1. They have an eye for telling a story. They use their keen eyes to find a scene or a place in time that tells a story to their audience. Photojournalists are some of the best at this, because it captures a moment in time and history, that can’t be recreated. Examples would be for wars, tragedy, and any other memorable events.
2. They capture the essence of their subject. Real photographers’ work doesn’t have the appearance of a photograph. Some of the best photography that I have seen looks more like someone pressed pause during a movie instead of looking like they posed everyone. They capture people in motion, living things in action, and do not wait until a fleeting moment goes by.
3. Many are spontaneous. Some photographers shoot real life, and some create the scenery themselves. Either way that it is done, it is still fantastic. When a photographer can display a mood or a scene that makes you stop and take it all in, then they have done their job. Some photographers get up in the morning and decide to go somewhere random, such as in the city or in the wilderness, not knowing what they will find, but end up coming back with amazing shots.
4. Equipment. They know the ins and outs of their equipment, and they know the proper equipment to use at the right time. I am not a photographer, so I have no idea what f-stop is or what lens to use to get the results that I want. This takes practice and is a refined process in itself. Knowing their equipment makes the difference between a good shot and a great shot.
5. Their journey. Many photographers go thousands of miles into uncharted territory for their award winning shots. They travel to far away lands filled with danger and wild animals for the sake of their work. On top of all of that, they do all of that work while carrying around all of that equipment! They sometimes carry multiple lenses, back up batteries, multiple camera bodies, a tripod or monopod, and other accessories. This shows true love, passion, and determination in their work.
6. Their talent. Despite what many people think, not everyone can be a photographer. Sure, you can shoot great shots of your children or family, pets, or nice landscapes, but when it comes down to creating a scene, choosing the right professional equipment, truly capturing the essence of your subject, etc., it takes a hardened professional with years of training and years of practice.
7. The old phrase goes “A picture says a thousand words.” That is definitely true in photography. Their work says so much without any captions or narrative. Graphic designers use these images in their work to create moving pieces of design work that deliver a message in a powerful way. You could have an entire book worth of typography displayed in a design, but it would measure up to the impact of just the right photograph.
8. I can’t do it. I like to think of myself as someone that can do anything. I have learned to do basic mechanical work on cars, I have remodeled my home, learned how to work on the hardware of computers, etc. I consider myself a jack-of-all-trades, but I am definitely not a photographer. I know the principles of photography, and I have visions of scenes in my head, but they never turn out that way. I simply do not have the talent to be a good photographer-not even as a hobby. I have terrible timing. I always wait too long, or take the photo right as someone is blinking, or I snap too soon, and miss the moment altogether. Things are out of focus and nothing looks professional in the least.
Photographers are all talented, and should be appreciated for their abilities. As graphic designers, they give us imagery to work with, so that we can help to send a message that has impact. It takes us to another world, another point in time, or sometimes to an alternate reality.