When I first started out in Photography I thought I had to have the biggest and newest equipment on the market. I’ll be the first to tell you, you don’t! There are only three things that you must have to be a successful photographer, or anything else for that matter; Passion, Knowledge and Support.
Passion. Webster’s defines passion as a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept. Photography is what I think about when I wake and, many times, the last thing I think about before I fall asleep. Just like in any good thing in your life, you must have passion. Without it, you might as well be sitting on the side lines, watching your life instead of living it. Your passion for
photography should drive you to want more.
It should drive you to try to get the best images possible.
Without it, you will have a very hard time becoming a professional nature photographer.
Another “must have” is knowledge. We all lead hectic lives. Who has time to go to school? Who can afford school?? Luckily, we have one of the greatest tools at our fingertips. The internet. Sometimes progress is a good thing! One of the first things I did when Tracy and I returned from Tennessee was get on the internet and learn as much as I could about photography. I spent hours upon hours reading every article I could find on Nature and Wildlife Photography. I can attribute nearly all my education (so far!) to the internet, magazines or field manuals. Knowledge is power. Knowledge of photography is what will elevate you to the next level. Knowledge is what makes you strong, in any endeavor. Tracy grew up in a library and she is always saying you can learn just about anything from a book. Remember, knowledge is power. Never stop seeking knowledge.
The final “must have” is a good support group. I know for a fact that I would not have gotten this far without the support of my family and friends. My wife, Tracy, has always encouraged me to move forward with this career. Even when she’s sick and tired of listening to me talk (she calls it yammering) about Nature Photography, she is always encouraging. I have amazing friends too. I have lost count of all the pictures I’ve emailed, asking for opinions, but it’s been a lot. You will be surprised how a little encouragement and support will lift your spirits and keep the passion burning. Another great support system is an online forum or photography group. I’ve had the privilege to meet so many talented photographers, from California to Crete. When I first started posting pictures, I received great suggestions and, some much needed constructive criticism. I have to admit, sometimes the critiques stung. Just remember, it’s all for the best and try not to take it too personally. There are critics that know what they are talking about, and then there are just critics. You got to take the good with the bad!
I can not stress enough that in Nature photography, or any career you choose, if you have passion, you continue your education, and you have a strong support group, you stand a good chance for success. Please keep in mind that your success can only be measured by you. Maybe taking beautiful pictures for the sole enjoyment of you and your family is how you measure success. Just having that moment of bliss as the sun comes up when you find your perfect shot is all you need to feel successful. I feel a bit of success every time my images are tack sharp.
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Until next time, keep the sun behind you and the birds in view David