Lack of confidence is a common problem among photographers, especially in the beginning of their careers.
For many photographers, using a camera or arranging an intricate lighting setup is as easy as 1-2-3.
Pricing their work properly, showcasing their achievements, and feeling confident in their skills – that’s where things get tough.
There are many ways to gain confidence as a photographer, and we’re going to share them with you. These tips will help you when you feel despondent about your photography business or if something goes unexpectedly wrong.
1. Compare old work to new
As you take photos, it’s essential that your skills and style develop over time. It’s a great idea to take a moment once in a while to look through your old work and compare it to your new work. Doing this will show you how much you have developed since you got into photography. Are your pictures good? Would you say that you are moving in the right direction?
Photo © Blake Richard Verdoorn
Ask yourself these questions. If you’re not quite satisfied with what you see – make a plan as to how you can improve your photography and get it to the level you want it to achieve.
2. Shoot every day
The skills of taking really good shots won’t come overnight. It’s a long path of taking pictures day in and day out. If you want to gain confidence, you need to shoot as much as you can. You can do that during a morning walk with your dog, or during your lunch hour.
Confidence is a choice.
The important thing is that you take photos consistently and frequently. No tutorials, books or courses can replace the experience of shooting in real locations. So, get out there and start taking pictures. Practice makes perfect.
2. Set goals
If you want to gain confidence, take your time and make a list of your weaknesses. Then make a plan as to how you’re going to turn your weaknesses into strengths.
Maybe there is a certain technique you have wanted to learn for a long time? Or you have seen an interesting shot and wanted to try to imitate it? Write down your goals in a notebook and start trying. Keep track of your results.
Photo © Sebastien Gabriel
The best way to achieve your goals is to make them public, publish them on a photography forum or on a photography Facebook group. This way you’ll get some helpful first-hand tips from other photographers and gain confidence through their comments. Also, once you publish your goals there is no way back, other people on the forum will hold you accountable for your goals and ask you about it constantly.
4. Improve your portfolio website
Your portfolio website is the face of your brand. People may not know you as a person, so they will judge your site and your portfolio to form an opinion about you as a photographer. Therefore the only way to make sure they will want to use your services is to build a really good website on which you upload the very best shots you have.
When it comes to creating a portfolio site, try out some free services, such as Defrozo and Koken.me. Defrozo is a one-stop, hosted platform that allows you to create a portfolio site, customize the design, create client galleries for photo proofing and delivery, run a blog, sell prints, and much more. Koken is a website management tool that you can install on your server.
5. Change your perspective
When talking about perspective, I’m not referring to the perspective of a shot, but to the perspective you have on your photography. You may see other photographers’ pictures and think that you will never be able to shoot something like that.
Don’t despair because there will always be other photographers that you think are better than you. But by the same token, there will always be other photographers who think your work is better than theirs. Instead of being too critical of your work or of others’ work, rather just use these pictures as motivation and inspiration.
6. Try 365-day or 52-week projects
There are many projects you could try out to improve your photography. The most popular ones are 365-day and 52-week projects. They encourage you to shoot the whole year and track the growth of your photography. There are many examples of how 365-day projects changed people’s lives, just like Marius Vieth.
There are billions of photos from these kinds of projects on Flickr, 500px, and other photography sites.
7. Shoot in different locations and conditions
It’s always difficult to shoot at a new location that you’ve never seen before, and it’s even more difficult to shoot when it’s raining, snowing or freezing. As a photographer, you may be seeking the perfect, sleek, flat light during the day.
However, in reality you do not have control over the weather, so you need to learn to shoot in various conditions. If it starts raining right before a photo shoot, ask your client to bring along a bright umbrella and take breath-taking rainy pictures. Don’t let the weather spoil your mood or shots.
There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept. – Ansel Adams
8. Learn from Professionals
Professional photographers were not always pros. They have had to build their confidence and work hard to get where they are today. Fortunately, a lot of these professional photographers are more than happy to share their knowledge and unique experience with others through tutorials and interviews. Their advice can be extremely helpful.
I went ahead and put together a list last year. 15 of these inspiring photographers’ interviews should be enough to light your fire. And their advice is all kinds of useful.
9. Use a notebook
Create a well-organized notebook in which you write down your plans, ideas, and just keep track of your work. Doing this could also be done digitally through an app you can access via your smartphone or laptop.
Photo © Bridget Braun
A notebook can also be helpful to organize your workflow routine carefully.
10. Keep Learning
The best way to build confidence as a photographer is to learn … constantly. Challenge yourself with something new and develop your photographic eye. There are a lot of blogs and resources available these days that provide knowledge on almost every subject you need.
Read articles and follow photography tutorials. Search quotes from famous photographers and learn from their words, let them inspire you to shoot and improve your skills.
So, keep taking photos, keep learning, and you’ll gain confidence with time.
Confidence is not something you are born with. It is something you develop over the years, a thing you work hard to get.
Something you earn.
It’s always easier to choose sitting on the sofa complaining about your life than go out there and try to do something to change it for the better.
What are your tips to build confidence? Inspire in the comments section. Because when you’ve got it, you can’t help but share it.