…a good photographer and a great photographer?
Well there are many answers to this. I guess it depends on where in the creative cog you fit. For me there are two answers, and they are based purely on my personal experiences over the last few years.
One, the speed at which the photographer works. I’ve noticed great photographers work very fast. They know what they want, and they go in for the kill. A great photographer knows when to stop. He’s taken the money shot. Job done. Why take more? If your editorial only requires 8 shots, why take 108? A good photographer may be able to achieve 4 looks in a session. A great photographer will double that, dependent in all cases on styling, hair and make up adjustments.
Two, the post edit fiasco. There’s nothing more likely to make my heart sink than a photographer who sends me a lot of post edits to choose from. Especially when they’ve got no intention of letting me have my final choices anyway (you all know who you are). Please don’t send me 900 images to pick my favourites from. If I pick a really shit picture are you going to edit it for me and put your logo on it? Not if you’re a great photographer you won’t. You see, a great photographer won’t send you that many pictures. He already knows which are the best ones.
Before I see anything, the list will have been whittled down to the final choices he or she would be happy to have his brand associated with. Then they’ll pop them over for a final check with the team players to make sure nothing’s been missed. The photographer looks for great editorial, the designer for clear images of the product and the MUA/HA needs a good clear shot of their handiwork.
We all want images that are going to be good for our brand but we all have a slightly different agenda. Hobbyists are looking for creative gratification on their level. Professionals are looking for the shot that pushes them one more step up the ladder.
I’m not down on anyone who isn’t aiming for that top rung and I’m happy to work with anyone who puts the effort into their work. We all have to start somewhere and the learning curve takes as long as it takes. But if your aspirations are to turn this into a career move, you need to be efficient, clean, quick, confident and know what you want.