Top 10 Qualities of a Great Photographer

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What are the top 10 qualities of a great photographer? It takes more than just a nice camera and a desire to take pretty pictures in order to be successful in this creative yet technical professional field. Whether you want to work for newspapers, magazines, portrait studios or as a freelance event photographer, there are a few qualities that you should try to cultivate as soon as possible.

photographer qualities

"Through Her Lens" captured by Jessica N Martin (Click Image to See More From Jessica N Martin)

1. Ambitious Nature
Photography, like many other creative professions, is a highly competitive field. You’ll need the ambition to keep going and striving for the best if you’re going to make it.

2. Detail Oriented
A big part of great photography is the ability to focus on the tiny details as well as the big picture. This means capturing the tiniest details when it’s necessary, and knowing when to edit the tiniest details out when they’re not adding to the picture.

3. Coordination
If you don’t have good hand-eye coordination and a steady hand, you better start doing as many exercises as possible to help develop these skills now. This is vital to photography careers.

4. Creativity
This one should be obvious. You either have it, or you don’t. However, photography school can often help to cultivate what you have if you feel your creative skills are somewhat lacking.

5. Legal Knowledge
This may not seem so obvious. Photographers do, however, need to be knowledgeable of certain laws, particularly those related to copyright issues and contracts.

6. Knack for Marketing
You can’t just expect to sit back and let the work come to you. You need to get your name out there and have a professional looking portfolio to let people know what you can do.

7. Networking Know-How
Yes, you will need to network and “schmooze” to make it in the photography biz, regardless of whatever professional level you have your sights set on.

8. Mind for Business
This is a profession first and foremost, so it’s necessary to have the business skills to manage your career and make the decisions that will benefit your bottom line.

9. “People Person”
You’ve got to have people skills to make it in a competitive, creative field like photography. Being personable will get you far in this profession.

10. Technical Skills
This is a no brainer. Photography is all about using the best equipment, tools and software and knowing how to use them all correctly.

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3 Comments

  1. bycostello says:

    business savvy should be number 1 and i think ur right technical skill comes at number 10!

  2. billrinmn says:

    I like your list for the most part. Would disagree with some of it as in Number 10. “Photography is all about using the best equipment, tools and software and knowing how to use them all correctly.” Wouldn’t that statement alone negate the other 9? Anyways… I have seen awesome images shot with P&S cameras… and even cell phones.

    Hard to put photography in a box. Sort of like the one man’s trash is another’s treasure sort of thing.

    Good points all, to take into account.

    I am just thinking a different title might be in order for your post.

  3. Fibonacci says:

    This might be a better list if the title was “Top 10 qualities for the business of photography.” That is to say, these are qualities required to run a good photography business but they won’t necessarily make you a good photographer. The list of top ten qualities for being a really good photographer should start with; 1)Patience, 2) A Good Eye, 3) A knowledge of the history of art and photography. It takes a long time to become a good photographer. Buying $20,000 worth of equipment doesn’t make you a better photographer any more than buying an expensive car makes you a better driver. It also takes many years to develop a good eye, for knowing what works best in each situation and how to handle the challenges you will face. Lastly, while many photographers are quick to claim they are artists, precious few actually take the time to study art and why some works are considered genius and others are left on the scrap heap. To bad, they would be much better photographers if they did.

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