5 Intangibles Every Photographer Needs to Succeed

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5 Intangibles Every Photographer Needs to Succeed

Intangible skills are vital for any professional in any industry—photography included. While these “soft skills” might be more difficult to quantify, they are every bit as important as your chops with the camera. We’d even go as far to say that technical capability is a mere prerequisite, while intangibles pave the way to success. Here are 5 qualities you need in order to establish a long-term career as a photographer.

Positive Attitude

The defining characteristic for successful entrepreneurs is almost always an unrelenting sense of belief, even when others might doubt. Positivity not only empowers you to pursue new endeavors, but also radiates to your colleagues and clients. Put simply, people like working with positive people.



Whether you’re running a solo shop or seeking to grow your own agency, you are the leader of your business. Again, the need for leadership is two-fold, as clients expect you to lead them through a shoot or project.



Often overlooked during camera-in-hand photography curriculums, the ability to socialize with clients and communicate both personably and professionally is absolutely essential. Communication skills help you to not only provide great customer service and avoid misunderstandings, but also learn and bond with your clients.


Industry Smarts

You don’t need to pioneer the next big thing in photography, but you had better be able to identify it in its earliest stages. Staying in tune with trends and styles can provide the insider knowledge that sets you apart from even the toughest competition. By the same token, don’t be afraid to experiment with your own innovations!



You’re in the middle of a grassy field snapping photos of a newly engaged couple, trying to make the most of every minute before the sun sets, with plenty of work left to do. Then, the bride-to-be remembers that she also wants a photo in front of her favorite childhood tree. If you can navigate the awkward timing with grace rather than irritability, you will make a better impression. Understand that while photography may be your free-spirited passion, there is a service element to your job as a professional photographer.


These are just a few of the many intangible skills that photographers must exhibit. Do you have more to add to the list? Share your thoughts and experiences with our creative community in the comments below!