Photography: How many hats is too many hats?
Jack of all trades master of none. A phrase that I keep hearing and one that hangs around at the back of my mind a lot at the moment when pondering the photography. How true is it though?
I studied art, photography and graphic design at A-Level and then went on to doing further qualifications in Graphic Design before working with horses and then small animals. My point being that although I was very indecisive when I was growing up I had a strong creative streak with a passion for anything horse or animal related. Now it would seem obvious that Vet Nursing or Equine Photography would be career choices for me but 10 years ago it wasn’t that crystal clear.
To be honest I find it bizarre that we are expected to choose our careers and effectively our lives at just 14 years old…. the age we choose our GCSEs and then eventually our A-Levels. How on earth does everyone know what they want to do? I most certainly didn’t, so I picked what I enjoyed. Did well in my GCSEs and then ploughed my A-Levels. Still it hasn’t really held me back and I’ve done numerous additional qualifications, including my teacher training.
This leads me nicely on to my point of this blog. I’d like to start helping more fledging businesses, I hate the term small as this implies they won’t be big or successful. Fledging to me are the new businesses, so they may be small in terms of volume of staff but many of them have big ideas. Some fledging businesses do well, they flourish and fly the nest. Others don’t do so well, and effectively wind up on the pavement.
This can be for many reasons, lack of focus, lack of originality, life changes and so on. Often, they need a little help and I’d love to do more with them. Branding, logo design, blogging and website design are all skills I’ve developed over the past few years. With the help of my IT savvy hubby we make a pretty useful team. Where does this fit with the Frog and Field Brand though? How does it fit with photography and does it have too, so many questions.
Does it have to? Do I run the risk of becoming a Jack of all Trades and a master of none? Honestly, I’d to hear from some of you! However, if you think about what’s involved with all of the above there is common theme…creativity. So actually, they all complement each other. I like things in boxes though. So, having everything under Frog and Field is stressful for me. Then I come to the other types of photography that I enjoy. Weddings and lifestyle. If you were to book an Equine Photographer would it put you off that I did also life style and weddings. Is it possible to be good at more than one genre? I believe so and this is why.
What makes a good photographer?
A good photographer has to be able to put people at ease, this applies across the genres. It doesn’t matter what your photographing, unless it’s an inanimate object, people need to feel comfortable. They also have to be able to adapt to situations, change plans and assess the environment. As well as these skills they also need to be able to use a camera effectively and know what settings to use, they need to be able to use light. I work with natural light only. Plus, finally they need to be able to edit. I am not in the camp that editing ‘isn’t proper photography’ and 100% believe it’s what will set photographers apart from smart phones in the not so distant future. Ironic really considering I learnt using film and a darkroom!
All of these skills are transferable. What makes someone good at specific types of photography are some additional skills.
For example, Equine Photography. For a non-equine person, it would be challenging. I know what makes a good confirmation shot, what pose flatters your horse the most. I am passionate and borderline perfectionist about this. Legs must be in right position, heads not too high and not too low BUT I also completely understand that horses have their own mind. I can keep myself out of danger and work around them safely. This takes time to learn and is far easier for someone who has spent their whole lives around horses, as I have.
Weddings have their own set of skills, that I am developing and learning all the time. I’ve got a styled shoot coming up which I’m second tog for and I’m so excited to add some new skills to my portfolio. Equally my friends have been procreating a rate of knots and so we are having great fun building up a new born portfolio for me. DO learning these skills take anything away from my existing ones?
Absolutely not and I actually think they make me a better photographer for you. Excellence always comes from the pursuit of knowledge. Self-development and a desire for perfection will always be what pushes people from being ordinary to amazing. Whilst I have a way to go I intend to continue to learn and aim to be that amazing photographer.
I’ll keep on adding hats to my head and becoming a master of Frog and Field.