A Perspective: What Makes a Great Photographer
Mottis is about to begin a shoot with a new photographer.
As we’re gearing up to direct the shoot, I thought I would pause and reflect back on the qualities of some of the best photographers I’ve encountered over the years. I’ve found the greats all share some key qualities. In my observation, these shared qualities are what produce great work.
Great photographers have a collaborative nature. They want to hear your thoughts and in turn will take direction incredibly well. They love it when you see an angle on a shot that they don’t or have an idea for a shot that they didn’t think about. They view direction as a must for the work to be great. They see the potential in partnership and believe that working as a team will make the work stronger.
Great photographers are visionary. Sometimes it’s the details. Sometimes it’s the forest for the trees, but they always know the right direction to take. It’s a sixth sense in a way. There’s an ability to see beyond the shot that is directly in front of them. Maybe its something they see happening in post or maybe it’s just a keen sense of knowing there’s a different way of capturing a shot.
They all have a sense of quiet leadership. It’s not loud. Well, maybe sometimes. But every great photographer I’ve worked with has been able to provide a steady lead to the crew.
The best photographers have an energy about them that is infectious. It makes you want to be around them. It makes you want to come to set everyday and makes the day go by without a glance, even when the day is tough. It creates excellent chemistry. It’s what makes everyone a little sad when the shoot is over.
I feel fortunate to have worked with some exceptional photographers. I’ve been on long photo shoots and short ones, but all of these qualities hold true for each of the greats that I’ve worked with. Here’s to the man or woman behind the lens!