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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 20 Jan 2013 (Sunday) 08:34
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What makes a good photographer good?

 
Tom ­ Reichner
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Jan 20, 2013 15:39 |  #16

dharrisphotog wrote in post #15512386 (external link)
consistency.

Hmmm. I know many photographers who are very consistent. But I don't think they would be considered "good" by anyone.


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TooManyShots
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Jan 20, 2013 15:56 |  #17
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Tom Reichner wrote in post #15512730 (external link)
Hmmm. I know many photographers who are very consistent. But I don't think they would be considered "good" by anyone.


You can be consistently bad.....:lol:


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Jan 20, 2013 16:42 |  #18

I'd say these two remarks could tie things together quite well!

Miki G wrote in post #15511279 (external link)
I have often heard people referring to certain photographers as being "A good photographer" & have wondered, what is it that makes a photographer become a good photographer? Is it their ability to get a good shot consistantly rather than occassionally? Is it their ability to see a good photograph where the rest of us walk past it without noticing? Is it their mastery of their equipment? Could it even be their compositional skills? and maybe it's a combination of all of the above.
I know that it might also be our own evaluation as to what is good or bad, but I would like to hear opinions on what you think makes a good photographer.

SkipD wrote in post #15511313 (external link)
In my opinion, it's definitely a combination of all the above and then some.

The one really important thing you missed, though, is the ability to creatively see, use, and (when necessary) control lighting of the scene being photographed. Photography is all about lighting and getting the lighting right is crucial to "good" photography.

I should say, though, that I've seen some pretty impressive work by people who have not "mastered" their equipment, but who have the "eye" for light, composition/subject matter, all stuff that can make photos "stand out" even if they don't know the first thing about things like the aperture, shutter speed or ISO settings!

And then, I've had peopl occasionally tell me that the "love" (or at least like) my work, it always, well, takes me aback, especially when this comes from not just photographers but actual artists...and I don't refer to myself as a "good photographer", just a guy with a camera!


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sjones
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Jan 20, 2013 16:53 as a reply to  @ tonylong's post |  #19

As other folks have mentioned, it's a fluctuating combination of elements: the use of lighting, composition, illumination, contrast, shadow, tones, timing, colors, shapes, lines, and movement to create a compelling image.

Another factor is the ability to offer a unique perspective, whereby just the subtlest twist on the norm can establish a signature look.

The subject matter can be mundane; it's the aesthetic presentation that matters. As for 'good photographer,' this is where the consistency comes into play, assuming, of course, that what is consistently produced is good.

Technical perfection is not necessary, and no amount of expensive equipment can compensate for deficient vision.

Much of this is subjective, but it gets even more transcendental when you throw in the somewhat amorphous concepts of heart, gut, or soul.

Whatever it is; it ain't easy.


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jan 20, 2013 17:54 |  #20

What make a "good photographer". Someone inserting the word "good" before "photographer".

I find it to be a pretty much meaningless phrase in the same way that when someone has a wedding photographer shoot their wedding then says they are the "best photographer".

With no point of reference as to what they are being compared to the phrases are entirely down to being one person's point of view.

A "good photographer" in another photographer's eyes may be one who has won awards for their photographs. A "good photographer" to the general public may be someone who shot their pet snail last week.


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benji25
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Jan 20, 2013 18:27 |  #21

It is hard to be "good" at anything artistic as "good" is determined by the eyes of the person experiencing said art. Some people call Rap good music, some people hate it. Some people call the Mona Lisa beautiful while some cringe when seeing it.

The same goes for photography. Someone could take a brilliant landscape photo but to a person who sees it in person every day or to someone that dislikes nature it would not be appealing to them.

You can't even do it by objective settings like exposure, shutter speed, ISO etc. Sure some photographers could say another person's shot is "underexposed" but some people may think it adds to the emotion/overall effect of the photo. They could also say "you should have cropped tighter" but once again, that is there opinion and for whatever reason some other person may like the increased view or the surroundings. Just take a gander at the critiquing sections and you will often see one person say one thing, and in the next post the person says the exact opposite. Keep in mind though that at the extremes there is good and bad, right and wrong. If I am shooting a wide receiver going up for a catch but literally nothing is in focus so much that you can't tell what is going on, that is not a good photo. Or an over exposed image that is so white nothing shows up, well that is a bad photo.

So that leads to an objectively "good" photographer being a person who can portray the image the way they want. A good photographer is one that can use the equipment available to them to produce the image they want the way they want. Everything else is in the eye of the viewer.


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Jan 20, 2013 19:01 as a reply to  @ benji25's post |  #22

I find that too many photographers are obsessed with composition. Yes, it's an important element, but a well composed shot of nothing, leaves me uninspired. I find light to be more important than composition, but obviously all aspects (composition, light, subject matter, lines, texture, color, contrast, focus, appropriate DoF, and even sharpness...within reason) together create a good/great shot.

Also, a photo with an explanation can have a big effect on your opinion of a picture. Sometimes a story is told/conveyed by the image, but it's not fully understood what it represents.


