative and imaginative through reading and learning from other photographers’ work. Exploring and experimenting with your camera’s setting and accessories could also lead to more creative and unique photos.
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