Summary: <start sarcasm here>This article is a shining example of the power of a Top 10 ways to become a professional photographer. The steps are easy, hot, sexy and so much fun you will tell all your friends you know more than they ever will.<mostly end sarcasm here>
I was recently reading some blogs from my Feedly account with all sorts of advice on how to become a professional photographer, better photographer, HDR photographer, wedding photographer, small watercraft rodent propelled photographer. I could go on and on with topics, titles and phrases, but in the end they all had one thing in common. None of them actually had anything that actually would make you a better photographer. They all had things to do and try, but not ultimately the actual list of things that makes you really better.
Sure there were tips for cleaning cameras, posing people, using LAB luminosity layers for black and white conversions, and selecting the right camera/lens/light/strobe/location/bar/glass/dress/makeup for the job. There were tips for using presets and actions to speed the workflow. Ideas such as using filters to change the scene, using prime lenses vs zooms to maximize creativity. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH
It was driving me crazy. I mean what was my issue was with all this chatter. It’s not that it wasn’t accurate. It was in many cases interesting tips and ticks. It often times had value. It turns out that they just forgot to answer the actual question of becoming a better photographer. The answer to being a better photographer is found on the back of the shampoo bottle, albeit with a slight twist. The only list you need to being a better photographer is shoot, edit, print and repeat. It is a Top 4 list.
Ironically this is the same process as most things in life that you want to get good at. Forget Gladwell’s 10,000 hours, it is these same four steps. Wanna be better at playing the piano: practice, play, perform, and repeat. Want to learn to ride a skateboard: ride, crash, get up, and repeat. Want to speak Spanish: speak, listen, speak, and repeat. The model is pretty simple.
Why is this a problem?
I think the reason that we don’t like the practice model (what I like to call my top 4 list) is because practicing is not something adults like to do. It is something we avoid doing because we EXPECT to be able to do anything we pick up as if we have spent a lifetime of work on the craft. Never played the guitar. Guess what you suck at playing a guitar the first few thousand times you pick it up. Even Jimi and Eric claimed to have practiced a time or two before actually recording a record. Expect to be able to be good at using a camera everyday. Expect to improve in the craft. Then it is less list reading and more shooting.
It did occur to me as I was writing this mostly as reminder of what I am supposed to be doing everyday (shoot, edit, print, repeat) to get better at my art and craft, that Top 10 list are way more sexy than Top 4. So I think my Top 10 List of advice would I give someone who was looking to quickly get a jump on some mad photography skills would be as follows. Drum roll please.
Top 10 Ways to Become a Professional Photographer
So there it is in a nutshell. My top ten advice list on how to become an amazing photographer. I know not as sexy as using individual channels in Tone Curves within Lightroom to color correct an image, but that information is best saved for my next video. I mean you can’t have steps 3 and 8 and not improve on color correcting your images. More to come on that topic…..