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How to Be a Good Photographer in 8 Simple Steps

Okay, a little disclaimer: This tutorial isn’t really a post about being good at photography .

I wish I could boil that down to eight simple steps — it would’ve saved me a lot of time over the past few years. But I would need about 700 pages (and a lot of coffee) to write a post like that, and there would be a lot of info missing.

So this tutorial isn’t about exposure, composition, finding your niche, or finding the light. It won’t help you become the most talented, most famous, most creative, or most expensive photographer. It’s about being a photographer but still remembering to be…well, good.

Because being good is important. Not just because Karma can be a you-know-what, but also because it’s easier to connect with your subjects when you’re a generally pleasant, positive person. It’s also good for your sanity, and sanity can be a limited resource for photographers. (I blame sleep deprivation due to 2 a.m. blog-stalking marathons. But that’s just my personal experience.)

How to Be

a Good Photographer in 8 Simple Steps

I’ll admit, I’ve probably broken these rules a few times. But overall, I think they form a pretty good game plan for being a good person who also happens to take good photographs.

1. Be good to newbies.

Assuming you weren’t born with a camera in your hand and an innate knowledge of white balance, you were new once. I was new twice — once when I learned on film, and again when I switched to digital and got my hands on Photoshop for the first time. Luckily, there were always people patient enough to push me over the learning curve. Someone probably helped you, too, or at least pointed you in the right direction. Go back to that place, whether it’s a college, a community center, or an online forum. Find someone who just had an epiphany that they want to be a photographer. And instead of heaping on the snark, give them a few pointers.

2. Be good to your critics.

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