The Essential Sense of Self Awareness as a Photographer

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XT10 first impressions (14 of 15)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.0

You, yes you, have a specialty as a photographer. Maybe you’re an incredible landscape photographer that can make someone’s jaws drop wide open. On the other hand, you could be a great portrait photographer who not only creates beautiful portraits but also makes people feel great about themselves afterwards. But no matter what you do, you have a specialization.

You, yes you, as a photographer can’t do everything. Maybe you’re good at shooting portraits, candids, weddings and other photojournalistic stuff, but you’ve got an inherent weakness unless you’ve been doing this for well over 35 years. Even then, you probably can’t do everything.

So when someone asks you to shoot their wedding but you’re really a specialist in landscapes, why would you say yes?

“I’m shooting my first wedding and I’m terrified. Got any tips?”

That’s something bound to be said on Reddit or other forums often and even in emails to us. It’s cool to start out if you really want to get into it, but in general you should have a big interest in doing and shooting something before you get into it. Why? It has to do with the creative mind. As a guy who hasn’t shot weddings in years, I reject pings and requests to shoot weddings literally every day. It’s not something I do, but I totally can do it. How do I figure that?

– I used to shoot weddings.

– I still shoot events.

– I still shoot candids often and know how to get those timeless photos during the reception and ceremony.

– I shoot portraits and specialize in doing this with all body types.

But beyond that, I’m nowhere as business savvy about the modern wedding market as I was a couple of years ago. And yes–it changes that quickly.

If you have had no real previous interest in wanting to shoot a maternity session or ever looked into it, then you probably don’t have the creative mind to pose a couple, a mom, or include the right props. Reading tutorials online isn’t going to be the only thing that can help you. The absolute only thing that can make you better is experience after intensive research.

Shooting people’s most intimate and memorable moments isn’t a game. It’s work that requires a specially honed craft and almost no one gets it absolutely perfect right out of the gate. There are things from my previous photo sessions that I wish I had done differently because I learned more.

While you’re supposed to start somewhere, you should probably start just doing things for experience and with lots of research and studying of photos, compositions, etc.

And with this, self-awareness as a photographer becomes more apparent.