I wouldn’t consider myself an extremely patient person. But put a camera in my hand with the potential for a great sunset or beautiful night sky and I become the most patient person you’ve ever met.
I’m a pretty quiet guy. I keep to myself and I’m not terribly extroverted, some would even say shy. That all changes when I’m shooting. I’m all over the place and no one would guess that extroversion is not natural for me.
These are two basic examples that illustrate something I’ve realized much more over the past few years as I’ve embraced photography as a major passion in my life. I have one goal when a camera is in my grip: to make a great image. The camera enables me to be anything and everything that I need to be to create those great images. In a sense it compels me to create the art that it wants to see.
Every niche of photography requires a very specific set of characteristics from the photographer. A wildlife photographer has to be patient beyond comprehension. They need to be able to sit for days, hidden from view, to get the shot that gets published in National Geographic. The fashion photographer must make instant connections with their models and must know how to elicit the appropriate stylistic, emotional, and physical responses without so much as breaking a sweat. Portrait photographers succeed when their subjects are most natural, vulnerable, and honest. It is their lot in life to coax the turtle from the shell day after day. There is just as much technical skill involved as there is personal development and emotional intelligence.
The result of my love for photography has been that I have been able to develop as a person and learn about myself constantly. These are a few of the things that being a shutterbug has taught me that also apply to every day life:
- The camera is not forgiving. It gives exactly as it receives. If it is mistreated then it will mistreat you.
- If I miss the shot then that’s a shame. If I don’t prepare for the shot then I should rethink why I’m shooting.
- Photography isn’t about how the world is seen but how you want the world to be seen.
- The instant you stop chasing the light is the instant that you start to give up.
- You are never in total control. You must take the light, scene, and subject that you are given and create the most interesting composition from that.
- You can close your eyes and pull the trigger a thousand times and get 1 good shot or you can pay attention and pull the trigger a thousand times and get a thousand good shots.
- You have to be your own worst critic. Keep your ego at bay and you’ll love what you do for the sake of doing it rather than what other people think of it.
- It’s not about the equipment you used but the result you achieved.
- If the story it tells is riveting it will be remembered.
- Don’t over-think it. Just go with your gut instinct — it’s usually right.