10 qualities that will make you an amazing photographer – Chicago, Illinois – Portrait and Wedding Photography
1. Relate to people well. Being a photographer is such a people centered job. You absolutely have to be able to talk comfortably with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds as you with different life experiences as you. If you aren’t easy to get along with and likeable, you won’t be hired. Simple as that. You have to be outgoing, communicate well, and be a good listener.
2. The desire to learn. I think if I really sat down and counted, I probably learn or come across about 20 things a day that I can apply to my business. It can be a new way to present something on my website, how to force yourself to blog consistently (ahem!), a tutorial on how to take better macro shots, finding a new location for an upcoming session, discovering fun new marketing or branding ideas, researching traditions in a wedding you know nothing about so you can talk intelligently with a bride about her culture, coming up with new fun products for your clients, looking into bridal expos – no matter what it is, you have to constantly want to be on top of things.
3. The ability to bounce back. Failures and missteps are going to happen and you have to not only expect it, but be okay with it. It’s the only way to grow. A lot of this type of business comes from trial and error because you’re a one-person show. Nobody is there to show you the right way and nobody knows what will work for you best except for you. Your success is a direct result of you. Nobody is out there marketing for you, working on your website for you, writing your emails for you. Your passion and people skills will bring you success.
4. Having thick skin. Maybe you were born with thick skin, and that’s awesome, but if you weren’t then you had better grow some quickly. In case you haven’t noticed, there are some rude people in the world who will troll your FB page or website and leave nasty comments for you and the whole world to see. They will leave unsolicited advice and critiques on work that you are proud of and try to tear you down. Why? Who knows. But you better believe it will happen. Another reason you’ll need thick skin is all the disappointments you’ll have. Clients won’t hire you, work that you submit for publication won’t be selected, images that you love will fall short of amazing in other people’s eyes. You just have to believe in yourself and know that someday it will all be worth it.
5. Never settle with yourself. Always improve. There is always something you can add to your arsenal and endless topics to educate yourself on. Never allow yourself to be satisfied with what you create, always strive for improvement. Try to keep yourself ahead of every other photographer out there. I found that the longer I did this, my work evolved into a totally different style than I ever anticipated. It wasn’t even a conscious thing, it was almost like my eye was trained to see what truly beautiful work was and I strived to be able to achieve that.
6. The ability to see your work objectively. This kind of ties in with number 5, but if you don’t take some time every now and then to evaluate your work and your business model, you’ll be stuck in limbo. You won’t get worse, but you won’t get better either. It’s also refreshing sometimes to compare yourself to yourself. Find some images from when you first started out and put them side-by-side with work you just recently shot. Seeing your improvements or your change in style in a tangible way is incredibly powerful.
7. Ask for help. You can always find someone out there who has been doing this longer than you who is willing to take you under their wing. Not every photographer is crazy competitive. There’s plenty of photography groups I have joined with incredible networking opportunities and endless amounts of advice and support. Look around and put yourself out there. You might be surprised how many photographers will be happy to help. For every photographer that won’t help, there’s TONS out there who want to help raise the bar for photography and help educate other photographers. Just don’t think and act like you already know everything there is to know. Nobody likes a know-it-all and it puts you in a bad place because we all need help, nobody knows it all.
8. Being able to create and capture a moment. When I first started out in photography, the technical stuff was awful. I wasn’t artsy at all and I actually shot on auto! But what stood out to me and to my clients about my work was that I could capture a moment. This ties in with my first point, but it is essential that you can interact with your clients in a way to ease out their natural smiles and laughter and have them also interact with each other in a real way. The technical stuff will come in time, but if you can be present enough to anticipate great reactions and emotions, and get people to feel comfortable around you, then you will go a long way in this business.
9. The drive to succeed. You have to be able to visualize your end results. Set goals, re-evaluate them as needed, and then set higher goals. Push yourself to be the best you can be.
10. PASSION! If you’re not passionate about this type of work, you’ll never make it. Simple as that. You have to really truly love creating beautiful images and use that love to fuel you past all the struggles you will come across.
for capturing the emotion of the day - the love and happiness that
you would never think
could be enveloped
in a ” - Sharon & David
in a photo
is ” - Christine
candid shots. she truly
what she's doing
and it shows
in her work. We were
very lucky to have
found her for our
wedding. ” - Katie & Tony