Today I have a few thoughts on why having confidence as a photographer is important and how we can develop more of it. I’ve learned that without trust in myself, my abilities, and the importance of what I do, I can’t be successful in getting hired, performing a job well, or finding fulfilment in my work. And the more confidence I have in myself, the more confidence my clients will have in me. Below are a few specific areas we should be confident in as photographers, and if not, a few ideas on how to develop it.
Confidence in Technical Ability
The most important thing we need to be confident in as photographers is our technical skill and ability to provide professional-quality images. Whether we feel completely comfortable technically or are still in the beginning stages of learning, confidence in the things you DO know will give you the courage to go out and try new things. If you aren’t confident in your technical abilities quite yet, this is the first priority. Do what it takes to learn the basics and to understand your gear inside and out, whether that means taking a class or just practicing on a regular basis.
Confidence in Posing and Giving Direction
From a client’s perspective, few things inspire less confidence in a photographer than one who doesn’t give clear and direct posing instructions. Most people don’t know how to stand, what to do with their hands, or what kind of expression they should be making. And if the photographer doesn’t give them explicit instructions, the subject’s lack of confidence in their own abilities will be extended to a lack of confidence in the photographer.
The way to remedy this: lots of practice. Think of poses and directions you can give ahead of time and practice saying it loud alone or actually trying it on friends who will give you feedback on whether something sounds/feels uncomfortable. I used to worry about remembering poses and directions during the session itself, so my solution was to photograph a written direction or pose idea right before the session, using the CF card I’d be using for the session. That way, I could quickly glance at my LCD screen, flip to the beginning of the card and get an idea or two, without my clients ever knowing. Eventually I worked up an arsenal of poses and directions that I frequently use and usually don’t have moments of panic during a session because of forgetting what to do next. I also found that with every session, I’d learn more of what did and didn’t work well and use that information to improve my communication for next time.
Confidence in the Importance of Photography
Last, but not least, it’s so important to have confidence in the power of photography itself and in the service we provide. The images we create for our clients are something they will value forever. When all is said and done, you’ve left someone with a product that will be part of that family’s legacy and an heirloom for future generations. Above all else, this should give you confidence that what you are doing matters!
Kristin Brown is a wedding, birth, and portrait photographer in Northern California where she lives with her husband, Kenny, and a kitten named Pip. She believes in simple living and meaningful connection. She loves writing, wishes she lived in Paris, and is always finding excuses to bake cookies. She blogs at www.kristinbrownphotography.com/blog