Stop being an imposter
It’s easy and common for photographers to feel like an imposter. It may sound like:
“I don’t feel confident. I feel like an imposter. I don’t have the best gear or the training. I don’t feel like I’m a true professional photographer.”
This is the #1 obstacle I observe clients say during our initial interviews that affects their confidence to monetize their work or pursue a successful photography business.
Confidence is the key to success.
You may have the strongest portfolio, a wide and varied set of photography skills you’ve improved over the years and vast knowledge of photography concepts in the back of your mind but if you don’t have the confidence to put yourself out there, you will not make it.
That is the honest truth.
That is what makes successful people different. Even with basic knowledge or equipment, they know how to use it and they know how to apply it in their photography.
Venture into your creative assignment
Creative assignment is my term for soul-searching what you truly love to photograph. It is the subject that you want to photograph with a story.
I encourage you to explore what genres of photography you’re interested in. That is good, in the beginning but when you’re ready to monetize, I suggest you dive into one or two related genres.
The important take-away here is that you don’t want to confuse your clients and potential clients. You need to stay consistent in your creative expression.
Photographer A does wedding photography and wildlife photography and has both in his/her portfolio or website.
Photographer B does macro photography of insects and flowers.
Which do you think clients will trust to deliver the results that they seek? Photographer A who has a contrasting style of photography or Photography B that has a more consistent style?
So do your creative assignment. Pick the subjects that you truly love to photograph and enjoy the ride.
Don’t worry about your equipment
I hear many photographers say they don’t have the best lenses, they only have their phone, they have an old camera, etc.
My question is, then why haven’t you bought new equipment? A new camera or those lenses you’ve been eyeing.
If it’s the money, then we all know that we have the capacity to save up money for things that we really like. If you’re not willing the spend the money, then photography is just a hobby for you and that is not a problem, just a point to differentiate someone that wants to grow into a pro photographer from a hobbyist photographer.
But again, I still preach that you don’t need new equipment to be confident.
There are only TWO reasons acceptable reasons to feel that way when the type of photography you want to be doing requires that specific type of equipment and your goals. When I say your goals, for example, you want your photography up on billboards, that requires a good quality camera so you need to step up.
It is about knowing what equipment you need for the work you want to produce and for the clients you want to sell to.
I don’t have a photography/art degree
You do not need a degree. You need passion. When you’re passionate about something, you will naturally seek knowledge about it. There are so many resources out there on improving your photography or building a photography business. In this modern day and age, information is readily available for your consumption whether paid or free.
All you need to do is want it but you need to also use your intuition when doing so because the internet is highly saturated with good info and misinformation.
There was a blog post that I encountered before that had infuriated me with the bad advice that they’re putting out and you can read it here: [link]
Find an accountability partner
It is okay that you don’t feel confident. What’s important here is that you choose to tackle it and not dwell on it.
So when you’re stepping into something new and different, it can be scary and overwhelming but one of the tips that I found effective for myself and other clients is finding an accountability partner.
An accountability partner is somebody that is going through what you’re going through to hold you accountable to complete the tasks you are working on. A great benefit to this is that having an accountability partner encourages you to achieve your weekly goal sets.
When you’ve found your accountability partner, my recommendation is that on a set day each week, you meet up whether in person or online, whichever is the most convenient and comfortable for you to check in with each other.
It’s a great feeling to have a “partner-in-crime” to push you into that next zone of pushing you forward in your photography.
Quit social media binging
When you lack confidence in your photography, you have a mindset of lack. You feel that you are incapable and when you go on social media to binge scroll on photographers that you love and wish that you could be, I guarantee that is not going to help.
It is different when you’re in the abundance and creative mindset and you’re on social media to get inspired and pumped. Only you would know what mindset you’re currently in so be true to yourself.
Many don’t realize how much time mindless scrolling or social media binging takes in a day. This is a waste of time that will not get you where you want to be. What you need to be doing is working on your photography.
Go shoot a new subject, try a new post-processing technique, etc.
Doing is the key, not just viewing and consuming the work of other photographers and what they’re doing. Social media is a great learning tool but binging on other people’s work will crush you and take your creativity because you’ll develop a yearning to be like another photographer instead of your original self.
Find a mentor that knows your photography genre
We are constantly students and teachers in every moment of our lives. It is a mistake to think you know everything there is to know because you do not.
You invest money in new equipment. You invest time in shooting your subjects. You need to invest in getting help. If you don’t want or can’t afford to get a formal education, then get a mentor or coach.
A mentor will see you objectively for where you’re at and will work with you to improve the skills that you want to take to the next level in order to move forward and get your work out to the world.
Your thousand words do make a difference.