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Every year, I have countless college seniors come by to meet and show me their portfolios, many of which show very good work. Then I pose the question, “How long did it take to create those 12-20 images?” The answer is always the same, “This is my work, which I did over the last year.”

That’s wonderful, but in the professional world, you need to be creating 12-20 AMAZING images day-in and day-out, everyday, regardless of circumstances, since that’s what is demanded (expected?) of you as a professional.

This is not only true in the world of the collegian, but equally true in the professional world, especially with the adoption of the “Prosumer.”  This type of photographer has become so pervasive that the American Society of Media Photographers has adopted an “Associate” level for part-time professionals because (as one of my fellow ASMP members said), “We would rather have them, as they say, inside the tent peering out as opposed to outside the tent peering in.”

To aspiring architectural photographers:

The ability to capture the innate beauty of a significant piece of architecture over just a few days, and then return with exceptional results, comes from the experience gained over a period of many years. It also requires the knowledge of light, lighting, and architecture. In his book, The Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell referred to this as the 10,000 Hours Rule. This is why most of our great architectural photographers — Peter Aaron, Nick Merrick, Tim Hursley, and others — are in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

Yes, digital has changed the landscape, but the ability to SEE architecture is one acquired over time.