In my last blog post, I wrote about the benefits of generalizing as a photographer. I later realized that the skills we develop as photographers can also transfer nicely into the rest of our lives. Anyone who updates their resume knows that transferable skills can make the difference between career stagnation and advancement. So, when working our photography, we also work on skills that help us in our lives and our careers.
For example, when we photograph a wedding, we begin by communicating with the bride. I don’t intend to exclude the groom here, but, let’s face it, the bride usually hires the photographer. So, in planning the wedding shoot, we need to communicate with the bride to find out the basics of the day, such as where and when the ceremony will occur. But, we also need to talk about the important shots that we can’t miss, and about the style of the shots. During a recent wedding, the venue staff demonstrated great communication by telling me when certain activities would happen, such as the cutting of the cake so that I could make sure that I got photos of the cake prior to cutting, and find the right angle to shoot the ceremonial cutting of the cake. In communicating to the bride and her guests, we learn how to communicate with anyone.
Working as an event or portrait photographer also helps us develop our managerial skills. During a wedding or a portrait session, we often direct our subjects in how, and where, to pose. Especially during a wedding, we use our managerial skills to wrangle small and large groups so that we can get a shot where everyone is smiling and not hidden behind another person.
Photography has always involved technology. From the start of photography until the early part of the 21st century, mechanical devices and chemistry constituted the technologies of the art. When digital photography became the dominant medium, electromechanical devices and software became the technologies of choice. So, as photographers, we keep our technological skills sharp by learning about the newest devices, and, more importantly, about the newest software technology. In doing so, we also hone our learning abilities.
And, finally, by looking at the world through the world through photographers’ eyes, we learn to see everything from a couple different perspectives: the practical and the artistic. When we see a building, we see the practical structure that everyone else sees, and we see the piece of art it can become from certain angles. When we see a flower, we see the beauty that anyone would see, but we also know how to isolate it in our minds, just like we isolate it in the frame, to make it more beautiful by mentally cropping out the distracting and unattractive elements around it.
So, never let anyone say photography is just a hobby. We are all bettering ourselves by learning to communicate, manage, develop our technological skills, and to see the world through different perspectives.