Self doubt happens and it happens a lot. Sometimes it comes in waves, hits you like a lead balloon and is very detrimental to your confidence and happiness and it needs to be dealt with!
Photographers are artists, taking photos isn’t just pressing a button, there is so much more to it, lighting, composition, nailing focus, dealing with ‘noise’, to name a few, and then when you’ve processed your photo and you throw it on Facebook… You wait…
You’re waiting for ‘likes’, for comments, and for general approval that your photo is good.
We open ourselves to the public, to comment on, maybe even give critique to something that we’ve created, but remember that ‘art’ can be interpreted in many different ways and no two persons idea of what is ‘good’ will ever be exactly the same. Of course the technical sides of photography are generally set rules, exposure for example, but how you’ve taken that photograph, how you’ve edited it, that’s you and your vision and no one has the right to criticise it.
In a world where other photographer’s work is so easily accessible, Facebook, websites, Pinterest etc – it’s all too easy to compare your work to others, BUT remember this… Many, many photographers who use social media don’t update their statuses with their personal confidence issues, they’re confident, they have a public persona to live up to, I mean, would you book a photographer who expresses how they’re feeling in a rut, how they’re not sure if their work is good enough? No, you wouldn’t! – You want someone who’s self assured! so just because other photographers don’t shout about their lack of self worth, doesn’t mean that they’re not feeling it.
We all have, and we all will.
Should I call myself a professional photographer? This makes me laugh, because I asked myself the same thing so many times (and I know many others who have too) – If anyone questioned me about my job I shied away at mentioning photography at all (at this point it was purely a weekend thing). Am I a professional? Does saying I am make it more important? There’s not so many other professions where you specify, I’m a professional Doctor, a professional Teacher. Why was I afraid of saying I was – then I realised, I don’t need to say it at all. I’m a photographer and it doesn’t matter if I’ve had any formal training, if I have a degree in photography or if I’m self taught. I am a photographer and so are YOU!
So, how to kick this self doubt to the kerb!!
Firstly, realising that it is ‘just one of those things WE all feel’ from time to time is a starting point, you are not alone, it is not just you.
Get rid of the fear! People will book you because of the photographs you’ve already taken, they know what you do, they have an idea of how they’ll look – So that’s what you deliver! What is there to be afraid of?
Remember that you’re on a journey! – Personally, I think this is the most important. You’re learning (I don’t think it ever stops). Every shoot you go to you’ll learn something, it might be something good that you’ll do again, or it might be something you’ll definitely avoid for next time. Take photographs, take them as much as you can, take them in different lighting conditions, outside, inside and learn how to handle your camera in these conditions. If you have children then practise on them! – I am positive that every photographer, especially those that are now experienced will have hidden away (or maybe deleted) photographs that they look back at and think ‘what on earth was I doing’…
You’ll get better, all the time, it may be a slow improvement but don’t stop taking photos!
Don’t compare – use other photographers work for inspiration, look at poses etc but really try not to compare yourself to their work or try and emulate it. You will develop your own style in time. The ONLY person you should compare yourself to is yourself, yourself 6 months ago, or a year ago, and see how much progress you made!
Be positive! (that’s also my blood group!) Try not to be so hard on yourself! and also think of others. It shouldn’t matter if no one comments on your photos on Facebook (or wherever)… but sometimes having one person say ‘what a great shot’ is such a boost, or a little short email in your inbox about how much someone likes your photos! Though don’t forget DO IT YOURSELF… if you see a photo you like, don’t just think it, say it!
Lastly, don’t hesitate – don’t put off creating that business page through fear or self doubt, do it. Be your own person and don’t let your own insecurities prevent you from doing something you love –
You’ll never know if you don’t do it!
p.s. Enjoy the journey!