Specialise if you want to become really good

There are heaps of areas to learn in photography and so mastering the lot would be crazy difficult. Perhaps impossible. That’s why some of the best photography is being done by people who are just trying to be good at one thing.

Previous tip  |  Next tip

Wolf Spider

When I found myself living in a place with lots of wolf spiders I started experimenting on how to get nice shots of them.

Professional photographers, like the ones who work for newspapers for example, have to be able to handle every situation their job throws at them. One minute it could be a bush fire, then it’s off to capture a portrait. It’s difficult for them to produce the best possible image across every type of job.

So think about the advantage you have over them if you decide to specialise.

For example, when I moved to a place in the country I discovered the place was full of wolf spiders. I set myself the enjoyable task of trying to be the best wolf spider photographer — now that’s a job description you don’t hear often.

I had a great time experimenting with different lighting, apertures, lenses, angles and so on, and each time I’d look at the results I’d ask myself what I could improve. Over a few months not only did I figure out some nice wolf spider photography tricks, but I also got some pictures that I was able to sell, like the one shown above.

A lot of the best photos you’ll see in galleries are examples of artists doing that sort of thing. They come up with a theme and then concentrate just on exploring that as much as possible. But even if you’re not planning an exhibition, you’d be surprised how expert you can become if you only set yourself the goal of being expert in one area. (You can always move on to another area after that one.)

Maybe your place has a lot of one type of flower growing. Then you can figure out how to get the best possible photo of that type of flower. If you try to be the best just at one thing then there’s a decent chance you’ll produce something that’s really, really good.

Previous tip  |  Next tip


Beginners’ guides to digital SLR photography


Before you start


The essential basics


Making sense of technical stuff

Photography words

Photography words explained


Sneaky stuff


Common problems and their solutions

Preying mantis

Taking things further


Photography at night

Other photography stuff

Copyright © Mark David. All rights reserved