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What Makes a Good Photographer?

Well there isn’t one answer. To placate the masses I have come up with some suggestions. Remember that how you define ‘good’ is very subjective, so I will take a more general stance.

By Sid MarkPublished 2 months ago 3 min read

I have been making photographs for a long time now. I have been teaching photography classes for the past ten years. And one question still persists from my friends, family, colleagues, students, and hobbyists, “So what makes a good photographer?” I think that people feel like since I have been doing photography since I was a little kid and teaching that I must have the answer. Although I think it is funny that people think that there is one answer, one magic piece of advice, or technique, or lesson that will instantly transform them into a good or even great photographer. Well there isn’t one answer. To placate the masses I have come up with some suggestions. Remember that how you define ‘good’ is very subjective, so I will take a more general stance.

1. Dedication

You have to be dedicated to being good to become good. You have to want it and want it bad. You have to be willing to ‘go the distance’ as the voice in ‘Field of Dreams’ said. Just putting in the time, putting in the practice hours, and doing things to keep yourself going, will make you better than many others who give up too soon and are consumed by their own fears and anxiety

2. Passion

I have mentioned this before in my posts on being an artist, ‘Finding Your Own Artistic Style‘, ‘The Courage to Stand Out’, and ‘Mediocre is Not Acceptable.’ Lack of passion equals death to any endeavor. Passion will drive you when all else fails. It is such a key factor in becoming a good photographer that I think that if you don’t have it you will never reach your goal.

3. Curiosity

Curiosity is probably what lead me to photography in the first place. I was one of those kids that wanted to know how everything worked, and I mean everything. I took apart whatever I could get my hands on in an attempt to see how it worked. That is my scientific mind, but there is a curiosity that drives me to keep learning more and to keep up with the newest technologies.

4. Moving forward

You should always be progressing, always moving forward. Now I did not say to rush everything and do it poorly, but you should always have a bit of the unsettled and the unsatisfied in you. If you do not let that defeat you then you can use it to drive you on to bigger and better things. I am always looking for the next great photograph that will surpass my others. And I usually find it. If you don’t look for it I can assure you that you will not find it.

5. Wanting to improve

This goes hand-in-hand with the idea of moving forward. You can always do better, be better, make more of a difference. Let that drive you on not grind you down. This will take you from a bystander to a participator, from being mediocre to being good.

6. Perseverance

It may be hard to spell, but you know that you can’t win a race that you don’t complete. Your dedication and passion will drive you on. This melds well with the desire to improve and never being satisfied.

7. Be honest

You have to be honest with yourself and with your clients. Few of us are going to be the next LeBron James. And that is ok. Be honest about your weakness and your strengths. Go to your strengths, but continue to work on your weaknesses. Don’t try to be every thing to everyone. Find your niche, where your deepest passions lie, and go for it.

I hope that these thoughts will be useful to you when you see the doubts surface. With intelligent learning and practice you will be able to improve your photography. Be patient and keep at it and you will be rewarded.


About the Creator

Sid Mark

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