Being Great At Your Craft – Words of Wisdom from Zack Arias

I’m an unabashed fan of Zack Arias‘s Ask Me Anything About Photography blog, and if you’re remotely interested in photography as a profession it is, in my humble opinion, required reading.  While catching up the other day I came across some profound advice in the midst of the answer to a question about light meters.

Is all of this overwhelming? Does it all sound like it’s too much of a pain in the ass? Get over it. It’s called professional photography. Be good at your craft.Be great at your craft. Think a pastry chef trusts a new oven to be exactly 350 degrees when they set that on the dial? No. They test it. 350 on the dial might mean 380 degrees in the oven. You need to know that. You need to know your cameras. Your lenses. Your lights. Your exposure. Your screens and monitors. You need to test this shit. It’s boring and tedious and all of that. I know. It is. Get over it. Wait till you build color profiles for all your cameras, lights, and modifiers. Be a professional and do it. Don’t be another mediocre photographer. There’s millions of those. Don’t be one. Be great at what you do. Know what you are doing. Do the hard work to learn all this stuff. It’s worth it. It’ll save your ass one day.

[Emphasis mine]

It’s true.

It’s the difference between getting one amazing shot in 50 and getting 49 great shots out of 50.  It’s the difference between knowing how to use the light without thinking about it and fiddling with your camera settings to get your exposure right.  It’s the difference between a great model and a pretty girl, a programmer who wrote the code for and the hundreds of clone sites that died after a few months because they were, well, just clones.

No matter what you do, repeat after me: I will be great at my craft.