LEARN FROM YOUR COMMUNITY
No photographer is an island. We need each other for support, education, encouragement, and most importantly, advice. In this blog post you’ll get the single best piece of advice 52 photographers have to offer.
"The people with the best advice are usually the ones who have been through the most.”
THE BEST ADVICE FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
Kelly Robitaille: Don’t be afraid to be yourself. It’s easy to fall into who you think you should be as a photographer, and lose yourself in the process.
Doug Chapin: Keep searching, do not settle for cookie cutter results. Try different angles, lighting, perspectives. The best shots are the ones that surprise you.
Michael Miller: You’ll never arrive, don’t stop learning.
Bobby Thompson: Turn around and look behind you. You might be missing a great shot.
Samantha Ann Goss: Never photograph anything alone - be safe. Be safe for yourself and if you use models then provide a safe space for them. Invite their friend and have an equal person with you as well. It keeps all parties safe.
Delinquent Rakose: Have imagination. Don't always follow the trend if it doesn't fit what you feel your work is about.
Nicholas Freeman: Shoot as often as you can. every day if possible. even if you don’t feel inspired or prepared. just do it. Nothing is better for creativity.
Kate Baumgartner: Practice what you preach and make sure you too exist in photos - be photographed.
Nina Covington: Don't get caught up in the gear game. You can have the most expensive equipment, and it will never be a substitute for talent. Talent and ability can't be bought. Get out there and shoot. Don't wait until you have all the best gear. Work on your skills. That is your most valuable asset.
John David: Don’t stop learning.
Carrie Allen: Have the confidence to slow down with clients and retake shots if you aren’t totally sure you got the winning shot. If something needs to be adjusted and reshot, don’t be afraid to do that.
Mari Kris Fulk: Learn how to be a good business person. Photography is mostly business.
Mike Apodaca: Learn all you can about best known techniques to shoot your subject, including gear, whatever your subject is and shoot it often. Learn to recognize to look at the picture on the screen and move the camera around until you get the most pleasing angle. And shoot as often as you can. And the learn editing techniques. Even taking pictures on modern day cell phones, you can learn quite a bit.
James Song: Find your style and stick with it.
Aakaash Bali: Quality matters the most. It isn't how efficiently your work, but how strong of a message you can tell.
Michael Devaney: Never stop learning and always know your worth.
Manuel Delaflour: Remember that everything in the frame is your responsibility.
Oksana Kami: Remember that we’re responsible for our viewers taste.
Chris Norton: You can tell if a background will have depth in a photo by just closing one eye on location. It's cheap and easy. It's a great early warning sign for whether the composition needs tweaking to make it stronger.
Jason Farris: Try and get in front of the camera yourself - even if no one sees the photos as you need to know what you are asking your subjects to do. Self portraits made me a better photographer
Alana Lee: Don’t be afraid to fail. By trying new things we learn and grow, even if things don’t work out on the first try.
Paige Mangum: Dont just point and shoot with amateurs. Find a photographer you admire. ask how and why their photography looks that way and learn from them anyway you can.
Michelle Knight: Master your craft. It is not true that someone can master photography, lighting, posing & Photoshop in just a few weeks. And finding your own visual signature also takes time.
Leslie Jennings:Be the kind of photographer you would want to hire yourself. This applies to not only the art you create, but to every aspect of how you run your business.
Cat For-Coates: EXPERIMENT as often as possible.
Sarah Beth Arnold: Don't compare your work/ progress to other people's work. Everyone is in a different stage and path.
Angela Tyree: Be nice to people. You'll never know who you will see moving up, when your coming down.
Roy B: Slow down and learn the basics of exposure, learn the tool and don’t depend on it to make the image for you. Also learn how to shoot different skin tones. White isn't standard. Learn to see everybody.
Gary Munroe: Shoot what you want to get hired for…
Leon Johnson: Shoot what you like and do it often.
Olga Tenyanin: Do better. Or else.
