10 Things Successful Photographers Don’t Do

Creative photographers strive to discover new patterns, color, adventure and beauty among many other things. Creativity awakens all of a photographer’s senses, adding an artistic touch to his or her final work. Many amateur photographers dream of becoming creative photography pros. There are, however, very few who actually master the trade.

landscape photography

“Sunrise Horseshoe Bend Page Az” captured by Clifford Briggin (Click image to see more from Briggin.)

Successful photographers have already learned to keep their creative juices flowing. They know a lot about every aspect of photography. Most importantly, they know what they shouldn’t do as professional photographers. Below are 10 things a successful photographer will never do if they want to stay creative:

1. Waste time thinking about gear

This is one of the most important things a successful photographer avoids at all costs. Photography gear may be important for enhancing shots, however, it’s not as important as core photography when taking creative photos. In fact, creative shots often come out better when they are taken naturally, without extra gadgets.

2. Leave the camera at home

Creative photography is all about capturing unrehearsed moments anywhere, anytime. Successful photographers know the pain of missing great opportunities. They make a point to have a camera anywhere they go. This enables them to capture interesting moments that other photographers miss. This is part of what makes them stand out.

photographing children

“Untitled” captured by Irina Oreshina (Click image to see more from Oreshina.)

3. Use the same technique over and over again

There is nothing creative about using the same photography technique all the time. Successful photographers stay away from stagnant photography techniques, which hinder them from growing their skills and experimenting. The best photographers offer variety, which can only be offered by using many techniques and being open to new ideas. Successful photographers avoid monotony at all costs.

creative portrait photography

“Dreaming” captured by Jacc (Click image to see more from Jacc.)

4. Ignore the importance of copyrighting work

Copyrighting original work is advisable for obvious reasons (i.e. recognition and compensation). Any experienced photographer know the importance of protecting their valuable work, especially if it falls under the creative photography docket. Photographers become successful by receiving recognition and financial returns from their work. Copyrighting safeguards a photographer’s future earnings on past work and also keeps a record of their creative efforts, avoiding duplication.

5. Share technical problems with clients

Although it is important to be honest with your clients at all times, successful photographers know the dangers of sharing technical problems with their clients. Being honest when faced with technical problems does more harm than good from a professional photographer’s point of view. For instance, clients can start viewing you as unprofessional, which can hurt your reputation. Successful photographers have learned to stay mute about technical problems when dealing with clients. They go as far as planning ahead to avoid occurrences where they will be forced to share technical problems. Dealing with technical problems internally also helps to maintain focus which is important to stay creative.

6. Take each and every assignment they get

artistic photography

“Sandy Puc Workshop” captured by HConfer (Click image to see more from HConfer.)

You can’t jump at each and every photography opportunity and expect to remain creative. Creative photography is about inspiration. Successful creative photographers know inspiration is hard to come by; they choose their assignments carefully. For instance, they never take assignments just to make money. This is because they understand the importance of being in the right mind frame when working. This explains why they successful photographers don’t take assignments just to please clients. They have to feel inspired.

7. Create friction with event planners

Successful photographers also avoid creating friction with event planners at all costs. This has something to do with staying focused and being able to explore. Successful photographers understand the important role event planners play in their success–they provide photographers with the necessary support they need to do a great job. For instance, event planners obviously have a lot of influence in things like venue set up which can affect the final outcome of creative photography.

8. Try to be the life of an event

This is another mistake successful photographers avoid. Successful photographers understand exactly what their job is at any event. They know their work is to capture memorable times. This explains why they never go overboard trying to interact too much with guests. Don’t try to network or entertain guests, because you will end up losing focus.

 9. Do everything themselves

Successful photographers concentrate on their core work. They don’t do everything themselves. Doing too much at once definitely shifts focus and concentration.

core photography work

“Gringotts” captured by Arthur Taylor (Click image to see more from Arthur Taylor)

10. Ignore the Internet

Finally, successful photographers never underestimate the power of the internet. They recognize what works and what doesn’t. The Internet can be a great source of inspiration for photographers looking for new creative ideas.

Aspiring photographers should avoid common pitfalls that can easily stall their creative photography careers. Although there may be many other professional photography taboos, the above information is adequate enough to guide amateur photographer in the right direction.

About the Author:
Swee Shiong Chong writes for SG East Photo, a photography blog on techniques and equipment that is used in creating all types of photography from around the world.

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6 Comments

  1. Barry Kidd says:

    Decent enough tips and definitely worth considering.

    Thank you for sharing,

    Barry

  2. Ian Fisk says:

    Re: “Successful photographers have learned to stay mute about technical problems when dealing with clients. ” — I don’t know about photography, but that advice is disastrous in any other field. Be honest with your clients and set fair expectations. Pretending that everything is fine will end your career quickly. Otherwise, the comments seem excellent.

  3. chrismale says:

    Not thinking ’bout gear, not leaving your camera at home time by time, not improve one special technique over and over, all of this is… stupid. And all of the other depend on what kind of photography you’re in to, or get paid for. You don’t want to set up the same rules for wildlife and wedding photographers, do you?

  4. Amyt says:

    Re “Ignore the importance of copyrighting work” – this section is misleading. Images are copyrighted upon creation. “Registering” with the copyright office is different from attribution on an image and is not the same as a copyright. I would not confuse attribution with copyright rights. I am uncertain what “Copyrighting safeguards a photographer’s future earnings on past work and also keeps a record of their creative efforts, avoiding duplication.” Is this attribution or copyright registration? Either way, I do not understand how it safeguards future earnings.

  5. David says:

    Amyt,

    I agree that the copyrighting work section is confusing and was hoping for more. One issue is that each country has different processes and protections on registering the work. The “safeguards” should be in preventing someone taking your work and selling it in the future. I am interested how the avoiding duplication part works as well.

  6. Ian Ford says:

    I would have thought one obvious one we be “Sleep in late”. Maybe that’s just for the landscape variety

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