The most professional and very successful photographers that I have worked with during my own twenty-year professional creative career have all shared certain character traits. By developing these traits yourself, you can fast-track your own photography career development.
1. The ideal ‘Perfect Photographer’ needs to have a powerhouse work ethic. They accomplish things in a day that ordinary mortals take weeks to do. They seem unstoppable. They know their time is valuable – irreplaceable actually – and don’t waste it watching TV or on Yahoo Messenger.
2. The Perfect Photographer is very easy to get along with, has great people skills, an excellent sense of humor and people naturally like working with them.
3. The Perfect Photographer is genuinely curious, interested and fascinated by their craft and loves innovation and inspiration from any source – a beginner or otherwise.
4. The Perfect Photographer maintains composure in stressful situations where others flounder and lose control of the situation and possibly themselves. In this sense, the Perfect Photographer inspires trust, confidence and belief because they are unflappable and unfazed by almost anything.
5. The Perfect Photographer is always experimenting with new approaches, new tricks, new lenses, new software etc. In short, they don’t become cynical, bored, lazy or complacent with their skill level and are always enthusiastic and eager to find out cool new stuff.
6. The Perfect Photographer has clarity and knows precisely what they are aiming for at the final stage of output, e.g. a giant billboard poster, at the earliest stages of input e.g. conceptual planning. Small modifications early on in a project can have absolutely massive implications for a project later. The Perfect Photographer is always aware of this and is flexibly adapting, responding and problem-solving at each stage with the optimum later final output always in mind.
7. The Perfect Photographer is completely generous and recognizes the fundamental importance of humbly giving back some of their accumulated wisdom, experience or even money. They are a giver, not a taker.
8. The Perfect Photographer knows how to say ‘no’ politely. It does not matter who the ‘no’ is to, they are excellent at doing it in an inclusive and polite way that actually makes the other party respect her or him more, instead of less.
9. The Perfect Photographer has integrity and can be depended on, no matter what. If the Perfect Photographer says that they will deliver something, they will. If they genuinely cannot due to unforeseen problems, they communicate constantly with the person that they have made the commitment to so that the situation is crystal clear to everyone involved.
10. They are not at all egotistical and are motivated by their humble love of the process, the craft, the art, the science, of what they do. They are not interested in fame (but know how to promote their work to maximum effect) or extravagant wealth (but get paid a fortune) but instead feel like a ‘servant’ to the art of photography – if that is not too corny.
Now, which of these qualities do you have and which do you need to develop (a lot?) more.