Pushing Yourself & Building Confidence

The one thing that I constantly have a battle with is confidence. I am not the shy retiring type that is hampered constantly by a lack of confidence. I am however someone who quite frequently has doubts, and lingers far too long on negatives.

I like many other photographers am my own worst enemy. I will look at a photograph I have taken and instantly lock onto the one imperfection within it. Most of these 'problems' would never be noticed by the subject or the recipient of the photograph. Yet I know that they are there!!!

So what am I doing to overcome this, and what would I suggest to others.


Go Public

Post your images on web based forums and take pleasure from people taking the time to a) view them b) comment on them c) like them d) +1 them!!!

(Most) people don't do this without thinking, there is a conscious decision to express some form of appreciation with any of these methods, even if it only takes one second. They have thought about it.

Facebook, Flickr, Google +, 500px, Instagram, Twitter - The list of sites geared towards sharing content is endless


Go Public - Extreme

This is my version of extreme, www.marc-gardner.com

This site isn't just a way of getting motivation to go out and shoot. It is also a way of reaching a broader target audience, And hopefully receive feedback from people that you have never met (Come on don't be shy - I welcome all comments) 


Sink or swim!!!

Never take a risk with someones bid day. However if you get the chance to be a secondary photographer. Go for it. 

Pressure Situations

This is most definitely the one that I would recommend to anyone.

Put yourself into positions where you are taking photographs of complete strangers. Even better into a situation where you are depended upon.

Only by doing this will you prove to yourself that you have the capability to produce something that demonstrates your skills.

Since starting this way of thinking I have taken photographs for a Maternity Shoot, a Wedding (I hasten to add that I was not the primary photography. I haven't gained that much confidence yet), a kids birthday party (Photo Booth Setup). Next up is a family portrait session, and after that another wedding.

I can feel with each hour behind the camera the confidence is growing.

I feel comfortable directing people. I am getting a higher ratio of 'keepers'. And most importantly I am beginning to enjoy myself more.


Develop/Print

Having a printed version of your photographs around the house opens them up to another audience again. People who have no interest in the internet and computers (they still exist) can see your work. Relatives, friends, door to door salesman, prospective buyers of your property!

Any nice comments from any of these groups of people again makes you feel you are doing something right. Again it comes back to them making a conscious decision to say something nice.


Summary

True I will still pick faults with everything image I take. I guess if you didn't then there isn't anywhere to go - You have become perfect!!

What I am learning throughout this process though is that my 'less than perfect' image(s) can actually still make people happy. The positive comments, and the smile on someones face when they receive a photo they like makes me forget about any imperfections completely (or at least until the next time I open it in LightRoom!!)

Finally - Don't become too confident. Nobody likes a smart ass!!