Let’s face it: it’s tough to be a photographer. You face adversity every day – if not from critics, clients, or conditions, then from yourself. To become a photographer, you have to work for yourself – this doesn’t just mean setting your own schedule, it means training yourself, creating your own motivation, critiquing your own work. It means running a business and marketing yourself, and getting past shyness, modesty, and self-doubt to get yourself out into the world. It’s a lot of hats for one person to wear, and it’s easy to feel lost in the madness of it all.
Thankfully, there are many before us that have faced these same challenges. In this video Erik Almas, a Norwegian photographer, gives us his ten tips to become a photographer, and they’re refreshingly on-point. Rather than the hum-drum “start a Facebook page” or “go to trade shows” type of advice, Almas gets right to the heart of how to really and truly grow as a photographer; not just how to be successful, but how to be good:
Just to give a quick recap, the basic ten steps are:
- Define to yourself what you are drawn to visually.
- See and understand light.
- Seek a mentor.
- Make rather than take.
- Connect with the place or person you are photographing.
- Set goals and pursue them with tenacity.
- Shoot, shoot shoot!
- Use Photoshop to infuse personality into pixels.
- Define the potential audience of your images.
- Don’t give up on your dream of becoming a photographer.
Of course, there is more detail to each of these points that Almas goes into, and there’s obviously much more to becoming a photographer than ten simple tips, but these are a wonderful canon of things to keep in mind as you move through the maze of professional photography.
I’d like to call special attention to his last point:
If you have a dream, never let go of it. Even if you have to take a day job to pay the bills, don’t tuck that camera away. Success doesn’t come to those divinely chosen, it comes to those who work for it, who want and need it most. If you let yourself relent on something you hold so dear, something inside your heart gives way with it. Even against all odds, you must keep trying, for it is the work that fulfills our lives.
Another one I’d like to add is: Surround yourself with people who support you. You’re going to face a lot of hardship throughout your career – know this, and expect it. Realize that it is not the end of the world, but that it is only toughening you up to tackle the greater challenges, and help you to grow, both as an artist and a person. Having a support network will help you face these blows and overcome them with triumph.
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