1. Find your talent. Everyone has something they were put on the planet to do, but most people wind up ignoring their calling or pursuing the wrong one. Maybe your talent is photography. Maybe it isn’t. But before proceeding with photography, make sure that’s your thing.
2. Understand how your brain works. Learn how it sees. Learn what it likes and why it likes those things. Learn how it can trick you. Test your brain out by exposing it to a ton of photographs as well as real scenes. Forget about social skills.
3. Choose good friends, not for networking but for honest critique of your work. The best feedback will come from a mix of photographers and nonphotographers.
4. Be postmodern. Borrow from any time period and any predecessor, then build on them to create your own vision. You needn’t use modern tools but whatever you use should be so routine you don’t have to think about it.