This is my number one piece of advice I can give for working as a professional photographer and I’ll kick things off with this quote from one of my absolute favourite artists:
To me, this means the action of taking photographs NEEDS to be the most simple part of your job.
So what got me thinking of this? Why make such a dramatic claim? Well, we know that everyone has a camera in their pocket - anyone can take a photograph - so what is it that keeps clients paying day-rates that equate to the prices of all the fancy gear they would need to do the shoot themselves?
The skills can be many fold:
for an event it’s awareness and stamina
for the studio it’s attention to detail
for landscape it’s being a bloody Meteorologist!
But for all of these things to be worth while the hard parts come with traditional skills, outside of photography itself. People skills, networking, budgeting, and being committed to your practice.
This isn’t to say that creating brilliant images is easy. That’s another topic that’s about art, vision, creativity and learning one tool - your eye.
But you can be the best photographer in the world - if you don’t have people skills, those pictures aren’t going far.
I’ve seen many great amateur photographers and I’ve seen just as many bad professional photographers - the differences between those two camps is that one of them sold themselves. There’s an old saying; it’s not what you know - it’s who you know.
But of course, as we approach the upper echelons of commissioned photography that blurs the lines of art and advertising, these two things have to come together. Yet still, when that photographer lands on set and is haded their Phase One the hard work has already been done. Now they just do what they do. They just react to what they see and take many, many pictures.