Today I wanted to talk about something that I think everyone deals with from time to time. I have always been a pretty confident person. Growing up I felt like I could do anything in the world I wanted to do, I just needed to give it a bit of practice and I would have it. So, naturally I felt that way about photography at first as well. And, it was somewhat true. I did pick it up relative quickly and I learned the technical stuff pretty easy. What I didn’t realize though was how hard it was to do the part that really matters.
I watched an interview recently between Chase Jarvis and Jasmine Star, two of my favorite photographers on the planet. They both have inspired me so much that I don’t think I can put it in to words. They have been the driving force behind how I run my business. Well, one thing that Jasmine said really stuck in my mind .. 20% of photography is actually knowing how to take a great picture technically, and 80% of everything else. That 80% is you, and how you see the world.
Think about that, really think about it. That means just because you can take a beautiful image, so what? What really matters is you, your vision, your creativity, your ability to see something that nobody else sees AND getting the image in the camera to come out looking like you see it in your mind. They described this as the creative gap.
Now, you may be asking what this has to do with doubt … fair point. What I’m getting at is that I have always struggled with this. It is EASY to take a beautiful picture, and its EASY to kind of drift by when you only put out safe, conventional, pretty pictures. The problem is, your images will never be great. They are only 20% of their potential.
So, a few months ago I made a decision to just start shooting the way I enjoyed shooting. At first I would try to emulate other images that I liked, or that other people said were really pretty. That helped me learn the technical side, and how to create different styles of images, but it wasn’t getting my look out there.
Since I’ve started kind of getting my vision out there, I say kind of because I still hold back sometimes out of fear, I’ve been much happier with the images that I produce. But, the doubt is always there. I always worry about being good enough, about being accepted, about being considered a real photographer (whatever that means). It may seem silly, but its very real, and very tough to get through sometimes.
By being so true to your vision, and your ideas, your images come out with a part of you in them. They are very personal. So, it makes it really hard to deal with when others reject them or don’t like them. Which is also something I need to work on. Just like I see the world differently than other photographers, clients also have their own style they want. I need to realize that its nothing personal and that people should go with a photographer that they relate better with, but that is much easier said than done.
Hopefully, as I grow as a photographer, this is something I can work on and get better at. Because right now, every time I have a previous client, or friend, who uses another photographer I have a hard time not letting that doubt creep into my head and it starts eating away at all the confidence I’ve built up. There are people out there (like you guys!) who love my style and the images I produce, and I need to focus on that and not let the few that go elsewhere affect me. Doubt is something that I don’t want to run away from and try to plow through it, because it is natural and will always be there, but it is something I want to respect and learn how to harness.
Hope you all have a great Martin Luther King day and I hope to see you all soon!