What Excites Professional Photogs?

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Just some eye candy Okay, so this is almost two months overdue, but I wanted to share an observation and thought process I had courtesy of one of the professional photographers I follow on Twitter; AcmePhoto.

The tweet was something along the lines of “I’ve got plenty of fireworks photos, so I left the SLR behind”. This was in reference to the July 4th fireworks display this year.

My first reaction was; Sweet, he doesn’t have to lug around the SLR and a tripod. He’s probably got some great shots, and now he can just enjoy the time with his family. But then, I thought; Well shoot, that’s kinda a bummer. Why doesn’t an opportunity like that excite him? Has he become jaded?

See, I’m an amateur, and I’ve only had my DSLR for just over a year. Every photo opportunity excites me, and everything is new and undiscovered for me. I haven’t taken any fireworks shots on the last two July the 4th’s and I’m really looking forward to the chance to shoot some great fireworks shots. So for me, I think about EVERYTHING as a “cool shot” and I’m constantly thinking “boy I wish I could take a great picture of that”.

Now for the average professional, I presume this sort of almost hysteria about taking photos goes away, and you get a much more focused and methodical approach to capturing great images. But, is there a cost? At what point do you tip the scales toward the mundane from the constant conscious (or subconscious) excitement and inspiration for making great images? Or do you, but you’re just more contained and rational about it?

Now don’t get me wrong, AcmePhoto makes great stuff, and I don’t for a second categorize him as uninspired or uninteresting. I’m just trying to wrap my head around how the creative process changes as you become more comfortable with your tools, and hone your artistic eye. For me it’s all emotional, visceral and as a result my work isn’t always the quality I’m really after, and things don’t turn out the way I envision them. On the other hand, professionals seem to be able to execute with an almost cold indifference, but the result is never the less artistic and excellent. Is this just what we see on the exterior? Are they actually just as giddy inside, but have learned to control it, and not wear that on their sleeves?

So professional photogs, for you, when did you transition from a hyper child excited by the prospect of any image, to someone who can execute in a repeatable and genuinely artistic way? Perhaps that’s the real difference between an amateur and a professional?