QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK A PRO PHOTOGRAPHER:

man taking a picture of the ocean on body of water during golden hour
Photo by Pok Rie on Pexels.com

If you had a chance to chat with a pro photographer, or one who you know is a “serious” photographer, what would you ask them? Most people are intrigued to see a real photographer in action. Watch them! Learn from them! And then ask if you can have a few minutes of their time and ask them some questions.

Here is a list of questions that has been put together that most photographers get asked:

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WISH YOU KNEW WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED TAKING PHOTOS?

photo of man holding camera
Photo by Suliman Sallehi on Pexels.com

First: it’s important to know that a photographer, when they first started, didn’t know anything much about photography. They struggled to learn how their camera works, how composition works, and how to make things work for them.

Answers you might receive are:

  • Gear
  • Motivation
  • And much, much more!
  • Composition
  • Lighting
  • Scouting

These questions related to these answers should help a lot.

HOW DID YOU GET GOOD AT PHOTOGRAPHY THEN:

woman leaning back on tree trunk using black dslr camera during day
Photo by David Bartus on Pexels.com

Just remember that every photographer did not start as a photo genius. What would you think they would say? Would it be: photo courses, reading books and magazines, looking at pictures, or was it just practice, practice, practice?

(Bonus: Plenty of photographers love this question, because it’s clearly flattering! So you’re likely to get a good, long, helpful answer.)

WHAT CAMERA GEAR DO YOU USE?

I don’t recommend you start off with this question, because it comes off as a bit superficial; after all, it’s the photographer, not the gear, that makes great photos.

But there are things you can learn about cameras, and equipment that the photographer may help you with. And I hope they are honest with you and don’t say that one brand is better than another, because there is clearly a great camera you could choose in every brand. But, find out what they would recommend for the type of photography you want to do.

WHICH LENS IS YOUR FAVORITE TO USE?

This is another question that could test the honesty of the photographer. One lens is not a “fix all” lens for all types of photography. If they are a portrait photographer, then they would probably tell you that this particular lens is good for portraits. And maybe another lens would be different for landscapes, etc.

By the way, when it comes to choosing from among high-level lenses, it’s not so much about determining which lens is the sharpest. Instead, it’s about determining which lens fits your particular preferences and requirements, so that you can achieve the shots you’re after. Make sense?

WHEN YOU GO OUT TO SHOOT, WHAT OTHER EQUIPMENT DO YOU TAKE BESIDES THE CAMERA AND LENS?

So many different accessories to complete your photo experience

Most photographers have an interesting accessory or two they can’t live without, like a cleaning kit, a portable charger, or even certain hiking boots.

And these items vary from photographer to photographer, depending on their shooting genre and style.

It can be a lot of fun to ask a photographer about their essentials. Be sure to find out why they carry the items that they do. And pretty soon, you’ll have a handful of items to add to your own gear wish list!


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WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SETTINGS?

grayscale photography of person holding black dslr camera
Photo by Md Iftekhar Uddin Emon on Pexels.com

I recommend you leave this question open ended, because you don’t want to know the precise settings that a photographer uses every now and again; instead, you want to know the best settings for specific occasions, as well as the can’t-live-without settings a photographer always needs.

Some things that might be mentioned are:

  • Aperture
  • AF area modes
  • Image style (do they shoot in black and white or do they convert later?)
  • Button customization’s
  • Shutter speed
  • ISO
  • White balance
  • Focusing modes

DO YOU USE POST PRODUCTION PROGRAMS?

a woman using computer
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

Does the photographer use Adobe or Lightroom? What are the reasons for using them? There is a few more minor questions to ask them here as you can see. Is it hard to use these programs?

Be sure to listen carefully; the key to a photographer’s style is sometimes hidden in the smallest of details!

IS THERE A PHOTOGRAPHER WHO HAS INFLUENCED YOU?

One of the worlds most famous photographers: Ansel Adams

Out of all the questions to ask photographers on this list, the “influence” question is the most difficult to answer – but if you have the time and the photographer is willing, it can lead to outstanding insights into their work.

See, all photographers have influences. And while most work is original to some extent, by understanding how a photographer developed, you can nail down certain aspects of their thought process, such as:

  • What they’re trying to say with their photography
  • How they approach composition
  • How they think about light

CONCLUSION:

One of the key steps to learning photography yourself, is to ask another photographer. Make sure the photographer is a good one, and not your brothers father-in-law. Get a hold of a good photographer. You usually can tell if they are really in to photography by the equipment they carry.

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