The greatest photographers in the world are those that understand the three “C’s” of being a professional photographer, comprehension, communication and creativity. While you’ll often hear the statement, “The difference between an amateur and a pro photographer is the pro never shows you his bad photos,” that’s more myth than fact, though practiced by some.

Let’s look at the first fact, comprehension. A photographer today not only needs to comprehend how his equipment works, i.e., the difference between an F/stop and a bus stop, but how his market, client and even audience functions.

While understanding your equipment is core to this first fact, especially knowing white-balance, lens choices, aperture and shutter-speed settings and all the gizmos cameras come with today like image stabilizers and matrix metering, comprehension has evolved to peripheral levels. Comprehending your market, its demographics including buying power and the intended audience is also important to you and your client. There are so many research tools available that there is no reason to fail in this category.

With Internet forums, support groups, web sites, manufacturer sites, search engines, etc., the information is always available, but also be careful, not everything on the Internet is correct. I once “Google’d” a client as we spoke on the phone, in that case the info was correct and I was able to cater easily to her needs and her publisher’s requirements.

The second fact of being a successful, professional photographer is communication. It’s often said communication, miscommunication or lack of communication is the root of all problems—this is something I truly believe in and have experienced first-hand. As a State of Texas Certified Mediator, I can tell you, communication is always the root of all civil disputes. Proper communication not only allows you direct a model into a proper pose, but to build rapport with her and to achieve her intended look in an image.

Ultimately the final image is a form of visual communication that will provide a story in an image to your subject’s intended audience. Just the lighting, dramatic verses flat, can change the mood of an image. The pose will do the same as posing is a form of body language.

Finally, the third fact of being a professional photographer, creativity is one that will always be argued, some are born with it, some are not, can it be taught? No one really knows the latter from a 100-percent standpoint, but I do believe fundamentals, principals and concepts of photography, art, graphic design and any artistic genre is teachable to those with passion. Those without the passion will learn less.

Creativity is strong in some and weak and others, but if the art/craft is continuously practiced, it will gain straight through reinforcement. Eventually the three C’s are obtainable if one strives passionately toward anchoring them in their photographic career and those that have achieved them as professional photographers, well let’s just say they rarely take bad pictures and always show you great photographs. Thanks, rg sends!

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