Characteristics of a Good Photographer

A photograph conveys what a thousand words cannot. But to achieve that, there are a few qualities a photographer needs to possess in order to capture a Kodak moment. Let’s check them out!

Go Outdoors

To bring the outside inside, you need to go out and explore the great outdoors. That means travel far and near! It could be your neighborhood marketplace or a nearby park. Or, it could be going out and exploring on one of your vacations. Either way, you need to step out of your normal routine and check out the unknown.

Be Curious

Curiosity can result in great pictures! There’s no virtue as fulfilling as that, because if you’re curious, photography doesn’t become a chore. Instead, it’s a joyful experience. Also, when it’s all work and all play, you’ll end up with a far greater output than a less curious photographer who’s doing it only for the money and recognition. Also, curious people see things around them with renewed interest, as if they’re seeing it for the first time. You need to perceive things without your mind being in a hurry. That’s the main secret! Great photos may come, but being curious itself is greatly enjoyable. Remember, the voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes, but in gaining new eyes.

Make Mistakes

Know no fear! It’s okay to mess up a photo by trying out all kinds of exposures, angles, subjects and moods. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The way to take great photographs is to take a lot of them. Learn from the mistakes of others, but don’t be afraid to make your own as well. Some photographers have a weekly ritual of taking approximately 50 photos a day and reviewing them over the weekend. Many have reported that their photography techniques have improved and their level of quality has gone up. It could be their ability to understand light and manipulate the aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Or, it could be their creativity that has reached a new high. It could also just be their constant exposure to photography and its elements. Therefore, the lesson here is shoot, shoot, shoot!

Be in Control

I don’t mean that in a negative sense. I’m talking about keeping an eye on everything that makes up a good photo every time you’re out with your camera. That could mean changing the ISO, aperture value, shutter speed, light, etc. Shooting becomes more fun when you control the settings. That’s also when you become more creative. When you can control the settings, you can control anything for a good photo. With control comes your own style. Be brave enough to do something crazy. Shoot what impresses you and you’ll impress others!

See Things Differently

A good photographer is one who notices things others are oblivious to. The best way to testify to that is to go through interesting photos on the Flickr Web site every other day. One of the things you’ll notice is that most photos are of ordinary subjects, but are taken in an extraordinary manner; be it lighting, angle, contrast, background, foreground, focal length and so on. For example, sometimes a building that appears ordinary by day might end up looking spectacular by night.

Be Different

Great photographers don’t do different things, they just do things differently. So, try and be different in everything you do. Stay away from monotonous angles, subjects and backgrounds. Step out of your comfort zone and push the envelope of creativity to break new ground. Know the rules, but also set out to break them. Just be different!

View and Review

It’s always good to be pals with other photographers taking similar shots. That way, you get to learn from their mistakes and even solve some of the problems you’re facing in your photography. Swap ideas, give each other tips and share the lessons you learn. Once a sense of sharing develops between you and other photographers, you’ll end up becoming a better photographer through viewing and reviewing.

Resort to Lateral Thinking

Put disconnected ideas together and see where your creativity takes you! Just place random ideas together and find new solutions to problems. Do that regularly and you’ll never be short of ideas.

Be Playful

Some of the best photos come about when you’re just fooling around with your camera with no agenda whatsoever. Therefore, the key is to play with new angles, with different shooting distances, with shooting from different perspectives and so on. A playful approach to life could very well take your photography to a new level.

Be Patient

Many of us feel happy when we take many photographs, no matter how bad they are. And to achieve that, we end up racing against time and shortening our life cycle. Instead, a better bet would be to give time a break and just relax. Just watch the world go by with no intention of shooting scores of images. At one time or another, you’ll end up capturing a Kodak moment. Just wait it out and enjoy life at the same time!

Happy photographing!

~ Zahid H. Javali