5. Aesthetic sensibilities actually matter.
Go figure on this one… I’m constantly surprised as how much this is overlooked. Read this and believe it: You must develop a keen understanding of design, color, light, and composition. To just say “I know a picture when I like it” isn’t going to get you anywhere. You need to know –for your own sake as well as the sake of your clients who will ask you– WHY a photo is a great photo. WHY is this one better than that one. If you don’t have any visual vocabulary, opinion, or aesthetic sensibility you won’t be able to explain these things. You won’t get the job. Or if you do get the job, you won’t be able to explain why your photos are worth getting hired again by the same client for the next campaign, story, or video. Trust me on this. Develop a sense of visual taste.
* I have covered much of this in my recent and ongoing series on the subject of ‘International Photographic Judging and Scoring Systems’. If you are so honoured to be put in a position as a judge or assessor of Photography then do it respectfully. I have personally ‘fired’ so many judges whose vocabulary is limited to the words “I like it” or “I don’t like it”, without the knowledge or skill to articulate how an image may be improved in some way. To become truly successful as an image maker who actually makes money from the industry I cannot stress too strongly the importance of understanding the psychology of why a client finds an image appealing, fit for purpose, successful, merchantable or not! This you can learn. No better way than a highly skilled mentor and an appreciation of art.