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Jan 20, 2013 20:45 as a reply to  @ 1Tanker's post |  #23

As the OP noted, the reference point is you. We can throw up the shield of subjectivity to eliminate any objective notion of good or bad, and that's fine for argument, but all of us have a sense of what we think is good or not. So the question remains, what factors affect your opinion; if you seek self-improvement, how do you assess your work in relation to that which you aspire? What is it in a photograph that gets your attention?


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tonylong
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Jan 21, 2013 01:30 |  #24

Well, this thread keeps popping up, and it kind of stimulates some thinking, oh well...

So, maybe I'll just tell a couple stories...

One day back in 2008 I was out shooting some wildlife stuff with my son. I equipped him with my trusty ol' 30D fitted with the 100-400 lens, and spent some time instructing him but then we encountered some opsprey and so I concentrated on getting him good compositions, and then catching them in flight. He did his best, with very "hit-or-miss" results.

Anyway I had put both his and my shots out on the Web then moved on. But then, out of the blue, a representative of a government agency got in touch with me, asking if they could "publish" one of my shots as part of an online program for wildlife preservation, saying that in particular one of the shots was "representative" of what they were seeking to present...

I looked at the shot, and hey, it was one taken by my son, out of many, and in fact it was "lousy" as far as technical quality, although it did reflect our "vision" for what we were doing together...

Well, was he for that day a "good photographer", or did we just happen on a cool scene, subjects that "resonated" with a good audience? Hmm I dunno how to sort such things...

A while ago an old friend got in touch me via Facebook. She said she "loved my photography" and wondered if she could use some shots to publish in her Church bulletin. I was sure, why not? I don't know what stuff she used, although I've done some "church architecture" photography...whether that makes me a "good photographer", hmm, I dunno...although I doubt she was publishing "glamor and nudity stuff" (Joke:))!

And then, last summer, I hooked up with a non-profit local organization which promotes "Downtown" businesses and events and such. I did some shooting for them, and they were quite happy, and then I got the comment "Tony, your camera caught some great stuff":)! Does that mean I was being a good photographer? Hmm...!

It's funny, because my fondness is for scenic/landscape, fine art, and wildlife...although I do try to take things like light and some bitty sense of composition seriously...

Well, hey, I've told my stories, feel free to check out this collection for that association (the comment is at the bottom) and let me know what you thing: did "Tony, your camera caught some great stuff" fit? And, at the bottom line, what constitutes "good photography"?:):

http://www.pbase.com …6_2012_vancouve​r_festival (external link)


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Clean ­ Gene
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Jan 24, 2013 01:56 |  #25

flashpoint99 wrote in post #15511928 (external link)
My friend Christine doesn't know the first thing about her camera....seriously. She shoots with a rebel t3I on full auto. She just sold a collection of building landscape photos printed, framed and mounted to a downtown law firm for 10k. Her photos are beautiful. She has an amazing eye. Its not always what you know, sometimes its what you see and your ability to compose the shot.

I'd like to comment on this...I'd say that a good photographer is a photographer who makes good photographs. That's it.

Sure, it definitely helps if one can make good photographs consistently rather than occasionally. But it's at least theoretically possible for someone to compensate for that by doing a lot more work and showing a lot less work.

Same thing with some of the other things that were mentioned. It certainly helps to be versatile, but it's theoretically possible for one to specialize in a certain photographic niche and get damn good at that one specific thing that he/she does.

The bottom line is that I think a good photographer is judged by their work. If they're only showing good work, and they aren't a liability due to them failing to show work, then the work is all we have to judge them on. If that work is good, then I'd call that a good photographer.




  
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Jan 24, 2013 06:09 |  #26

Clean Gene wrote in post #15527100 (external link)
....Sure, it definitely helps if one can make good photographs consistently rather than occasionally. But it's at least theoretically possible for someone to compensate for that by doing a lot more work and showing a lot less work....

Yes, to clarify, I would base consistency on the quality of work presented, not keeper rates. After all, editing is an integral part of the process.


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PhotosGuy
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Jan 24, 2013 09:14 |  #27

First, get A shot "in the can". Then, if there's time, work to get THE shot.
And there are somethings that just come naturally to some people. See post #23: A "good eye" for photography?


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Jan 24, 2013 12:21 as a reply to  @ PhotosGuy's post |  #28

If person takes picture and this picture has positive comments from irrelevant people, the person who took picture is good photographer.


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Jan 24, 2013 13:14 |  #29

A "good" photographer is not limited by ones' gear, but rather by ones' self. Give a good photographer any camera and a decent lens, good things will happen :)


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Jimconnerphoto
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Jan 24, 2013 13:42 |  #30

IMO many of the comments in this thread represent a definition of a good photograph and not necessarily how I define a good photographer.

I believe a good photographer is one who knows all the rules but occasionally breaks them with intention on telling a story or causing a reaction.

An image that exhibits good technique is not always that interesting.


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What makes a good photographer good?
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