It is always an interesting process to go back and review old photographs. Over the past year or so I’ve reviewed tens of thousands of my images as I searched for photographs to include in various eBook projects. Throughout these image review sessions I often found myself asking the question, “What was I thinking?” as I pressed the delete key. The many hours spent in front of my computer screens reviewing old images has culminated in one, simple question. What makes us better photographers?
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Buying new camera gear can provide specific photographic capabilities that were not available to us in the past. Does a new photographic capability created by our camera gear make us better photographers?
As we use our existing camera equipment more, we have the opportunity to better understand its strengths and weaknesses. Does the opportunity for increased equipment knowledge make us better photographers?
Working with similar subject matter over time also presents us with opportunities to increase our knowledge of that specific subject matter. Is that a factor in what makes us better photographers?
What about working on our post processing skills? Is this what makes us better photographers, or is this just a related issue that is not a fundamental photographic skill?
How important are our composition skills? Can we improve them over time? Or, are we all limited by our innate abilities to see and interpret the world around us?
What role does luck play in what makes us better photographers? Is being in the right place at the right time a major determinant in our success? Can we create our own ‘luck’? Is luck when preparation meets opportunity?
What is it about a particular photographic opportunity that causes some of us to create an image, while others may ignore it? What is it that compels each of us to press the shutter release on our camera?
Ultimately is what makes us better photographers only based on skills? Does it have an attitudinal foundation? Or, is it a combination of both? Does inspiration come into play? If so, how and where do we find it?
The road to self-improvement is seldom well defined. Sometimes it may even look like we are at the end of the road. How do we unlock the gate so we can keep growing?
What has helped you become a better photographer?
All photographs in this article were captured hand-held using camera gear as per the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Collection.
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