Profile Reflections #7

What advice do you have for a novice creative professional/photographer?
Today in our look back at the profiles of the past year, we’re presented with the pearls of wisdom presented by members of the Photoshop & Photography Blogroll. (As always, my personal favorites are in bold.)

  • “Shoot, share and study. Assuming you know the basics of good photography – start shooting – a lot. Carry a camera with you wherever you go. It can be your DSLR, a point-and-shoot or even the camera in your phone. Shoot everything. Find ways to make the mundane special. Develop the confidence to photograph people. Give yourself a fake photo assignment and go do it. Shoot, shoot, shoot.” – Doug Stremel
  • First – look at as many good photographs as you can and critically evaluate what makes them stand out from the crowd, look for the common elements that are present in all great images.  In fact, don’t limit yourself to just photos, there’s hundreds of years of paintings out there to learn from.  Use the same critical evaluation on your own images. Second – get to know your camera intimately so the settings are familiar and easily accessed depending on the shot at hand.  Always set your camera back to some standard state (i.e. ISO, shutter, aperture, A/M focus) so you are not surprised the next time you go out shooting. Third – get out and shoot as much as possible and experiment with different settings and techniques.  With digital it doesn’t cost you anything but your time.” – Stephen Waterfall
  • “Find an outlet.” – Michael Palmer
  • “You might have passion for what you want to do, but that is only half of the “success” equation.  The other half is discipline.  Without both of them, you will never reach your goals. Passion + Discipline = Success.  Now if you also want $uccess, you better have a Plan – but that’s and answer for another time.” – David Ziser
  • “Learn from other people, try out what other professionals do, practice, adapt what you’ve learned and make it your own and keep practicing.” – Jennifer Farley
  • “Get a photo buddy and/or become part of a photography community. If you have someone to go shooting with, and who will look critically at your photos, you will shoot more and improve faster. As for community, the nickname for The Digital Story is “your virtual camera club.” It’s a place for photographers to come together, learn new techniques, show off their pictures, and get feedback on their work. Being part of a community helps us improve as artists and craftsmen.” – Derrick Story
  • “Less is more!” – Terry White
  • “Get out there! The picture you take or design you create is infinitely better than the one you don’t create. I think that patience and humility are essential. Just as with exercise, music, or most other worthwhile pursuits, know that your skills will take time to mature. Try not to take the work or yourself too seriously, and enjoy the process.”John Nack
  • “Photography isn’t about having the latest gear. Even though we will have new product innovations in the future, don’t get hung up on having the latest and greatest gear. I look back 5 years when I had a pair of Canon D30 3mp cameras, and I still think the images I captured were every bit as strong as some of the images I am shooting today. Photographs that stir the soul come from within and between your ears, and not with what is sitting on top of your tripod.”Andy Biggs
  • “Jay Maisel was once asked, “What do I need to do to create better photographs.” He replied, “Become a more interesting person.” And I concur.” Chris Orwig
  • “Take lots of pictures, be creative, push yourself but remember success in today’s market requires both talent and business savvy.” – Tom Moore
  • “Shoot for yourself, not for others. It is great when other people like what you have done but the bottom line is, if you don’t like it, why do it at all. Also, try to find yourself a good mentor who can offer advice when you need it.” – Jeff Revell
  • “Never lose sight of your dreams and no matter what job lay in front of you, give it everything you’ve got!” – Justin Seeley
  • “Experiment.” – Joey Lawrence
  • “Develop your own unique style, even if you are educated in photography. Innovation goes a long way in photography.” – Lynda Walldez
  • “Shoot constantly. Study and reverse-engineer the techniques of shooters whom you admire. Major in something other than photography to bring something external to your profession.” David Hobby
  • “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Advice, long work hours, impossible projects, and criticism… they may all be difficult at times. But in the end, they all make you stronger and better for it. ” – Matt Kloskowski
  • “Practice… oh and wear pants.” Mike McHugh
