Back in the day, it was easy to spot a photographer: they were the only ones who had cameras. Nowadays everyone has a camera and speaks proudly about their photographs. Furthermore, photography may be a full-time job or an artistic expression. Receiving money for your photos isn’t the only thing that makes one a professional photographer. While taking a photo becomes easier than ever, it becomes harder than ever to trust your photography and call yourself a professional photographer. Check out the following tips to build confidence and improve your photography.
Expose to Art
You’ll never know whether your photos are good if you don’t compare them with existing art. Famous painters can teach you a thing or two about composition and color. Famous photographers can teach you the art of photography, work ethics, and the profound philosophy behind their photos. There are always stories to tell, landscapes to admire, and messages to infuse with color and texture.
Expose yourself to art, observe what you like and dislike, and allow yourself to feel and have opinions. Think about what you would have done differently or the same. And among the huge volume of art out there, find your unique aesthetic and voice.
Print and Look at Your Photographs
You may be thinking, “I know my photos by heart. Why do I have to look at them?” And you are right. You know your photos and know exactly what you intended to convey. But did you succeed? While being objective when looking at your photographs would be impossible, you should at least try. Start with old photos you don’t remember well, and move on to newer ones. See how your compositions have changed, whether you’ve found new subject matters, and if your aesthetic has remained the same.
Photography is a journey. Looking at your photographs helps you understand each step of the journey. Maybe it was a new lens that changed your perspective. Maybe you fell in love with a particular subject or became interested in a topic. All these are written in your portfolio. And understanding where you come from and where you want to go builds confidence like nothing else.
Expose to the Public
If you don’t show your photographs to anyone, you won’t be criticized. It’s safe. However, if you don’t step outside your comfort zone, you won’t build the confidence you need as an artist. Start by printing and showing one photo to a friend or family member. Ask for their honest opinion without giving any detail about the photograph.
At the same time, notice their body language, mood, and feelings. Watch their reaction to your photograph closely because it says more than their words. They may say you are an outstanding photographer because they love you. But their physical reaction will show you they are anxious, bored, eager to change the subject, condescending, or unimpressed.
Once you’ve made peace with the first negative feedback, you are ready to become slightly more vulnerable. Create an online portfolio, share your photos on social media, or enroll in a photo competition. Try to learn something from all the feedback you receive, good and bad. People relate differently to photography. This exposure will help you become confident enough to trust your intuition and learn new ways to reach your audience.
Confidence opens many doors. But it’s not enough to boost your confidence and consider your work better than everyone else’s. Your photography should be artful, your storytelling skills at high levels, and your technical skills impeccable. Learning photography never ends. Find the right mindset and follow your journey with confidence, respect, and hard work.