If You're a Good Photographer, Can You Photograph Anything Well?

If you're a good photographer, can you photograph any situation / scene successfully?

  • Yes.

    Votes: 10 20.0%
  • No.

    Votes: 31 62.0%
  • It all depends ... and I'm explaining below.

    Votes: 9 18.0%

  • Total voters


I was watching an episode of Judge Judy and she made a comment along the lines of, "A colleague of mine used to say that if you're a good judge, you can try any case without knowing what's really going on. Until now, I believed him." The case in question was about the particulars of a street basketball game.

So I was wondering if you think the same is true in photography: If you're a good/great photographer, do you think that you can successfully shoot any scene or situation and do a good job?

This is obviously subject to some personal opinion on what a "good/great" photographer is, or doing a "good job" is, but I'm curious as to what people think.
personally i think everyone has their strong points. And since photographing a person can be totally different then photographing a building you cant say that some one is perfect at every type of photography. they may be extraordinary at a certain part and just very good at the rest. something along those lines
I have to say no, and this is why we have different types of photography. I know some landscape photographers that could not shoot a model to save thier lives and vice versa
I guess it depends on how ell you are talking. There are different skills for shoting different things. You can probably do a passable job at most any type of photography if you are relly good at one but really probably just passable.
Define well. Well as in a serviceable/saleable image? Or well as in the image could auction at Christie's for 1 Million plus? I voted no, I will most likely never have an image auctioned except at maybe a Salvation Army charity event. And for an ever so slightly lower total dollar figure. :)
There was a thread on APUG a while back about a photographer who sold some Ciba print to a museum for $1m. The general sentiment on the board was that it was a relatively average shot.

Anyway, I think a good photographer ought to be able to photograph anything well. Perhaps someone who produces mind-blowing portraits couldn't produce mind-blowing landscapes, but they'd at least be able to compose and expose one well.
I think that I am "good" (certainly not great, or even very good, but good) at some things, but put me in a studio dealing with models and I would be a completely useless.

Multi-flash setups? Horrible.

Landscapes? Not good at all.

Street photography? Nope.

Sports? You betcha.

Animals? Sometimes, not nearly as consistently as I would like though.

There are many people who are good at everything... but that makes them EXCELLENT photographers, not merely "good" ones.
I'll vote with a qualified yes. If you are a good photographer, good meaning a thorough working knowledge of the technical aspects of photography, then yes, you should be able to deliver a well exposed photo of almost anything. However, if your meaning of good is being able to create images that evoke emotions, then I would agree with most of the responders in that you'll be great in your specialization, but you might be only passable in other types of photography.
BTW, Judge Judy is wrong, it is precisely because judges are not well versed in everything in existence that courts make use of expert witnesses.
I would say: NO. Different types of photography require different skills, knowledge and experience. They even have different standards and different requirements in the area of attention to detail.

Journalistic photography involves knowing what is going to happen before it occurs and being in the right place at the right time to get the shot with the right lens and accessories. It involves fast composing, framing, adjustments and shooting, changing on the move, and shifting to another location and position. These are not the skills that most studio photographers would have.

Portrait and fashion photography require attention to the smallest and most minute detail and total control. The eye for minute detail in portrait photography is learned through a lot of experience. Most of the weaknesses that I see in this area do not display these skills. A natural look is used as an excuse for poor quality photographic work. Nevertheless a top quality portrait or fashion photographer could not necessarily handle sports photography.

Sports photography requires great planning, the perfect location, great framing and composition and superb timing to the fraction of a second. Certainly not a skill that is necessary for most product photography.

Product and advertising photography requires technical excellence in lighting, sharpness and colour and considerable creativity and postprocessing to achieve a high level of success but speed in composing, framing or shooting is most often not essential.

Scenics require a variety of lenses and filters, ideal natural lighting, a perfect location and the perfect mix of shapes and elements to provide a great composition. A scenic photographer certainly has less control over his/her subject than a portrait photographer, for example, but a scenic photographer does not require social skills to the same degree.

So, a good photographer in one area is not necessarily great in all areas unless he/she is widely experienced in all areas which is unusual since most like to stick to the area that they feel most comfortable with.

I think I can do a good job to the the average joe six-pak's eyes.

I don't think i can do a good job to a photographers eye.

overall, I think I can do at least passable for everything.
I know some fantastic fashion photographers who are horrible (being nice saying that) at landscape. I know some wonderful landscape photographers who are horrible at portraits.

I wouldn't call either of those two categories anything below 'good' at what they do so I voted 'no'
I voted No, but Patrice is correct. A good photographer under most circumstances is capable of getting a shot that is sufficiently well exposed to document whatever is going on right at that moment.
I will say NO for a different reason. The best photos come from inspiration. A boring object may not inspire a photographer to take the picture.

Now something mundane under certain conditions can invoke an interesting feeling which a good photographer can put into his photos. However given the object if the condition to stimulate his emotions and senses are lacking then there's nothing that can be done with the subject.
No because fundamentally with any art everyone has there own style and therefore strength. With Photography this is taken even further due to the convenience of strict documentary photography. I mean point and shoot photography, you don't get point and shoot oil paintings do you. True photographers can be good photographers when it comes to a certain subject but may work poorly with another. On the other hand they may be a good all rounder. Generally though the masters tend to have a narrow interest in photography in order to channel there creativity. Einstein wasn't a good biologist.

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