They say not to compare yourself to other photographers online. They all look like they take much better pictures than you do. And then it makes you feel bad. Right? To me, comparing my work to others is motivation. It’s inspiring, making me improve and do better. But no matter how good we might get, we’re often going to think our own stuff sucks. And, well, sometimes, maybe it does.
It could be that we’re exploring a new genre, or revisiting one we don’t shoot often. Maybe you’re an amazing portrait photographer that sucks at landscapes or wildlife. Well, here are some fantastic tips from professional wildlife and nature photographer Simon d’Entremont to help you overcome your suckiness. In fact, it’s not even really suckiness. It’s just something you haven’t learned yet.
It’s easy to band around the word “luck”, as often seem to be the case on social media when somebody posts a great looking photo. All these “lucky” photographers consistently producing amazing photographs. While there are definitely going to be times when luck plays a large part in an image’s creation, it’s definitely not the norm. Oftentimes, a lot of thought and planning has gone into creating those images. And when we look at such work, this is why they look so good.
But they are things that you can learn to do yourself, as Simon explains in the video. He covers four key points, including understanding how light works, finding the right conditions for your shot (which sometimes involves a bit of luck), the value of persistence and failure, and a little of the gear. But it’s not about having the fanciest gear, it’s about learning how to use the gear most effectively so that when you’re shooting, you’re not worrying about it. You can focus on the subject.
When you don’t have to worry about how to change this or that setting and you don’t need to keep constantly making sure that some deep menu item is set the way you need, concentrating on the image and paying attention to the composition become a lot easier. It’s like driving a car. When you first sit behind the wheel, you’re too busy thinking about the order of operations of what pedals to push, which mirrors to look in and what switches to flick. But the more you drive, the more you do a lot of those things on autopilot, letting you more easily focus on the other drivers on the road and what’s going on around you without worrying about how the vehicle works.
As I said above, there are definitely times when luck will play a large element in a particular photograph. You can’t plan for the randomness of real life. But luck is a myth, for the most part when it comes to photography, especially if you’re looking for consistency. It’s all about your approach, the planning that went into it and making sure that you know where the right place is and when the right time is so you can make sure to be there in advance.