The Number One Strategy For Becoming A Top Photographer

(Last Updated On: January 7, 2016)


Photo by Rosh Sillars (who, like many photographers, continually attempts to improve the quality of his photography)
Photo by Rosh Sillars (who, like many photographers, continually attempts to improve his photography)

How to become a top photographer

Everyone wants to know what you need to do to make a living or become one of the top photographers. What do the elite photographers do? You may love or hate the answer, however, it is the most common thread among the best and most famous photographers in history.

What is a top photographer? Honestly, that depends on who you ask. Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Steve McCurry, Terry Richardson or the most well-known photographer in your community. Chances are they all have this one thing in common.

Understanding your equipment is good. Having a few tricks up your sleeve is nice in a difficult situation. In the is photography an art or mechanical process debate, I lean toward art. Art is about the decisions you make and so is photography. Equipment is part of the decision-making process, however, you can create a camera out of a cardboard box. Equipment is fun, unfortunately, it’s not the essence or secret of becoming a great photographer.

Business is important. Understanding business will give you an edge over your competitors. Although many famous photographers are media savvy and have marketing skills; it’s not the one thing photographers need to become one of the best and make a living.

Lighting is important. Photography is about light. Understanding light does give you an edge when it comes to creating great images. If you don’t get light, you truly don’t get photography. Still, this is not the one thing.

Ahh, composition. As basic as the concept of composition is to photography, it’s often an overlooked skill. Photographers seem to spend more time working on understanding exposure, what lens to use and Photoshop fixes than developing their composition skills. Composition is undervalued, but it’s not the key.

The secret to becoming the best in any industry, in my opinion, is the same. You must have experience. Not everyone needs the same amount of experience. However, the more problems you solve during the development of your skill and style, the stronger you are at your craft.

If you wish to move beyond hardly keeping up with your competition and become a leader in your creative field — you can’t stop creating. Educate yourself regularly. You must evolve.

To be one of the top photographers you must photograph; often; everyday. 

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