I think most of us in creative fields can suffer from a lack of confidence in our own abilities. As a photographer and writer, everything I put out there is something I’ve ‘created‘ and, even as a seasoned pro, it can be hard to have faith in my work!
So, how can we be more confident as photographers? Having worked in the industry for the last twenty odd years, I think I’ve picked up a few tips, which I’d like to share with you here.
Confidence & Bluff
The old saying, ‘Fake it till you make it‘ certainly rings true at times! We’ve all spent years training to be photographers but, when you first start out working with clients, it can be hard to ignore the little voice inside telling you that you’re not good enough to be a pro. But so much of being a successful photographer is being good with your clients so, if you can’t be outwardly confident you need to be able to bluff. You might be inwardly panicking but as long as you’re outwardly chatty and engaging with your client, you’ll come across as professional.
Technology moves fast in the photography world and another way to keep your confidence levels up is to make sure that you keep learning about new tech. With digital photography, there’s always new stuff on the market and, whilst no one’s wallet is going to run to buying it all, I feel it’s important to keep up with what’s going on in the business.
Knowledge is power, after all. Keeping up to date with what’s on the market and the direction in which photography is going makes us all better photographers.
Why did you become a photographer in the first place? For most of us, it was because we loved taking photos and the idea of making a living from something you love is an appealing one. But when you shoot for a living, it can sometimes be hard to go out and take photos just for the love of it. By practising though, you can help to increase your confidence – particularly if you go out and shoot in a variety of different situations and experiment with taking shots you wouldn’t normally shoot.
Knowing that you can handle any shooting situation you’re faced with is an easy way to boost confidence.
Don’t Judge Yourself By Others
I am in no doubt that I’m not the best photographer in the world. This might sound like a negative statement but the simple truth is that no matter how celebrated you are as a photographer, there will always be someone who you perceive as better than you. Because comparison is all about perspective. There will always be photographers whose images you look at and think, ‘why can’t I take a shot like that‘? And if you’re not careful, that leads to the doubts creeping in, and the thinking that clients will think that your work isn’t good enough.
The key is to start changing the way you think. Instead of judging yourself harshly by the shots of others, take inspiration from their photos instead. The world has plenty of space for all sorts of photographers! Try to use other photographers’ work to help you think in different ways and to try out new ways of shooting.
Lastly, but by no means leastly, remember that at the end of the day you need to just keep taking pictures that please you. Of course you may be working for a client and of course they need to be pleased with the shots. But ultimately, confidence comes from shooting pictures that you’re happy with. It’s fine to have a little self-belief and remember all the points I’ve made. Good luck!