Here’s an interesting question: how long does it take to become good at photography? It sure is a broad term, but let’s speak about getting good enough to be hired to shoot a commercial campaign. In this video, Scott Choucino discusses this topic and challenges some common beliefs, so let’s see if you agree.
There’s a so-called “10,000-hour rule,” implying that you need to do something for 10,000 hours to get good at it. But can it be applied to photography? According to Scott – no, it cannot. With photography, you need 10,000 hours to master lighting, 10,000 more for composition, and the same goes for other major aspects of photography. Also, there are 10,000 hours of learning the theory, not just of taking photos. In other words, there are many thousands of hours and many years to become a good photographer. But how many exactly?
Well, Scott believes that it should take probably ten years to become a good photographer, assuming that you’re dedicated to it 5-7 hours a day, almost every day in a week. You may now think, “but I’m awesome after six months!” Well… You might want to read this.
But just because it could take you ten or so years to become great at photography, it doesn’t mean you can’t start earning money from it sooner. I don’t know many photographers who spent a decade perfecting their skill and then started making a living out of it. This is more about reaching a very high stage of your work.
At this stage, you should know what you don’t know. If you’re still not quite pleased with your work, you should know exactly what you need to learn to improve it. And you should always think about when was the last time you did and learned something new. Constantly learning and improving is what we should aim for, and it goes for all stages of our progress, not just after ten years.
Personally, I’ve been into photography for over a decade, but it has always been only a hobby. Therefore, I’m miles away from being a great photographer, although I have significantly improved since I started. But I can confirm that it takes at least 10,000 hours of dedication to become good at something (in my case, it’s writing), and even then, there will be plenty of room for improvement.
Have you reached the stage where you’re almost completely pleased with your work? How long has it taken you to become great at photography?