I get a lot of question about how to instill confidence in yourself and how I got so confident. Well, I can’t pass on my confidence to you, but I can tell you how I got it.
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I haven’t always been this confident. I’m a true fake it til you make it kind of gal. I think that we all are but I think that once you’ve learned some very significant ways that you can increase confidence in yourself, then you’ll start to feel a little bit more worth in yourself as a photographer and then it just steamrolls from there.
We’ve all heard of the imposter syndrome. There’s no room for that in what you’re doing. Whatever it is that you’re choosing to do with photography, you’re on the right path. Don’t let anybody else tell you anything differently. Okay? You had a brilliant idea. You were like, “I want to do something for myself. I want to be my own boss. I want to be able to do it, enjoy myself, and put money in the bank without having to give up the things that I love.” I don’t think that that’s a crazy idea. I think that that’s a worthy idea.
Just do it.
Number one, doing things. I do things all the time and guess what? I fail. All the time. That’s okay. I don’t beat myself up for it. It is more about consistency so that you can stoke your creativity and so that you can gain more confidence in what it is that you’re doing. I do new things every single day. I am constantly trying to think of new and different ways that I can incorporate new and different things into everything that I do.
Now, my husband actually likes to call those E Beth right turns. I’m constantly trying to challenge myself with new things and now I’m not afraid to challenge myself. That took time. It took a lot of experience in challenging myself and being okay with failing.
Confidence comes with knowledge. Knowledge comes from learning and doing. Doing equals experience. Experience equals confidence. I talk to a lot of people, they’re like, “Well, yeah, I haven’t done it enough so I don’t really have a lot of experience and so I really don’t feel confident in what I’m doing.” I say, “Well, how often are you trying to create new shoots for yourself? How often are you doing content shoots where you’re just simply practicing?”
I’m telling you, any time you tell somebody that you would like to photograph them, complimentary, they’re going to jump in front of your camera before you can even say snap. You have to practice and you have to gain experience because obviously the most experience you have, the more confidence you are going to have in whatever it is that you’re choosing to do.
You have to get out there. You have to be able to ask people if it’s okay if you photograph them. I’m sure you’ve got siblings, you’ve got friends, you have to be okay with asking and you have to be really, really committed to getting experience.
A desire to be in charge.
When I first started in boudoir photography, I was the last person in the room that was in charge of anything. My clients told me what to do. I was just like, “Okay.” But then, I realized that letting them be in charge meant that I had tripled the amount of editing because I was taking triple the amount of photos and also, they couldn’t see what I could see. So, they were putting themselves in poses and putting themselves in different wardrobe pieces that were not flattering but I would take the photo anyway because I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. It also cost me money because my clients constantly asked for discounts. They constantly tried to find ways to knock off a few bucks and if you’re not confident, the first thing you’re going to say is okay.
I don’t want to lose anymore money. Lastly, I didn’t want to re-shoot. I didn’t want my clients coming back to me and saying, “Well, I didn’t like what I-” then I say, “But you were-” but they’re like, “You’re the photographer.” They were right. These things combined made me stand up for myself to my clients. Now, I’m in charge. I say what goes. That gave me confidence. When my clients walk into my studio, they instantly know who’s in charge. They like that, you guys. No kidding. There isn’t a client that wants to walk in and take control. They have no idea what they’re doing. They want you to be confident and in control. Don’t feel like you’re going to offend somebody by taking control of your own photo shoots. You’re the professional. You know what you’re doing and you got this.
You should love your work 75 to 80% of the time.
20 to 25% of the time, you should be really insecure about your work because this is what is going to keep you moving, keep you shaking and keep you hustling. If your ego is driving everything that you do and you just think that there’s nothing more that you can do to perfect yourself, then you’re on the wrong boat. You are always going to be learning new things. You are always going to look back on some of your work and think, “Oh my gosh, that sucks.” That’s okay because that’s what’s going to keep you committed and productive and starting new things and creating new things and trying new things and getting the experience that you want and nailing it the way you want to nail it. I’ve been photographing for 14 years and I’m not kidding you, probably just the past five years, I started to actually enjoy my photography.
There are two areas of confidence: Photography and business.
Typically, most people are confident in one but not the other. That’s okay. Focus on the one that you are totally confident in. Put your energy into that one, whether it’s your business, knowing the business side of things, or your photography if you feel good about it. Put your confidence in that area because the more time, the more energy that you put into those areas, the more confidence you’re going to build in that area and that’s going to leak over confidence in the other area. Just refocus.
A lot of people will say, “Oh, that person is so confident. That person has it all together. I wish I could be that confident.” I’m here to tell you that most people that exude that much confidence are usually pretty insecure on the inside. That’s not a bad thing. That does not make them a bad person. I’m just letting you know that just because somebody appears to be super duper confident, doesn’t mean that they don’t have insecurities. Okay? We’re all human. We’re all making mistakes all the time. We’re all failing and then we’re all getting back up and we’re all trying again. Quit comparing yourself to other people. Confidence comes with time and experience and it’s going to happen for you too.
The loudest person in the room is usually the least confident. Just remember that. The most confident person in the room doesn’t need to be loud, they’re confident. I am confident in very specific areas and I am a total wreck in others. That’s what makes me have a heartbeat. That’s what makes me human. My thing is that I am completely genuine and I’m authentic and that’s how I get clients through my door. Now, yeah, I do take good photos, I’m not going to lie. If I didn’t take good photos, then I wouldn’t have any clients but that goes without saying, because if I didn’t take good photos, then it ends right there. My greatest gift is that my authenticity and my genuine nature is what comes across. It comes across that I’m a total dork, that I mess things up all the time, and that I have a raunchy sense of humor. These things work for me. In everyone of you, there’s going to be something that works for you too, you just got to find what it is.
You have to know your passion because you’re never going to earn a dime chasing a dollar. You have to know what you’re in this for and you have to know what your gift is that you are going to be able to give your clients. That is what is most important.
Ask yourself these four questions.
Number one. Why are you getting into photography or why do you do it now? What is your motivation? Write it down. Get your journal out, kids.
Number two. What is your main passion and what motivates you?
Number three. When is the last time you inspired someone and how? How can you apply this to your business?
Number four. List three things you are confident in yourself, and it doesn’t have to have anything to do with photography, but I want you to list three things that you are confident in about yourself.
How can you apply that to your business?
What can you do every single day to push yourself forward? Can you do one Instagram post? Can you do one blog post? Can you do something on your personal Facebook account? Can you do two practice shoots a month? Could you possibly, maybe invest in an educational course? Think about what it is that you can do to further yourself.
Now, when you write all of this down, I want you to go back and I want you to revisit each and every one of these answers because this is what’s going to clue you in to yourself and what motivates you, what your passion is, and why you’re doing this in the first place. Once you see those answers, you’re going to gain confidence. No excuses. I have heard every excuse in the book as to why someone is going to fail at their own business. The truth of the matter is is that every person standing to your left and to your right, has just as much of a chance of failing at opening a photography business as you do. There are no excuses because there are a lot of successful photographers out there and if they can do it, you can do it too.