Episode 113: Five lessons I wish I knew sooner

Written by Daniel Gregory

I am a Whidbey Island, Wa based fine-art photographer and photographic educator. I am a core faculty member of the Photographic Center Northwest, as well as an instructor for CreateLive and KeblyOne . I also regularly presents at regional and national conferences. I also the host of the weekly podcast The Perceptive Photographer which focuses on the challenges and day-to-day aspects of living as a photographer.

May 8, 2017

After reviewing some old notes, I came across a list of things I wish I knew earlier in my photography. That old list got me thinking about what I could tell my past self-based on what I know today. Most of the list is pretty simple, but I think I would have liked to know about these things sooner than later.

  1. You will need a lot of skills to be a photographer.
    I started off a film photographer. I had no idea how much digital processing I would need to learn. I had to figure out and learn so much about digital printing, editing, and storage. I also had to know all sorts of business things to run a photographic business. Things like accounting, invoicing, and contracts are all just parts of the business side of photography that I wish I knew I needed earlier. I might have paid more attention in class and business to those areas.
  2. Learn how to see and understand tone and color.
    There is a lot to learn about how color impacts a photograph. I don’t think it is enough to know just how to correct for a color. I believe you need to be able to see and understand how color impacts our understanding. Learning to see blues, greens and magentas can make a huge difference in our ability to create work that we love verse work that is just technically accurate.
  3. Can’t learn enough about the subject. The more you know about the thing in front of your camera, the better the photograph will be. It doesn’t matter if it is a person, place or thing. Getting to know as much as you can about the subject will let you connect in a meaningful way to the subject. That connection will make for a more meaningful photograph.
  4. There will be days. Some days just don’t work out the way you want. The key is perseverance. Sticking with the process and the creativity will ultimately be the greatest reward.
  5. Doing what you love will make less be more. If you are doing what you love to do, you will find that you need less stuff because the creative process is more fulfilling than having things.

Don’t forget to check out my 2017 Workshops including the Perceptive Photographer Workshop focused on the intersection side of photography.

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