We're talking a lot here about the technical part of photography, but what are the other related disciplines that help us create better pictures? What one needs to master to be a photographer? When answering, please also explain why you think it's relevant and how do you apply it to photography.

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    This should be community wiki. – Alan Jul 22 '10 at 16:07
  • I don't think this should have been relegated to the CW junkheap. What's the rationale? – mattdm Mar 24 '11 at 3:43
  • I would imagine that it is because there is not one correct answer, and it is basically asking for a list of answers. – chills42 Mar 24 '11 at 16:17

I don't think there's a specific answer to this question because most other artistic disciplines can help your photography. Studying paintings or learning to paint yourself can allow you to see light and shadow in everyday scenes around you as well as teach you about classic composition techniques. So, I think painting is a great thing for a photographer to study. But even something like flower arranging, I suspect, would help you see symmetry and abstraction better.

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I don't think you really need to master anything to be a photographer, or to take good pictures. Obviously knowing the technical stuff is really important, but mastery of it, isn't a requisite to producing amazing photographs.

There are some virtues (not necessarily disciplines) that have helped me:

  • Patience: taking a photograph requires you to sit back and think. You don't always have that luxury, of course, but when you do, use it.
  • Self Critique: most of us will be our harshest critics, but we need to temper that in order to effectively improve.
  • Perspective: trying to look at the world differently, will translate to your photographs.

Outside of these, I would say the one discipline you should master is your job. Money helps heaps in photography. It's expensive. You can absolutely be an amazing photographer with an inexpensive kit, but give that same awesome photographer a even better (read: more expensive) kit, and see how much their photographs will improve.

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  • These are virtues.. not really disciplines – txwikinger Jul 22 '10 at 16:28
  • Right, which is why I said these are "virtues" – Alan Jul 22 '10 at 16:38
  • Communication – unless you're a purely landscape-oriented monk, you need to be able to communicate with people you want to photograph, let you go somewhere, hold lights, or at least not get in your way.
  • Business and marketing – not related to taking better pictures, but if you want to earn some money with photography, you don't only have to make good photographs, but be able to sell them to prospective clients. (see John Harrington's blog for extensive details)
  • Legal issues – very useful to know your rights, whether that comes to someone using your pictures or getting arrested you because you took picture of a policeman.
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  • If you vote -1, it's common (stack) courtesy to post a comment why, so the Answerer can fix their answer. Thanks :D – Alan Jul 23 '10 at 14:57

Composition, including the rule of thirds and golden ratio, is an essential topic that photographers should learn about.

Knowing how to create a well-lit, tack-sharp photograph isn't of that much value if the photographers are aesthetically boring. Understanding composition is one step to creating visually pleasing images.

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  • Doesn't that fall into the "technical" aspect? – Alan Jul 22 '10 at 15:54
  • The rule of thirds and the golden ratio is the same thing. – Guffa Jul 22 '10 at 16:44
  • If you vote -1, it's common (stack) courtesy to post a comment why, so the Answerer can fix their answer. Thanks :D – Alan Jul 23 '10 at 14:56
  • +1 for composition. Even though the examples cited, rule of thirds and the golden ratio, have a mathematical guideline, the general topic of composition is more of an art than a technique. – jfklein13 Jul 27 '10 at 19:04

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