Friday, April 5, 2013

Two Essentials To Becoming A Professional Photographer (The Moment)

Summer Mow - Tehachapi, California
I watched a sneak peak episode of USA Network's The Moment last night. If you are not familiar, the television show gives a selected person a second chance at achieving their dream career. In the episode that I viewed, a man dreamed of being a professional competitive sailor, something he had wanted to do since his youth. But running his late-father's business had prevented him from achieving his dream.

While this episode had nothing to do with photography (a future episode will feature someone who's dream is to become a professional photographer), I did realize a truth about photography. I've known this for a while, but I've never really known how to put it into simple words. The truth is this: if your dream is to become a professional photographer, there are two essentials that you must possess.
Journey Into Imagination - Arvin, California
First, to become a professional photographer you must have photographic vision. My definition of vision is a vivid and imaginative conception. If you cannot use your unique imagination to create photographs, you have no hope of becoming a professional photographer. Thankfully, vision is simply putting creativity into action, so it can be fostered with practice.

Second, to become a professional photographer you must have determination. Thomas Edison said, "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." Vision is the 1%. Hard work, trying-failing-trying-again, never giving up, putting in hours and hours without compensation, continuously pushing oneself to be just a little bit better--those things are the 99%. Very rarely does a professional photographer gig just fall into someone's lap. Most people worked very hard to land their photography job. If you are not willing to put in the 99% perspiration, you are not likely going to achieve your dream.
My Heart Or My Grave? - Tehachapi, California
Notice how I mentioned nothing about cameras, lenses, software or schooling. This may sound funny, but those things are not essential to becoming a professional photographer. You must have a way to capture images, but beyond that it is up to the photographer to determine what he or she needs to achieve their vision. Usually it is not nearly as much as conventional wisdom would state.

In order to become a professional photographer you must possess the two essentials of vision and determination. That is what's important, and nothing else.

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