7 Things Great Photographers Do...

Here's a post that's been in my head for years. I think it's so fun to know a bit more about what's going on behind the scenes of other people's businesses... so here's a bit about what's going on behind the scenes of mine. Enjoy!  (Note - all of the images in this blog were taken during this past week's lifestyle mini sessions... yay!)

7 Things great Photographers Do...

If being an amazing family photographer was a pie, I think it may surprise a lot of people just how small the slice of knowing how a camera works would actually be. Basic photography knowledge is just the price of admission. There's so much more to it than that!

These are the things the best photographers do to create the images that stop people in their tracks:



Great photographers engage.

When we see an image that demonstrates strong emotion, it's nearly always because the photographer has facilitated it in some way. I like to consider myself a silent player in every picture. My job is to draw out an emotion so strong that you are immediately participating in it as everything else falls away. The best photographers are people-people. They know how to form a strong connection with every subject in front of his or her camera. People don't engage with cameras; they engage with photographers. 



Great photographers look for the story.

If you've come to any of my classes, you've heard me talk about this. Every photo tells a story. The moment a skilled photographer arrives on the scene, he or she begins to look for the story. What emotions are present? How do these subjects relate to one another? Why are the subjects moving/behaving/talking/connecting the way they are? The best photographers aren't passive bystanders... they're detectives on a mission. 



Great photographers are a little bit bossy. Nice, but bossy.

If you were to take your car to the shop for repairs, you'd want the mechanic to take the lead, no? I'd definitely be having second thoughts if my mechanic started asking how I thought my car should be fixed. Great photographers clearly direct their subjects. They're comfortable calling the shots because they're secure in their knowledge of photography... whether it's how to turn your head, when it's time to walk to another spot, whom to look at, what to say... all of it! A photographer who directs his or her subjects puts them at ease, because they can trust in his or her knowledge and experience. Relaxed subjects = better pictures. Simple as that.



Great photographers practice wholeheartedness.

As dreamy as it may sound (and it often is!), photography is not an easy line of work. It's highly rewarding, but as artists we have a LOT of emotional skin in the game. We photographers not only put their work out for all to see (see the definition of vulnerable here, lol); we also have to put a price on it. Some will value the art, some won't. It can be difficult for an artist to separate people's valuation of her work from their valuation of her self... if not properly managed, this can lead a photographer toward defensiveness at best, bitterness at worst. Staying "soft" is one of the biggest challenges in this profession; the very best photographers understand and accept that exposing their hearts through their photography means they are opening themselves up to emotional hurt... but they choose to be wholehearted anyway, choosing to focus on and be grateful for the opportunities they have to create and share their passion with the world.



Great photographers find inspiration in their subjects.

Another session. Another family. Another day in the life of a portrait photographer. It can be easy to fall into a rut of monotony, but that road leads to the desolate land of boredom and burnout. The best photographers intentionally and actively choose to see each subject as unique and beautiful; they look for the miraculous in the midst of the ordinary. The best photographers allow their hearts to swell with inspiration as their subjects dance, embrace, smile, connect, laugh... even cry... and they choose to fully engage in each and every session.



Great photographers won't "arrive."

I'm convinced that the moment I decide that my photography has reached perfection is the moment that marks the beginning of the end of my craft. It's like that with anything, of course, but especially with art. Art is not linear... it's a wide open field of exploration, experimentation and inspiration that can take you in any direction. There's no "arriving" with photography because there are ALWAYS more directions in which to grow! New lenses, new perspectives, new compositions, new subjects, new locations, new lighting techniques... the list is endless and one lifetime is nowhere close to enough to know and master it all. 



Great photographers love photography.

I mean... they REALLY love photography. They love it as much as they love air, food, water... even wine, hahaha. They go through life viewing the world through an imaginary rectangle, because life is a story and they are the storytellers. I often find myself in tears as I sort through the images from sessions, my heart threatening to burst into a thousand pieces at each precious interaction. Bet you didn't know that. I believe that the best photographers will always choose to open up their hearts and fall in love with their craft, again and again... because it's through this lens of love that truly incredible images emerge. ❤️


And those, my friends, are the seven things that the very best photographers will always do...