The ten thousand hours and photography practice has to be focused to be effective. If it's not you'll see improvements at first, but I think it will tail off quickly.
I'm at a point where I want to specialise, I think I have a good understanding of the technical aspect, composition, planning and execution of a photoshoot. But what genre interests me the most? Then there is the business side, this is the last part of the puzzle and it worries me the most. Training for it is hard to find. There are plenty of what I call portfolio building courses, but I see very little benefit in them. I also think they can give potential clients a false sense of security. The client sees great pictures; but how much input did the photographer have during the shoot?
Many videos of workshops I see seem to be follow the leader. A queue of photographers waiting to take the same picture as everyone else.
For me learning about the camera is as important now as it was in the beginning. I don't need a workshop for that. Hiring experienced models was the next step. I leant much more and could confidently say the pictures were the result of my experience.
When I was ready I started working with less experienced models, I needed to plan ahead and keep the shoot moving. I also shot a wedding. Recently I did a shoot for designer; there was the studio, a model and a makeup artist to organise. I knew the model so it wasn't all on me which helped immensley. It was another learning experience and one that may lead to some of my work being published.
How do you know when you're an expert?
Photography has many genres and techniques. A lot of hardware and software. Then there are customer relations and business skills.
Are you an expert when you know them all? Can you know them all?
For me, I feel that I am always learning. If I add up all of the hours I have spent using my camera, planning shoots, talking to people, processing the pictures, experimenting; how many more hours until I am an expert?