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Are You An Amateur or Professional Photographer?

by Stephanie Faris
featured, photo & video

natural Light

With the proliferation of camera-equipped smartphones these days, it’s easy for anyone to take up photography as a hobby. But for those who are serious about learning and excelling at the craft, there are a few things that will set you apart.

Photographer Roberto Valenzuela has more than a decade of experience as a professional in his field. During this time, he has captured numerous weddings, both in his town of Beverly Hills, California and on location around the world. He has found that talented photographers are always in demand, since people are always interested in capturing the most important moments of their lives.

Tools of the Trade

Roberto notes that there are many tools that allow photographers to capture unique images. Through the use of filters and software like Photoshop, you can doctor a photo to make it look special. While this tool is an important part of photography, Roberto emphasizes that those who want to improve as artists should concentrate on learning as much as possible about the camera side of things. At that point, you’ll have a great photo that you can then refine in Photoshop to make the statement you want.

Knowing the Lighting

For many people, natural light is simply a part of the environment. As a professional photographer, you’ll learn to see light differently. As you grow in your craft, you’ll begin to study the general direction of light, as well as the surfaces light bounces from, and use that information to capture the best images. Lighting directly influences where you’ll set up your camera, as well as where you place the subject of your photographs.

Learning Lighting

Roberto points out that his knowledge about lighting is a result of years of study. Knowing where the light hits and placing your camera accordingly is dramatically different from simply going to the park with a camera and standing in front of an attractive fountain. Everyone with a camera can do the latter. To master the former, you must learn as much as possible about how to use natural light to take photos that stand out.

What Sets You Apart

Tech tools like Lightroom and Photoshop are readily available to photographers at all levels. This means if you choose to rely heavily on those tools, you’ll face stiff competition, since many towns are overloaded with aspiring photographers who know how to use photo-editing tools. What you have that sets you apart from all of the others is your own brain. If you learn as much as possible about the camera side of snapping photos, you’ll have knowledge that differentiates you from all of the others in your field.

While filters and photo-editing software are valuable tools for every photographer, Roberto believes it doesn’t help a photographer excel. As a true artist, you should learn as much as possible about using your camera and natural light to take the best possible photos, then use software tools to add that special touch after the fact. Your brain is what separates you from every other photographer out there. Learn to use it and you’ll be well on your way to a great career.

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Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip, 25 Roses, and the upcoming Piper Morgan series.