Monday, January 12, 2015

Fears in Photography: How to Overcome.

Fear. It’s a strong, uncontrollable, unpleasant emotion caused by actual or perceived danger or threat.
Even the most courageous people (and photographers are among them) have fears to overcome. Luckily, it’s possible.
“When you face your fear, most of the time you will discover that it was not really such a big threat after all.” (Les Brown)
Here’s the list of fears in photography:

1.The Fear: Comparing yourself to other photographers, you are afraid you are not good enough.
Well, first of all, you are not alone. All people have bad days and moments of self-doubt. Maybe almost all photographers compare their own work with that of other photographers.
“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
(Albert Einstein)
How to Overcome It:
Remind yourself that all photographers start somewhere and even famous photographers didn’t know how to operate a camera at the beginning of their work.
Recognize that everyone is unique. Instead of comparing yourself to others compare yourself to yourself.
See what you have achieved and what progress you have made.

2.The Fear: You are afraid your gear is not good enough.
 There are those shooters that are fond of giving so-called “good advice”. You will hear that you are using the wrong lens, or the wrong camera brand, or your camera is too old, and so on…
But does a better camera make you a better photographer? You don’t think so, do you? And by the way, most camera gear updates every couple of years. That’s why we can say that it’s impossible to have the best gear.
Even if your gear is not the newest, so what?  Do you have a feeling of inferiority?

How to overcome it.
 “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. (is usually ascribed  to Eleanor Roosevelt).
 If you feel uncertain of yourself, it is a good pointer to remember.

3. The fear: You want to become a street photographer but you are afraid to photograph people.
Almost every street photographer has some fear to photograph strangers. You don’t know the reaction you’ll get. The strangers might try to grab your camera, or to insult you.

How to overcome it:
You might want to ask a permission to photograph. You might go to a place where other people are carrying their cameras (parks, markets, places full of tourists) (It was my way to learn street photography).

The more you take photographs the less frightening it will become.  
“We're afraid. It's because we don't know enough. If we understood enough, we would never be afraid.” (Earl Nightingale).

“You have to learn how to be in scary areas, make those comfortable, then go to the next scary area and make it comfortable...”(Linda Seger).
4. The fear: You are afraid people won’t like your work.
There are two cases: your photos are really crappy; your photos are good (from your point of view), but people don’t like them.

How to overcome it:
Remember that almost all photographers take some really crappy photos. Take it easy. If you understand that photos are crappy and if you understand why they are crappy (this is the main point), it’s the way for you to improve your photography, learning from your mistakes.
Learn from Ansel Adams. “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.”
If one of the most influential American photographers considered that twelve good images in an entire year is a good crop, having six-seven good photos per year can be not so bad result for others. (More lessons from this great photographer you can read here).

If people don’t like your favorite photos… Remember that photography is very subjective. Each viewer has his/her own experience, predilections. Tastes differ.
Do your work as best you can, the rest is out of your control.
“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” (Joseph Chilton Pearce)
“Fear melts when you take action toward a goal you really want.” (Robert G. Allen)

Thank you for reading!

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Thank you.