what really makes a good photographer?

i’ve been busy. on the heels of the women deliver conference i’ve had shoots for GE, United Airlines, Heart of America Foundation, an awesome wedding party, a few personal things at home, a day trip to Mt. Vernon, and various others. in the past few weeks i’ve taken pictures of a ka-billionaire, actors, diplomats, award winning chefs, tv stars, families, friends, stuffed ducks, hall ways, historic sites….and lots of other nouns. being that i’m not just a news, event, or wedding photographer it gives me so many diverse opportunities and leaves me able to keep my perspective fresh. of course, weddings are my absolute favorite and i’ve been working hard to ensure a busy fall.

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35 2 copy i’ve also been studying up a bit on the famous annie leibovitz. reviewing a lot of her work has spurred a fair amount of self reflection. it’s thrown me into moments of extreme insecurity and doubt about my abilities as a photographer. in an industry so competitive…how is it at all possible to stand above the rest? with all the prophoto blogs, facebook fan pages, twitter lemmings, and ever lowering barriers to entry the competition is fierce and saturated. just when you think you’re doing something unique you come across that 17 year old that’s got it down waaaay better than you do. it’s not that i can’t take a photo that’s “great” or “satisfactory for the client,” but i want to create images that have never been seen. never even imagined. photos that make you take an extra moment to wonder “how?” obviously, not every shot can be award winning, but every shot can be thought out and taken for a reason. after the sweet charity this year i was extremely disappointed in myself. the photos were fine, but they were (at best) marginally better than last year’s. a whole year later and i just don’t see the change in perspective that i was hoping for. next year that will not be the case.

About Sam Hurd

Sam is a professional wedding and editorial photographer based in the Washington DC area. He photographs 40+ weddings a year, press events, commercial portraiture, and regularly hosts workshops in his Baltimore MD studio and around the world. His work has been published internationally including the Wall Street Journal, the NYTimes, and the Washington Post. He's available for commissions worldwide.

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  1. Excellent post Sam. The longer you go, it does seem to get harder to remain fresh and creative. Your work is fantastic–I look forward to what you come up with in the future.

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