Feeling Intimidated? Ways to Gain Confidence as a Portrait Photographer

Gain Confidence as a Portrait Photographer

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Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

When was the last time you held yourself back because you just didn’t feel good enough to do something? For many people who are starting a portrait photography business, a lack of confidence can be a big challenge to overcome.

You may think other photographers were born with great confidence and talent. The truth is that nearly all creatives struggle with self-confidence at some point in their career and that not-good-enough feeling can be a hard one to shake.

If you’ve done the work to start your own business and learn how to make money with photography, you should already feel accomplished and proud of how far you’ve come. But if you think your confidence is wavering, here are some tips to help build it back up:

1. Celebrate Your Growth

One of the best ways to boost your creative confidence is by admiring the progress you’ve already made. Take a trip down memory lane by pulling out all of your earliest photographs. Compare those images with your most recent work. The improvements you’ve made should be visibly apparent. Now, give yourself a pat on the back.

Learning and improvement is a part of every journey. Measuring your progress and recognizing growth is always something to be proud of.

2. Practice

The only way to improve is to practice, practice, practice. If you’re feeling rusty behind the camera, schedule a practice session. As you practice, you’ll see yourself improving, which should help build your confidence.

If there are specific skills you lack confidence in, schedule time each week or even each day to dedicate to improving those skills until you feel more sure about them. Go into practice sessions with intention. Set measurable goals to improve on and keep track of your progress.

The photographers you may think of as oozing natural confidence are the ones who know their craft inside and out. Portrait photographers who can walk into a session, set their camera without checking, and give directions without thinking about it are the photographers with hundreds, if not thousands, of sessions under their belt. Learning the art and craft of photography does not come overnight but takes hours of practice and dedication.

3. Don’t Make Comparisons With Others

Comparing your images with work you’ve done in the past is an essential part of measuring growth, but this is where the comparisons should end. Try to avoid comparing yourself to other photographers.

Following other photographers on social media is a great way to find creative inspiration for future sessions but remember that social media is a highlight reel of curated moments. For every perfect photograph shared, hundreds of images didn’t make the cut.

4. Accept Praise

For some creatives, especially those just starting careers in photography, it can be hard to accept praise for their work. While you may look at an image and see what you wish you had done differently, others may see joy, love, and a beautiful portrait.

Take in the positive things that others have to say about your work. Embrace the good and resist the urge to point out any flaws. There is no perfect in any art form, and a wonderful portrait evokes emotion from others. Take in the emotional reactions of others and thank them for their positive feedback.

5. Find Your Community

Finding a community of like-minded photographers is a great way to improve your confidence. Support from colleagues whose work you admire and whose opinions you trust can go a long way in making you feel more sure of your talent.

To meet new photographer friends and collaborators while boosting your confidence by learning new skills, consider enrolling in a school for photography, photography business course, or workshop.

6. Embrace Imperfections

Making mistakes is a part of learning. Mistakes will not hold you back but help you move forward and improve.

It’s important to think less and do more to gain more confidence. Stop worrying about whether your photographs are good enough; simply take more. You can’t wait until you feel more confident, or you’ll never get started. Sometimes, you have to jump in before you think you’re ready.

Photography is an art form, and art is not always about being technically perfect. Sometimes, the best images have technical flaws but express movement, emotion, or a unique moment. Embrace the idea of your work being perfectly imperfect.

Helpful Hint: If you’re still struggling, seek feedback from trained professionals. Their critiques can help you improve, and their compliments will help boost your confidence.

Just the Highlights

Being a beginner at anything can feel overwhelming and intimidating. If you are new to portrait photography and struggling with a lack of confidence, it’s important to remember that every photographer has felt that way at some point in their career. However, if you keep practicing, celebrate your growth, stop comparing yourself to others, learn to accept praise, find a like-minded community, and embrace the imperfections, you can go a long way towards boosting yourself back up.

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Feeling Intimidated? Ways to Gain Confidence as a Portrait Photographer

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Starting a portrait photography business can be daunting, causing a lack of confidence. Despite your hard work and progress, wavering confidence is common. Learn how to build it back up in this infographic.

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