  • “Learn the basics; crawl before you try to walk, that sort of thing. Digital has made photographers of us all, but not all of us photographers. If you can’t work the camera to get the best results possible -but have to rely on the camera to tell you what to do – then your personal vision will not take place, nor be communicated effectively. A photographer has to have a clarity of vision, a passion for the craft. Be able to MAKE a picture instead of just TAKE a picture. You have to be a story teller with every shot, or the idea fails.” Clayton Spangler
  • “Try to find a striking feature of everything. Try to find feeling in what you see. Light is important, but a unique and interesting composition counts for nearly as much as light. Take a lot of pictures, but don’t be discouraged if you only get one out of a hundred that you really like. Throw away your bad pictures to keep from discouraging yourself (this has the added benefit of more hard disk space).”Amy Archer
  • “Two things. It’s not about what equipment you have but what you do with it. Also, set yourself a series of achievable goals over a timescale that is realistic for you personally.” – Mike Holley
  • “Be willing to experiment: digital photography gives us a wonderful opportunity to try things, knowing you can always delete and try again. Learn your camera well, including Manual mode, and think about how you can take advantage of your camera and Photoshop.” – Dave Cross
  • “Have Fun.”Eduardo Angel & Timothy Campbell
  • Understand that what you are creating is 2 dimensional art and then learn the basics of 2-D design. Composition, composition and composition!” – Jim Larimer
  • “The best advice I can give is probably to get out there and shoot all that you can, and never be afraid to be different and do stuff that everybody else is not doing. This means both photography wise and post-processing wise. It can be great training to try to ‘copy’ the work of photographers you admire, but the best way to get noticed is to create your own style, which can take a while, but will gradually come natural when working a lot.” – Martin Andreasen
  • “If you want to go pro, take some business classes.” – Michael Snell
  • “Forget about technique, use your eye and brain for creativity.” – Richard Vanek
  • “When you realize that photography is all about shooting in great light, whether you’re outdoors or in a studio, using natural light or flash, it changes everything. I would focus on learning that by looking at how the best in the industry use light. The best outdoor photographers only shoot at dawn and dusk. The best portrait photographers only shoot their subjects in perfect natural light (not direct sunlight). In the end, it’s all about the light, and most photographers haven’t realized that yet. So, my advice—become a light snob, and either only shoot in great light, or learn to use strobes to create great light.” – Scott Kelby
  • “Don’t work cheap. Develop your skills, have a business plan and hit the ground running.” – Bruce L. Snell
  • “Not sure who would want advice from me, but the most important thing is to shoot as often as possible, I think.” –  Paul Politis
  • “1) Follow your vision. 2) Create something everyday. 3) Fill your life with people who support you in doing those things.”Kathleen Connelly
  • “Stop with the epic splash pages.” – Aaron Johnson
  • “Try to learn from every shoot you go on. If you’re somewhere for more than one day, don’t just shoot, transfer your shots to the computer and clean your sensor. Open and process your images while taking notes as to what worked, what didn’t and create a plan for the next day. If you stop learning every day then, either you’ve stopped paying attention, or you are no longer a novice.” – Ben Willmore
  • “For fine art photographers – don’t think of yourself as a novice or a professional. Don’t do anything different as an amateur or a professional. Just follow the obsession. If you’re not obsessed – then no advice will help anyway.” – Dave Beckerman
  • “Keep your camera with you at all times, and more importantly, go out and just do it (photograph) every chance you get.” Andy Smith
  • “Observe the world around you. Really look at graphical elements in ads, commercials, websites, you name it. Pay attention to details. Be intentional about how you visually interact with the world. Don’t be discouraged by what others think as you develop your own style, but be open to constructive criticism. Learn as much as you can.” – Jason D. Moore

Click here to view a complete list of profiles.

Comments:
  • It’s really interesting to see the various individual responses and interpretations to same question in this way. Thanks for putting this together.

    Mike

    January 7, 2008 at 1:16 pm
  • Jason
    WOW! Those are some really great interviews from everyone!- Thanks for including me in your list of favorites-( and inviting me to be interviewed in the first place) I actually sounded like I knew what I was talking about-LOL

    January 7, 2008 at 5:53 pm

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