Photographers – inspiration; overcoming fears & maintaining momentum
It was high time that I updated my bio photo on my websites and profile photos. I wanted something casual, yet with a certain gravity. While at WPPI last week in Las Vegas, I was surrounded by photographers. I asked … well, prodded and pushed my friend Annie Sullivan to take a series of photos in various locations inside the MGM. This is the photo I settled on. We have other photos that are equally good, and less serious, but this one really says “I’m the one who knocks…” So this is now going across my websites.
Annie was hesitant to take on the task of shooting new bio photos for me. Apparently I can be intimidating. But it’s often a high pressure event to take another photographers’ photos – you feel like you’re being scrutinized. She admitted to being scared witless at the start of it, and then again when I posted this photo. As she told me afterwards, “I have confidence in myself as a human, it’s my work I struggle with. If I’m honest, I’m just afraid people will be like “she needs to go work in a toll booth.””
This ties in with a regular theme with photographers, experienced and less experienced – fear of failure holding you back. Getting out of your own safety zone, and trying the new and unexpected – these are tough hurdles to overcome.
However, in the inspiring words of Eleanor Roosevelt: We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face … we must do that which we think we cannot.
It really is as simple as that – systematically attempting things which we would rather not because they are too difficult. Or scary. Or too much like hard work. Then, in addition to that, we need the energy to maintain momentum. This is why personal photography projects & goals are so good to have – things we do for fun to inspire us, and make us reach further.
Staying on track & keeping momentum
While we’re quoting Eleanor Roosevelt, one of her sayings made a huge impression on me the first time I read it:
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
How true is that? If you think of friends and acquaintances you have – there is a pattern that people who are negative will talk badly about others and gossip. People who reach higher and are successful, are usually the ones who are brimming with ideas. The ones who would rather consider “how do we change this?”, instead of whining about a problem.
Is someone else doing better than you are at either the craft or the business? Don’t resent them for their success. Instead, it should motivate you to do better. It is something you aren’t doing, or it is something you need to be doing better. That’s where the focus should be.
Whenever I feel myself slump into negativity, I remind myself of this truth – great minds discuss ideas. That is where the energy is. That is where the upward trajectory starts – ideas and concepts and projects.
As an aside – chatting the one evening at WPPI with a few people who are prominent in the photography industry, I took to heart something that Roy Ashen of TripleScoopMusic said. In an interview he was asked about his marketing strategy in having created a successful business. He laughed when they were surprised at his answer – his business strategy is built on a simple idea: be nice to everyone and help people were you can.
Again, such a clear truth. Be nice to everyone and help people where you can. Now couple that with: great minds discuss ideas … and add consistent hard work. That’s the road to success.
Camera settings & photo gear (or equivalents) uses during this photo session
- 1/640 @ f/1.8 @ 1600 ISO
- What’s holding you back?
- What have YOU done today for your business?
- Photographers, you don’t know anything
- 85mm – the best lens to change your portrait photography
If you’re not familiar with WPPI – Wedding & Portrait Photographers International – they are an organization with a mission to educate and help raise standards in the photography community. They are well worth joining and being a part of. Oh, the best part for me about WPPI is the annual convention in Las Vegas – a perfect time to meet other photographers and network. Oh, and to party! Always the parties.
This year (2015) I was invited to present a MasterClass, as well as a Photo Walk. Thank you to everyone who attended and came up to chat.
I found it interesting that there were so many new photographers who attended, eager to learn and improve.
The Master-Class was on the topic of dealing with challenging lighting scenarios we find at weddings. In the presentation I discussed the thought-process and practical steps to develop and achieve consistency with your wedding candids and portraits when facing difficult scenarios.
For the Photo Walk, there were two models, and I brought my Profoto B1 and a bunch of triggers along. We had fun with off-camera lighting indoors and outdoors. Again, thank you to everyone who came along.