Fear, Doubt and Anxiety - I'm a Photographer
I NEED to do this. I've given in to fear and doubt and my lack of confidence about everything I do as an artist and a business owner but I've come to realize that that is just never going to change. And I think that's a good starting point for this little photographer's blog. Sharing with you what being that artist, business owner, office manager, accountant, social media marketer and creative really is.
First of all, bear with me. My writing skills are sub par at best. I feel led in this direction and I'm going with my gut, but know that with that comes an extreme vulnerability and plenty of grammatical (and probably spelling) errors.
So it was about a week ago that I saw this cheesy article on another photographer's teaching blog about how to overcome self doubt as a photographer. I get why that article needs to be written. And I bet there are a list of 5 awesome steps to become the most confident photographer you can be! inside of it. I didn't even click on it because let's get real, there's no getting over that (I literally just told you I have put off writing this for that very reason.) And I can't tell you how many clients I get that tell me that they don't really like photographers which maybe comes as a shock to you but to be honest, I don't either. We're all pretty cocky, we shoot with our own agendas and forget about clients because we all want to rise to the top. The competition is fierce. Someone else is doing it better and faster and with more grace that you are. I've spent many agonizing, anxiety filled nights with those very thoughts swarming in my head and telling me, "I can't do this anymore."
But you know what, no. Don't trash those thoughts. Don't follow five cheesy steps to become the most confident photographer who can rock any session. And don't give into the deception that other photographers, even the most well known ones don't have their flaws, doubts or fears. Instead take allllll of that and put it in a box in your mind labeled "artist." I don't know everything about being a photographer or business owner or marketing guru, in fact I'm only half way good at maybe one of those things. But I know that if I never doubted, if I never inspected others' work, if I never wondered and researched how to edit faster and be a better communicator to my clients, I would still be at the bottom of the ladder that I will forever be climbing. But by doing all those things I'm at least putting myself in motion.
This industry is ever changing. Technology moves at a more rapid pace than it ever has, even in the glory days of the Industrial Revolution. If you're in an industry that is ever changing and fluid and face paced, you're only lying to yourself if you think you're going to learn it all, define yourself and be on top forever. Be humble and be constantly growing. And whatever you do, be grateful for every opportunity that comes your way because without it, you can't move or grow. File all of those self-doubt, fearful, anxious thoughts away into that box labeled "artist" and know that this turf comes with a lot of confusion and re-evaluation but there's another label for that and it is "growth."
We've discovered in our own business that just like everyone else, we think the new year is a great time for reflection and self evaluation. Every year after Christmas (and sometimes halfway through the year if we feel we need to revisit) we sit down and discuss all of things that are working and aren't working in our business. We compare notes about our competitors, discuss our hopes and our dreams and yes, we make a list of equipment we dream of having one day. And we make plans for achieving these goals, growing and maturing our artistic abilities to encompass all of these thoughts and dreams.
Leave it to me to leave you with no other advice than to calm down...and make a plan LOL. But seriously, give yourself grace. If you aren't growing and you're looking at other photographers out there who seem to know it all and are making a bazillion dollars and married to rock stars and living in dream houses and wondering when and how they figured it all out, the truth is that they are still figuring it all out and underneath that typical, cringe-worthy photographer's cockiness are the same doubts we have. You've just got to harness it and use it to your advantage. Don't whine. Don't wallow. Make a plan.
Preaching to the Choir, Emily