What Makes a Good Photographer?

We all want to be better photographers, but it is not always clear how to go about that or what it is that makes for a good photographer. This interesting video essay examines the difference between good and bad photographers and just what it is we should be looking for in our own work.

Coming to you from Nigel Danson, this great video features him discussing the difference between a good and bad photographer and what he thinks made him become better when he was learning. Personally, I think the best quality any photographer (or creative) can have is a constant desire to learn and improve, never being satisfied with their work or their creative range. It is important to always work on educating yourself and furthermore, to constantly experiment. When you are working as a professional, it is especially easy to fall into producing the same style of images over and over, and if they are making you money, there is certainly nothing wrong with that, but it is important not to let your creativity atrophy as a byproduct, which is why so many professionals constantly preach the importance of personal projects. Check out the video above for Danson's full thoughts. 

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5 Comments

Robert Nurse's picture

I'm not the best photographer or even a "good" one. I do, however, love photography, imagining projects and executing them! What keeps me going is getting "that image". When I get it, I have to get more! THAT'S what drives me! I do, however, need improvement in my pre-shoot organization and preparation. Those will be my 2020 targets along with shooting much, much more!

Kevin Plovie's picture

Good luck in 2020 😉

Greg Vojtko's picture

I was a photographer for the better part of 40 years, first as a newspaper, wire service and magazine photojournalist, then a Navy Public Affairs/Corporate Comms shooter for almost a decade. I’m sitting in a bar, listening to a woman talk about family snapshots and the emotions they bring up. You want to have an impact as a photographer? If you can make pictures that evoke emotions in others, you’ve got something. All the rest is just information.

Come on! Obviously, it’s about Instagram likes (just kidding). I am still in the “I suck phase” but there are many answers to what makes a great photographer and maybe it depends on genre. I like the point you mentioned about the emotion and I am not sure enough people consider that. Great point.

Not going to disagree with you, but images as information should not be discounted for its impact. In recent years I've really gotten into video, while using some still imagery to tell each story (overland travels across North America). I have over 5,000 followers with over 850,000 views, and many positive comments from folks who plan to pursue similar travels.

I am hopeful that the impact of my videos encourages folks to protect access and prevent abuse of our public lands. The stills, videos and sounds recorded are key to that message, even if none are individually strong at evoking emotion. It's the sum of the parts, which includes voice over narration and musical selections.