Here are five desirable qualities every good photographer should have:
Being a good photographer is more than just mastering your camera or owning the best camera gear — say a Sony Alpha a7S III, Leica Q2, or a Fujifilm X100V — and it’s instead about the inherent qualities that allow a photographer to see beauty in the most unexpected places and capture that beauty in a photograph.
So what makes a good photographer? It depends on what photography niche you’re in. Every niche demands different desirable qualities—pet photographers need to know how to properly interact and connect with animals; sports photographers need to be quick, strong, and agile to get the best shots; and so on.
But, of course, some of these qualities will always overlap.
1. Creativity and Imagination
Photography, for all intents and purposes, is a form of art. Therefore, it requires a creative mind—and plenty of imagination. A good photographer must be able to look at something ordinary, or even extraordinary, and find a million different ways to interpret what he’s seeing and convey those interpretations in beautiful and meaningful photos.
As you may have already heard, composition is everything in photography. Even if you aren’t concerned about the artistic side of your craft, composition is still key in producing good photographs. Sure, some basic composition rules can guide you, but at the end of the day, creativity and imagination are the best guides for stellar compositions.
2. An Eye for Detail
A good photographer must have a very keen eye for detail to ensure that all elements within the photo—the lighting, the composition, the subject, and everything else in between—work together harmoniously to convey the right vision or message.
Key elements that make up a photograph:
Even the tiniest detail can make or break a photograph. So having an eye for detail, and being meticulous when scrutinizing every single element to ensure cohesiveness, is very important in producing the perfect photograph.
3. Patience and Flexibility
No matter how much you try to control every variable, things just won’t go your way at times. There will be days when the lighting won’t cooperate, when your models or clients will be exceptionally difficult, or when your camera just won’t give you the desired results.
And of course, there will be times when you’ll have to take a billion photos just to get one perfect photo.
Whatever photography field you may be in, patience (lots of it) is always an essential quality to have. You need to be patient enough to wait for the perfect lighting. You need to be patient enough to deal with crying babies, hyperactive animals, and difficult clients. And most of all, you need to be patient enough to keep trying when you simply can’t get the right shot.
In addition to patience, you also need to be flexible. The two qualities go hand in hand—you need to be patient enough to deal with whatever comes your way, and you need to be flexible enough to make the best of undesirable conditions.
4. Good People Skills
Being a professional photographer means working with people—whether it’s a client, a model, or even a fellow photographer. Thus, being a good photographer requires good people skills — it’s one of the essential photographer qualities. You’ll also need to network to obtain clients and partnerships, so knowing how to connect and communicate effectively with others is imperative.
When you’re photographing people, knowing how to take a good photo simply isn’t enough. You also have to know how to interact with your subjects to make them feel at ease, get them to cooperate, or draw out all the right emotions out of them.
What sets a good photographer apart from the rest? Passion.
When you’re passionate about what you do, it will always shine through in your work. It takes a lot of time and effort to make it as a professional photographer, and the ones who do succeed and manage to make a name for themselves are those who are truly passionate about their craft.
Passion makes the photographer—it will always make you work a little harder, push a little farther, and strive to be better than you were the day before.