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I would really love to start a career in photography but I generally have a confidence crisis. Its hard to explain what I mean but I think it boils down to worrying that what I produce isn't as good as it could be/should be. I am fairly confident about the techical theory behind photography and the business side, but I worry loads about whether what I produce would be 'right' or good enough. Its almost like I think pro photographers are some kind of alien species and I can't imagine myself as one, does this make any sense?! Maybe its because I am relatively inexperienced. I'm doing a C&G course in an attempt to try and further my knowledge but to be honest I'm not finding it that informative so far. I just wondered if any of you who have gone pro felt the same and how you overcame it?
Thanks in advance
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Great question - I too would love to hear if anyone overcame the fear factor!
I feel like that about eerything that I do from photography to motherhood.
I got comissioned a couple of months ago by a big website, paid etc and I was literally sick with nerves, I kept think that I would not be good enough, it would all go wrong etc etc, but I got a lot of support from people on here that said if they didn't like what I'd already done they wouldn't have asked me.
I have done 2 shoots so far one with the editor present (VERY nerve wracking) and one without, which went really well.
I think sometimes nerves can be a good thing, it keeps you on your toes and stops you becoming complacent or arrogant.
Quote: I can't imagine myself as one
If you can't see, or imagine yourself as one, then that's going to be a problem. Anyone who is successful in something will have imagined, thought, seen, call it what you like, themselves as being the thing they want to be.
They may not realise they do this, but studies have shown they do this. I guess it's self confidence, or belief in yourself. After all, if you don't believe in yourself then nobody else will.
How to overcome it? Learn how to believe in yourself. How you do this I can't answer.
I think that this is a female thing. Women very often seem to lack self confidence even when they take great pictures, whereas men are always sure of themselves no matter what their photo skills.
Is it hell a woman only thing. Jaysus.
Hear, Hear Westers...
Thanks Anna, its nice to know that its not just me!
Westers, oviously I have thought about being a pro-photographer or I wouldn't even be asking the question. I think that perhaps you took what I said a little out of context. What I meant is that I find it quite a scary prospect to start out, this doesn't mean I am not determind to make it happen. I just wondered if any other pros had similar thoughts when they were first starting out, it would be reassuring if they did
Damn too late - must be my lack of confidence...
Without having met you or knowing you it is hard to give the correct answer as it is a personal thing and the correct answer will vary person to person. But general answers are
1 Practice. If you have developed a routine for approaching things it in itself is comforting. It gives you something to do in the "oh god" moment. Plus to others it looks confident
2 Do a bit of research on assertiveness. Try reading Assertiveness at Work by Ken and Kate Back. It is under £10 from Amazon. Remember being assertive does not mean aggressive or pushy. Going through it may help you put your thoughts in order.
3 Being confident and assertive rubs off on people. If you are quiet and calmly confident with people they form an impression of you. The first 10 min of contact forms a lot of peoples behaviour patterns.
4 Set yourself out a series of objectives. Start from where you are now, work out where you want to be, then look for the correct sized steps to get you there. It gives you structure and for some it gives confidence.
5 Honestly write down your strengths and weaknesses. Get an honest and blunt friend to review it with you.
6 If you can afford it go on some people skills courses. Look for something like presentation or communications skills courses. Try your small business adviser or group etc. They need not cost the earth. The insight of yourself and how to present yourself could be of value.
7 Take some of your best work. Stick it in a book or folder. Take a moment to go look at it when things are tough. Update it. Remind yourself that you have achieved and can.
8 Remember people behave to you pretty much as you do to them. So if you start out nervous they will become so too. also few of us are as confident as we look.
9 You could hire me for a bit
Is stage one to sit down and put on a piece of paper what the things that scare you are.
Thanks John, thats really helpful. Its quite strange as I'm generally a quite confident person, my present work requires lots of presenting at big conferences etc, its just photography I feel nervous about, mainly if I have people watching, I am quite happy to do it in my own time though. I think perhaps, as you say, having a routine and getting more practice will be really helpful as will setting some objectives.
Quote: You could hire me for a bit
How much do you charge??!
If I said 'don't give up the day job' ... well I wouldn't mean it in how you might take it... but I find it really upsetting that you are researching such an important subject, and want to jack it in for photography. You could combine both, but you are doing vitally important work (I know it might not seem like it at times, but it is so desperately important), don't give it up. Photography is a great hobby - but you have more than that - you have a vocation - you are helping sick people - photography can't compete with that. Don't get disheartened if you get sick of your research sometimes, but never lose sight of why you went into it.
Just a puick note to you about your confidence problem. Take my word for we've all had it. Four and half years ago I started a six mounth FAS course in basic photography. It's was very basic but I just went and took picture's of everything. Got myself two weeks work experence with a big agency in Dublin. Like you and many other I didn't think I was good enough, but they then gave me six mounths work. Only now 100's of front pages later do I belive when everyone was telling me I was good do I belive it. I'm now leaving the agency to go out on my own. Big step for me but have alot lined up. But advice wise just go out and take pictures. Look in mag's, book and online an try and copy pics and each time add a little something of your own. This is what worked for me. I would also advice taking a mixture of everything from sport, fasion, to wild life. Hope this is some help to you and good look. Most imporantly enjoy it.
Confidence is a funny thing. I am used to doing presentations etc, but change a couple of things and suddenly you can get scared. Presenting to people I know as friends first, rather than a professional audience was a much bigger deal than I thought. And a funeral speech was the hardest and most frightening thing I have ever done.
I have not worked out the charge rate bit yet as I am still finishing off the base material and marketing plan, and as I am doing it in my spare time I am probably a year away from starting. But @£50/hour for 1:1. Possibly £100 per day for group courses.
Thanks all for the replies
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