Essential skills for Photography – Skill 1


Someone recently asked me what I thought were the best skills to develop in order to improve their photography. The question is an interesting one as the answer depends on your current level of skill. Despite this I thought I would have a crack at documenting six skills that I think are pretty much essential if you want to produce great photography.

As I’m going to share my thoughts with a little explanation, or you might wonder why I have made the choices I have, I thought I would turn this into a short series of mini blog posts. As you read these you may agree or disagree with my ideas. If you have any strong feelings about a particular post please do comment as I’m really interested to hear the views of others.

So here we go…

Inspiration and Opportunity

This is the ability to tune into your inspiration and recognise the opportunities for great photography. As we go through each day we are presented with almost limitless opportunities to take great photographs. If those don’t register with us we never bother to capture the picture.

Even when we do recognise the opportunity, with so many how do we know which ones to pursue? Each time we pause to capture a photograph there is an opportunity cost to our work in that we have less time to pursue other opportunities. We therefore need to do more than just recognise the opportunities; we need to be able to distinguish a good opportunity from a great one. This requires us to have the confidence in our ability to make the decision of how best to invest our time.

One tool that can help is to understand our inspiration. What is it that we want to take pictures of? What are the specialist areas of our photographic interest? If we understand this and concentrate our efforts pursuing these, it will pay dividends. Let’s not wander aimlessly through our days snapping random photographs. Let’s be led by our inspiration to create great work.

I will introduce another skill tomorrow.

4 thoughts on “Essential skills for Photography – Skill 1

  1. Good advice Robin…

    I’ve found that I tend to shoot a few select types of subject matter more successfully than branching out into every type of photography. Yes I’ll admit that there all interesting, but I let those that do flash photography well do it for my viewing pleasure and I’ll shoot an old abandoned farm building or landscape for them.

    Shoot whats around you and familiar… and use the camera thats with you be it an iPhone or a DSLR, as it’s the best camera at the moment you invasion the shot. You can always plan another outing to capture it again with your “other” camera if the opportunity presents itself.

    1. Thanks Hugh. I have to admit that whilst I tend to follow what I am inspired by I usually find there are things in the techniques from other subjects that I can borrow. I’m always interested in seeing good work. Good point also about having a camera with you. I usually forget my phone has a good camera in it.

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