We all get those feelings like we can’t cut it. Maybe you feel like a fake? Or that everyone else is achieving success while you’re constantly struggling. It can be so difficult to combat these pesky thoughts, and if we don’t watch out, they can keep us from following our dreams altogether.
Often as creative artists, we work hard to learn and perfect our craft, learn how to use our tools and make some kind of difference in this world. However, many of us don’t give ourselves enough credit for the work we put in and the art we create. We discount our ability or attribute our success to luck. Some of us might even just have a hard time accepting compliments.
The world of photography can be highly competitive and is extremely saturated. Whether you specialize in weddings, newborns, families, boudoir or another niche, at some point, you have probably felt like a really small fish in a big sea.
I’m going to share a big secret with you…EVERYONE, and I mean everyone, has felt this at some point. Even the most talented and successful photographers have struggled with their confidence and felt like a fauxtographer.
So, since we now know we are all dealing with this, how do we overcome it? I wish there was a magic pill I could tell you about that would crush those pesky feelings of insecurity. Learning to trust your abilities and recognize your skill takes time and work. It won’t happen overnight and that’s OK!
So, if you are tired of feeling like you don’t have what it takes and you’re ready to grow and flourish as a photographer, then I suggest implementing a few of these key steps in your everyday routine!
Focus On Providing Value
When you feel like you have nothing to give or that none of your ideas are good enough try to focus on just providing value. Don’t worry about being the best; don’t worry about doing it all at once. Just focus on one thing at a time and try to create something that will be of value to someone else.
For example, write down some advice that has helped you along your journey. Or, go back and rework something you’ve done in the past to help prove to yourself how much you’ve improved. Just try not to get in your head too much. I promise you do have something worth saying to someone out there.
When you’re first starting out as a photographer, it might be a good idea to do a couple of shoots for free or as a trade. You’ll be able to provide something of value to someone else, and in return, you’ll gain some great experience!
Keep a File of Nice Things People Have Said About You
We can say some pretty mean things to ourselves sometimes. So, when you’re really feeling down, take a look back at some of those glowing reviews or testimonials from your clients. Those kind words can lift your spirits immensely.
If you’re still in the beginning stages of your business and don’t have any testimonials to look back on yet, my suggestion would be to ask for feedback from family and friends! Often they recognize our talents easier than we do and they can help build you back up!
Stop Comparing Yourself To That Person
We all have that person in our life, in our circle or on social media that seems to have it all. They are more successful; they always look great; they never seem to doubt themselves. Why should they because everything is going right for them!
First off, I can guarantee it isn’t. I know for a fact that person that seems so perfect has a laundry list of their own problems. However, their presence in your life, whether in person or over social media can be a huge drain on your self-esteem.
Social media can wreak havoc on our confidence. It turns into a comparison game, and before you know it, a photo you once loved now looks sub par. NEWSFLASH! You control your social media feed. If someone you follow makes you feel bad about yourself…just unfollow them. There’s no reason for you to have that negativity in your life if you can control it. So make a choice only to follow those that inspire you, motivate you and spark your creativity.
Remember: Being Wrong Doesn’t Make You a Fake
At every point in our careers, we are going to make mistakes. That is a guarantee, so you might as well accept it. One thing that I can also say for sure is that even if you make mistakes, that doesn’t make you a fraud. Even people with the most experience and expertise are capable of making mistakes. So…if they can do it and still be worthy, so can you!
Mistakes are also part of the learning process. A while ago, I decided to reevaluate how I viewed failure. I decided that I wouldn’t look at anything as a “failure.” Instead, I viewed it as a learning experience. It opened my eyes to an area that I could improve upon, and that experience gave me the opportunity to get better.
Give Yourself Some Grace
As I mentioned earlier, we can be pretty hard on ourselves. Whether you own a photography business or if you do photography as a hobby, remember to give yourself the same grace you would give your best friend. If you wouldn’t say something to your best friend, then you shouldn’t be saying it to yourself.
We are pretty quick to forgive and live up others, so it’s time for us to give ourselves that same treatment.
In conclusion, know that you’re not alone and that you’re not the only one struggling with this. If you reach out and talk to others in your community, you’ll not only realize that, but you can be each other’s support systems. Each risk you take, each experience you go for and each goal you achieve will teach you to be a better photographer and artist.
So when those negative thoughts start to creep in, remember that YOU are in control and to let passion lead you instead of fear.
Katie is a photographer, writer, and designer with big dreams. Most days you can find her binge-watching classic films, writing in my thousands of journals, or digging through vintage clothes racks like she’s Indiana Jones searching for the Holy Grail. Katie is a photographer, graphic designer and travel enthusiast who’s always looking for her next adventure.
Full photography portfolio: www.katiebeaker.com
All my love,