What advice would I give a photographer just starting out? I truly believe there are three elements one must consider when starting out as a serious photographer.
It is vital that an education of the craft should be highly considered. Education is ongoing. If you can learn something new from each convention or program you attend or simply from thumbing through magazines, wonderful!! I also stress to my attendees in my programs, “when you are ready to learn, your teacher will appear.” What this means is that if one is truly serious about photography, locating the ideal mentor is important. By doing so, your mentor will teach you his/her style of photography as well as enhancing your strengths and correcting your weaknesses. My mentors were Rocky Gunn and Al Gilbert. They both were the “masters” of lighting and posing. Over time, they both taught me these two important aspects in order to make the subjects not look good but great.
The second element is posing and lighting. Again, these are two skills that cannot be mastered overnight, but through time, practice, more practice, and lots of practice. These are skills that must be patiently understood so your subjects will look timeless in your photographs.
The final element is passion. You must love what you do. Once you realize that you love what you do, photography is not work but passion and joy!
Hanson's advice couldn't be more dead-on. Just passion for the craft without attention to building your skill set and building relationships with some great teachers isn't enough. Hanson is a prime example of a great photographer who worked hard to become one of the very best artists in the world as well as one of the most passionate. Follow Hanson's work in his website galleries and stay on top of his workshop schedule as well, with a click on the link below.
Images copyright Hanson Fong. All rights reserved.