What is the most important skill in photography?
Updated: Feb 5
Mark Blezard comments
I've spent most of my professional life in sales, conducting countless sales training classes and producing endless amounts of sales training material. And funny enough, the answer in my opinion is the same.
So, is it focus? You've got to focus in both events. Exposure perhaps? You have to get out there and see a lot of people in sales. Nope, neither. In my opinion, the most important skill (and it is a skill by the way) is spotting opportunities.
In sales, we say 'it's no good being technically perfect in your questioning, presentation, and closing skills if you fail to spot opportunities'. You'll close a sale and then drive past two similar organisations on the way back home! The same applies to photography, you need to learn to look when walking, not looking where you walk.
Think of it this way, what's the point of knowing how to use the best kit if you are walking past all the best shots? This is where I stop being a camera snob when it comes to smartphones. Thanks to technology we've all lept forward in being ready to catch a shot. This in turn has changed the way we view the world – much more 'shot ready' than before.
However, this is a skill, and skills can be improved upon. Think about how movie directors view shots through a square made by their hands. Try it. Also, when you view a landscape or a city road, stop and let your eye zoom in on one small part, perhaps a shadow or different coloured paving stone. From here, slowly zoom out with your 'director's square' and see what opportunities transpire.
It takes time to coach this skill but we all have it. Watch out for colours too. It might be an annoying wall of graffiti but don't stride on past – there might be an opportunity!