What “it takes” to be a good photographer.

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   I’m writing this post in response to those that follow my artistic pursuits. You must know, though, that I’m not writing a post on “How to Become a ‘Good Photographer.’” The reason for that is because I don’t necessarily consider myself that. I’m just doing something that I love and enjoy and whether or not I am good at it is not for me to decide.


   I will just explain how I view my work, what principles my work rests on, and exactly how I came to be where I am now.


   For one thing, you must understand that, upon waking up every morning, you love your work. You love every aspect and every part of that work. If there is just one moment that you don’t feel confident and your mind becomes clouded with doubt, then it is a sign that something has to change. You must decide exactly where your heart lies. If you’re dealing with photography, it means that something doesn’t fit. It would be the same as you wanting to say that you want to be a driver. You can be a “Formula 1” racer, a taxi driver, a bus driver, a street driver, or just simply ship and deliver goods. The same goes for photography. You can shoot journalism stories, the flowers blooming outside, landscapes or Obama himself. If you believe that I’m a photographer and I can shoot everything, then that is your first, big mistake. It is the mistake of many photographers. Yes.  Theoretically, you can take pictures of everything; it is just that, by doing so, you will not achieve any success in your task because you cannot break up your talent and simply separate it into distinct pieces. It is only by focusing on one single aspect that that you will be successful. If you like fashion, you must begin to understand exactly what it is and how it works. If you like still shots of landscapes, then immerse yourself in this type of work. Learning occurs through perpetual practice. This is the best method for me, personally. Simply reading a book won’t get you far. To be honest, I don’t believe in textbook education in the photography industry altogether. You are simply forced to sit and be taught how to think, analyze; you are taught what’s “right” and what others believe. In my world of fashion, however, there are no limits.


   Like I said before, it is my understanding that achieving success and the results you want all comes from practice. Just keep shooting pictures; always look for something new. I don’t even know exactly what helped me. Most likely, I gained inspiration from other photographers that I admire. I would look at their pictures for hours, studying the lighting, models, and the different angles with which they took their pictures. By the time I was 17 years old, I already fully understood exactly what I wanted, not only from photos, but from life. I became inspired by this world: the world of fashion. Photography provides me with all of this, some infinite supply of energy that allows me to work and move forward. You see how important it is to be enthusiastic about you work. Without this enthusiasm, everything turns into a mundane routine.


   Learn to absorb criticism properly and to criticize yourself as well. There are no limits to skills; you can always get better and there will always be more to learn.  There will always be someone better. That is why you shouldn’t let your ego get the best of you after your first successful shoot. Everyday, you must look and be willing to learn that which you are lacking.


   If there is one aspect of great importance in fashion shots, it is the model. I would even say that the work of the model determines 80% of how the shot will turn out (but then again we are talking about fashion photography). Of course, you can airbrush everything with Photoshop, but believe me when I say that when you are working with a professional model, the results speak for themselves.


   I will again repeat: don’t put yourself on a pedestal! Just know your worth and love your work. Remember to do that, not sometimes, but everyday. If you do not have this, then find something that you do love and occupy yourself with it; it is only this way that your work will bring you success.


   I could’ve written much, much more about my work and about how I began and the hardships I experienced. I could’ve even written about the technical side of the work. I figure then, however, I would have to publish a book. That is why I decided to do my research on what I thought would be interesting to you and I will answer questions about it. If you’re interested in my work and would like to have some questions answered, please feel free to send them to the following:


   I will try my best to answer each question weekly via small blogs about my work. Thank you so much for paying such close attention to my blog.


   And by the way, I wanted to show you a preview of my last shoot with a very talented and beautiful model from the Ford Models. Enjoy!


Behind the scenes action during photographer Alena Soboleva's photoshoot titled "Hold Your Colors":

Alena Soboleva




And special thanks to Film Annex for the new blog platform that allows me to carry my ideas.

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About the author


Alena is a Russian born, New York City based fashion photographer. Currently 21 years of age, Alena is one-of-a kind, with a number of notable career achievements under her belt. Alena is well honed in the field of fashion photography shooting amazing models from top agencies in New York City…

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