There's More to Being a Good Photographer Than Talent

There's a tendency in photography (or any creative field) to look at the people who are naturally talented and envy the seemingly effortless ease with which they produce great work, thinking that you'll simply never be as good as them. That's definitely not the case, and this great video explores why talent is sometimes an overrated commodity.

Coming to you from Manny Ortiz, this video examines a topic I think is of particular importance for those just starting out. Having gone to a music conservatory for a half-decade now, one thing I've learned is that hard work and perseverance determine a lot more about a person's success than raw talent. That's not to say talent doesn't help, but trying to ride it through to success without putting in the requisite hours rarely leads to accomplishment. And yet, those who may not be prodigies but put in the time to learn and practice often become the professionals. So, spend less time comparing yourself to others and more time learning and honing your craft. Practice, practice, then practice some more. And just so you know: the people that make it look effortless likely spent years working their butts off to get to the point where it looks easy for them.

[via Manny Ortiz]

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4 Comments

David Penner's picture

I think photography everyone is more at a level playing field. The only people that have a big disadvantage are people that are color blind. Other then that it is just go out and shoot as often as possible and keep on learning. Some people it will click quicker but with enough time most people could be a world class photographer.

Motti Bembaron's picture

This might be true when doing landscape and wild life. However, it takes much more than just shooting when photographing people. Much more.

David Penner's picture

It still comes down to practice. Nobody picks up a camera and a flash and takes good portraits right away. Same thing with post processing. Its all about learning. The only time I could see there being an issue is if you have social anxiety but even that is something you can learn to deal with.
Im not saying everyone is on an equal playing field but its not like sports where certain traits that you are born with will give you a huge advantage.

As a side note Id say wildlife photography is actually the most difficult out of all of them. Going to the same spot every day and not moving for hours at a time as to not scare away the animals takes a special type of person. The mental part of possibly taking days or weeks to get a single shot is definetly not for everyone. I could go on Instagram and find a dozen "models" willing to keep on doing photoshoots to learn without spending a dime. The cost of entry for wildlife photography is also insane.

Motti Bembaron's picture

I do not particularly envy wild life, or landscape photographers. You need lots of patient. However, when it comes to people the challenges are different - except patient, that is a requirement also.

Of course practice is everything but if you don't have a good way with people you will find yourself with no one in front of your camera.

And by the way, good luck finding "dozens" of willing models. Ask any photographer of the nightmares they had with "willing" models that never show up or show up unprepared or show up only for you to discover the real person is not the same one in the photos lol. It is not that easy, trust me.

Regardless, every genre has its challenges and everyone has their preference. My brother in law hates taking people photos but love lying there taking photos of birds and other wild creatures. On his vacations he lugs a DSLR with 24-70 (the heavy f/2.8 one). I carry my phone. I like landscape photography but not particularity good at it. The only wild life I photograph are my cats.

However, I disagree with the author. Talent is important, it is just many of us have less than others. There are photographers out there that create stunning photos. They have an eye and a natural feel for it. Most of us have to practice and get better as we go, some just seem to do it with so much more ease. Cheers