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How to Build Confidence as a Photographer: Part Two
Photography Ideas

How to build confidence as a photographer | Part 2 via Click it Up a Notch

After I wrote my post about how to build confidence as a photographer, I thought of a few more ways and wanted to share them with you.

1. Share Yourself.

I really believe in sharing.  For this example, I’m talking about sharing your talent.  Most people would say that if they could save anything from their burning home, it would be their photographs.  As photographers, I think we do something really special.  So I say share your gift.  Yes, share, even if you are in business.  Here are a few ideas on how you can share your talents:

-Take your camera to a friend’s birthday party and take a few pictures. I’m not talking about 200 of photos of the entire event.  Take 1 or 2 of the whole family while blowing out candles so your friend can be in the photos with her birthday child instead of taking the pictures.

-Bring your camera to the park and take photos of your Mom friends pushing their children on the swings.

-Visiting friends overnight? Take some shots in their house of them and their family in their own surroundings.
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-Offer to take your best friend and her family to a park and take some photos for them together.

-If you are in business, go to the park for an hour (with your biz cards) and offer to take a photo or two of families spending time together.  Ask them to e-mail you for the photo. No strings attached. If they ask you why, tell them you are “paying it forward.”  Tell them you just finished up a family session a while ago and wanted to keep shooting.  You might have people turn you down—but putting yourself out there is a confidence builder in itself.  Conquer your fear of rejection by staring it right in the face.  You’ll live. Promise.

I’m talking about maybe 5 minutes of your time. Nothing huge to you.  But it usually ends up being huge to them because everyone loves photographs of their family.

Here’s the thing about sharing. It is ALWAYS going to make you feel as good as the person on the receiving end of your talents.   The person receiving the photograph will probably gush about how wonderful the photo is and is sure to appreciate it.  When I find myself low on confidence when it comes to photography, this is the first thing I do. I start finding a way to make photography about others instead of myself.  It works every.single.time.

2. Fail. And then turn it around.

I started a Project 365 in November. I quit on March 31st. No reason, no excuses. Just an epic failure. I thought about just erasing the whole project from my blog because it’s kind of embarrassing that I totally failed at something I said I would do.

And then I realized I was missing something bigger than failing at a Project 365.

I ROCKED A PROJECT 150!

Flip your failures around.  Shake them out. Find the lesson. Turn your so-called failure into a temporary defeat.

3. Reshoot.

When I got my very first DSLR, I was so amazed at the kind of pictures I was now able to take.  I was pretty sure I was going to be the next Ansel Adams..  When I look at those photos now, I cringe and laugh at how great I thought were.

Every so often, I pull out a photo I took in the beginning of my photography journey and try to re-create it now with all the knowledge and skills I’ve acquired along the way.

April 2010
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April 2013
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It is sure to boost your confidence when you see how much you’ve grown in your craft.

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17 Comments
  • August 8, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    Thank you for this article! I needed to read this today :-)

  • August 8, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    what good advice! i’m in the process of making “shutterbug” cards instead of business card because i don’t have a business yet — building on it ! :) and i have been bringing my camera with me wherever i go.
    thank you for writing this!

  • August 8, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    Thank you for share these tips!! I always find myself in trouble talking to strangers, #1 will surely be a good tip to help myself open up.

  • August 8, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    thank you! great advice!

  • Jill
    August 8, 2014 at 9:53 PM

    I LOVE the idea of re-creating an old shot using improved skills. My photography was pretty brutal in the beginning (and I have miles and miles to go) – it would be nice to see how far I have already come.

  • August 8, 2014 at 10:02 PM

    great great article, love the paying forward part. Have to get the courage up to do that and go for it!
    Thanks for great ideas

  • Jess
    August 8, 2014 at 11:57 PM

    Thanks so much for this. I really enjoyed it. Point number one struck a cord with me, to take photos of my friends and to give them the photos. I do photography as a hobby and this is a neat way to make someones day. Thank you!

  • August 9, 2014 at 7:22 AM

    These are fabulous tips! I have a hard time with confidence and recently went through a time period where I seemed to have stopped taking pictures all together (a couple of months, but it seemed like forever to me!) And then it occurred to me that brilliant photographers are not born that way…practice, practice, practice! And as long as I’m having fun with it, isn’t that what matters?

    Thanks so much for these posts! :D

  • August 10, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    Thank you. This was a great read. I have just started my 365 and already I am questioning whether or not I will finish it. I just loved your progress comparison shots because I know that I am taking the kinds that you started out with. I really REALLY hope that mine end up half as good as yours are now. I just loved your April 2013 picture. x

  • August 14, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    Brilliant tips… especially like the idea of recreating images taken when we were first starting out! Thanks

  • August 14, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    Great articles for beginners. Life is about sharing and making happy people ;)

  • August 16, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    Thank you for some great tips on building confidence as a photographer! ♥ I worked very hard for just over two years to build my skill, then lost my camera to a tragic Pepsi-related death, and didn’t take a single photo for over a year. When I went back to it with a new camera, I purchased one that I ended up mostly hating, so didn’t use it often. I finally FINALLY saved enough to buy my first DSLR, and I love it!!! ♥ But I struggle with confidence because I know that as pretty as my images turn out NOW, they’re inferior to what I hope to eventually be shooting. And in light of that, I’m struggling with the decision to offer my work publicly (for hire), because while I know I produce beautiful work…I want to produce INCREDIBLE work, and I’m not there yet. But how to get there without shooting…??? Everyone I’ve done work for (unpaid) has loved it, but even family still recommend other local photographers when asked (on Facebook, knowing I can see their posts, and apparently not aware it’s hurtful??), so my confidence is about nill right now.

  • August 26, 2014 at 12:30 AM

    this is actually really good. I think I’m going to try to do these things more often. Mostly the reshoot. It’s something so simple but so refreshing and lovely.

  • Donna Niemann
    December 14, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    Great article! Thanks for sharing these great tips!

  • Adriane
    December 14, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    I LOVE #1! Before I ever even dreamed of photographing anything other than my own family, I used to take along my camera to my son’s daycare parties and make sure to send pictures of all of the kids to the respective parents. A few months ago, one of the parents emailed me back to thank me and ask if I could do family photos for them. They became my first shoot! And I can’t tell you what an important milestone that has been to me in my photography journey.

  • joseph
    April 15, 2015 at 11:50 AM

    Email me more tips please

  • Thought Creep
    May 3, 2016 at 1:48 AM

    Awesome advice. I have been doing landscape and architecture for several years now. Since getting my new DSLR I wanted to try portraits, however, trying to find subjects have proved difficult. I’ve offered co-workers free 8 x 10’s just so I can practice, to no avail unfortunately. I’ve been to parks shooting buildings and distant shots of men fishing, but never thought of the approach you mentioned in your article. Thank you so much for this great advice. I know what I’m doing this weekend. thoughtcreep.com to see/critique some of my work.

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