Ongoing development as a photographer
No, I’m not talking about developing film here, I’m referring to our personal development. Time doesn’t stand still, even when the hands fall off the clock; neither should we.
While it’s tempting to think that we improve as photographers simply by practicing more, there is a real possibility that we miss opportunities for improvement, and/ or cement bad practices into our workflow. Photography, like all other specialist disciplines, requires us to integrate ongoing development into our practice.
Continuing Professional Development
In most industries this process is referred to as Continuing Professional Development, or simply CPD. With photography being a profession for some, and a hobby or pastime for millions of others, perhaps we need another term to describe the evolutionary process, but that’s a topic for a future post.
What all photographers will benefit from is CPD planning, and that should include looking at the work of others. Why do their images work? Why don’t they? Remember we don’t have to particularly like an image to admire its qualities. Think about that for a while… Perhaps the image works, but the actual subject is something we might personally shy away from.
Where to start?
The natural starting point as we try to develop is to consider attendance on courses and workshops. There is great value in this, and it’s a path that I take myself when workshops come up that fit in with my own CPD plan. I’ve been fortunate to learn from some great photographers, including double Pulitzer prize winning photojournalist Essdrass M Suarez, and Joe McNally, in face-to-face workshops. Without doubt it’s money well spent!
But which workshops should we attend? How do we find out about them? Given the current Covid situation, how are they delivered? Whose images should we review? If you check my review of David Yarrow’s book, you will quickly learn that Yarrow’s images provide great insights into the art of photography. In fact just opening the book to view one of the images is inspiring. There are of course many other great photographers whose work we can study.
To help kick-start your CPD I have put together this short list of sites for you to consider. Always remember though, that you are not obliged to take onboard the advice of others, it’s your work and creativity after all. But take a look at these sites and consider the study options and the work on display.
1. Masters of Photography
Website: Masters of Photography
Where else can you find access to the likes of Joel Meyerowtiz, David Yarrow, Albert Watson, and Steve McCurry? The courses offered here are inspirational and represent excellent value, and yes, I do speak from experience…
2. The Royal Photographic Society
FutureLearn offers a range of photography and visual arts courses, and the best part is you can enrol for free! Depending on the course you choose, you might even be provided with software such as HitFilm for budding film makers.
Don’t miss the opportunity!
4. Trade Secrets
Browse the courses and workshops on offer at Trade Secrets Live, delivered by leading photographers and digital artists. Many are offered online, so there’s no excuse to put things off any longer…
5. You're already here, of course..!
Introduce yourself, grow your network. Networking is an essential part of developing as a photographer! For a start, connect with me on LinkedIn, then actively work on growing and engaging with your network contacts.
And finally, don’t forget there is much more to photography than the taking of photographs. For those interested in the science of photography, take a look at The Manual of Photography by Allen & Triantaphillidou.