The question of what separates great photographers from good photographers is something that I’ve been turning in my mind for several weeks. I don’t know if I found any profound answers, but I did come up with several generalizations that I think give some clarity to the question. I know that these won’t be true all of the time, but there is truth in these statements.
- Great photographers show fewer photographs. Sometimes perception is reality.
- Great photographers are better at promoting their work. Branding cannot be understated.
- Great photographers return to the same location, subject or concept over and over and over again, trying to create a better picture.
- Great photographers worry about emotion and storytelling, not rules.
- Great photographers have boat loads of patience to get a particular picture.
- Great photographers create their own luck by placing themselves in the right places at the right times.
- Great photographers do a lot of planning. Research is critical, especially if it’s an unfamiliar place or subject.
- Great photographers constantly work at their craft. Practice, practice, practice. Try new techniques and perfect the old ones. Know their gear intimately.
- Great photographers have a meaning to their madness. They are very deliberate.
I don’t want to go too deeply into what defines a “great” photographer. I would say that a great photographer is one who creates amazing pictures and is successful, whatever that means. My definition (which, by the way, is not something that I hold strictly onto) and your definition might be completely different. That’s perfectly alright. I think, no matter what the definition is, the generalized thoughts above will still apply, at least in part. If you want to go from being a good photographer to being a great photographer, these are things that you should strongly consider how to apply to yourself and your own photography. I’m trying to figure out how to incorporate those concepts into my own photographic ventures.