Copyright Scott Bourne 2009 - All Rights Reserved

I’ve written hundreds of posts here at Photofocus. I’ve talked about light, equipment, attitude, color, subject, background, angle, composition, exposure, motion, video, etc.

You can concentrate on those topics and hundreds more. But there’s one topic that doesn’t seem photo-related I need to write about….sweat.

Hard work – busting your behind – putting some elbow grease into it – whatever phrase you want to use to describe it, more EFFORT is one thing ANYONE reading this post can add to their workflow, free of charge.

If you’re trying to go pro or if you’re trying to be taken seriously as a photographer in any capacity, then you need to ask yourself this question: “Am I really working hard at this?”

If you dodge hard work in favor of buying a new camera or watching a Photoshop video or designing a new logo for your yet unborn photography studio, you’re cheating yourself.

You and I need to be the best we can be. We need to put forth massive effort on each and every photograph. We need to treat each image as if it might be our last. More importantly, we need to treat each image as if it might be the last one made of our subject. Posterity is a mean mistress. She expects a great deal from all of us.

The next time you look at a photograph by someone like Ansel Adams, remember, chances are very good it was made at a place he had scouted many, many times before. He’d probably been there a dozen times and made dozens of pages of notes on things like the light angle and possible foreground objects. He usually didn’t just step out of his car, plop down his tripod and fire. He knew his subjects. He knew the light. He studied, prepared and executed.

It’s fun being a photographer. But it’s also hard if you do it well.

Stephen King is one of the few fiction writers who can keep me entertained. He once said: “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”

That sums up what I’m trying to say pretty well. The next time you get your camera out, don’t just rely on your talent. Put your back into it. Spend some time. Work at it. I bet the results are just a little bit better than usual.

This post sponsored by X-Rite Color and the ColorChecker Passport