Michelle Connop: Experiment as much as you physically can. An idea that crosses your mind is wroth exploring and experimenting with. Never hold back on your own thoughts and inspiration. It might just be the best photo in your portfolio to date and often, those ideas and shoots become a catalyst for more ideas to follow; domino effect. Think of why you have those ideas in inspirations, what is it that inspires you about this idea, this can help you discover what style of work you like/want to produce more frequently and what speaks to you most as an artist!
Get out of your own head, step out of your own way, and just do it...even if the photos don’t work out how you wanted or you don’t want to share them, I can guarantee in every shoot, even if you consider it a “failed” one, you still learnt something, even if it’s learning something that you should never do again, it’s so valuable! Honestly, every experiment is a success!
Lynn Clark: A photographer's most important tools are compassion for their clients, the ability to connect with them and the ability to make them forget the camera.
Myriam Sevigny: Stay true to your style and if you don't feel like shooting something, don't.do.it. It often shows in the final product!
Lance Allen Reis: If everyone who asks you for a quote hires you you’re not charging enough.
Mike Con: Don't be one-sided, understand and master lighting indoors and outside. Your clients will double.
Sissela Ornholt Johansson: Photographing people is about listening. Not just to the words that comes out of peoples mouths but to the untold signals they send you. Their fear. Their insecurities. Their pain. Their unspoken desires, wishes and dreams. As a photographer you are a storyteller but in order to tell their story, you need to really, deeply listen to what they have to say to you. It doesn't matter if it is your subject, your client, your team. You need to be able to communicate with them, listen to them and set your own ego aside. We are not the heroes in other peoples stories. We are the guides. It is not about us. It is about them.
JT Tracy: A continued love for photography comes from a thirst for knowledge and competition with yourself to be better. Don't settle, your best can always be better, but don't be too hard on yourself either.
Jon Meadows: It’s easier to be the best solution to clients’ problems and charge the most than to be okay and charge a moderate amount.
Austin Burke: Never stop doing personal passion projects, they let you test new things, push yourself, and often lead to new work doing the type of shoots you want to do.
Katie Forshaw: If somebody says you charge too much, don’t lower your pricing. It’s just that they cannot afford you. Someone who values your work will save the money until they can afford you.
Kat Squibb: Do you research and study up on the art and psychology of body language. The subtlety in every hand placement, how a person crosses their arms, where there hips are facing, etc. sends a clear psychological message to the viewer that impacts how your work and subject is perceived.
Nina Pak: Learn how to properly edit your photos, take the time to do it, it will make all the difference.
Courtney DC: Set boundaries. If you are unwilling to work weekends, do not work weekends. If you don’t establish these rules, you’ll find yourself working at 2am on a Saturday. Most of my clients work 9-5, why should I be expected to do otherwise?
Francisco Joel Hernandez: The price of your gear matters very little if you don't know how to use it. Learn the craft. Progress is progress.
Joshua Redmond: Never waste time on one shot. Keep moving, keep shooting, improvement follows.
Shaughnessy Brett: In terms of photographing people, if I were to give one single piece of advice, it would be to emphasize learning more about the psychological aspects within photography. In my experience, this has been the X factor and plays a crucial role in the overall outcome of the images. The emotion, energy, and comfortability of your subject will always shine through in one way or another. You can't photoshop emotion and authenticity. Genuine images are very important to me, and personally what I value most. In order to generate images the viewer can feel, understanding the psychology of the subject's perspective has an enormous impact.
Nicole DeWaal: in a world filled with mind blowing photography, it’s easy to never feel good enough as an artist. We’re often perfectionists and hard on ourselves. Don’t waste time being in your own way, paralyzed with fear and self doubt. Keep creating and you’ll find your confidence and style. It takes many years of practice to become highly skilled and visionary.
Scott Valentine: Your life away from the camera influences your life behind the camera.
Avan Patel: In all honesty, too much information out there, learn by failing and read photo books, learn from master of yester years!
TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
Learning from each other is one of the most effective ways we gain knowledge. We benefit from one another's failures, successes, and the lessons our peers have learned through trial and error. But not every piece of advice will ring true for every person, so look at this list like a buffet: take what seems relevant to you, and make space for the next person in line.