Our industry is tough and can sometimes require a very thick skin. In this article I’ll be delving into that premise and giving a recent personal example in which a thick skin was most definitely necessary.
The Complexity Of Our Chosen Field
From cameras to lighting, software to editing, there is so much to learn in photography. In addition, there are always multiple ways to accomplish the same thing. You’ll often find, if you step into the world of commercial photography, that practices can be extremely different from what is discussed online. The theory is the same, but the manner in which it is put into practice varies drastically.
The mark of an experienced photographer is being able to make do with what is presented to them; one whom can turn any situation into a winning one. From my experience, that kind of knowledge/skill can only be acquired over time. Hence, not only is our chosen field complex in terms of technology, but so too does it require a great deal of experience, which, clearly, you cannot gain overnight.
What can this complexity mean? In short, it means that many people will give up. If not, then there is no doubt that for years you will feel out of your depth; I know I do. Whether it be your inexperience photographing weddings, or fashion shoots, in a commercial studio environment, photographing children, products, and so on, I have no doubt that your resolve as a photographer (professional or not) will repeatedly be challenged.
A Recent Experience Of My Own
I had an important trial day at a company I was extremely passionate about freelancing for. Without going into all the detail, the day did not go well. There were many reasons for this and objectively I can easily justify why this occurred. This was, however, the biggest such knock my confidence has taken since I began my photographic journey and brought the essence of this article into sharp focus.
Our businesses, for better or worse, are intrinsically linked to us. Their success or failure becomes a method by which we measure ourselves. Therefore, it’s easy to understand why a business hit affects us more than your average worker; it means so much more to us because it is us. The danger is that we allow this to stop us in our tracks, we’re unable to shake it off and get back on the horse.
What Can I Do About This?
You may have been nodding your head throughout this article but the problem remains: what can we do about this? As referenced at the start, there is nothing you can do about getting more experience, except, of course, going out and getting more experience. Aside from that, there’s education. If you regularly read my articles, you’ll know how much I value education for the skills you can gain AND the confidence it can bring.
The internet is now brimming with places to learn all sorts of relevant and often highly specific knowledge. For instance, if you shoot weddings, SLR Lounge have tons of courses for you. Anything from “Photographing The Groom” to creating Stunning Stitched Panoramas. You can find it all in the SLR Lounge Store here. Whether we cater for your needs or not, I highly encourage you to seek out the best education you can to advance your knowledge and, of equal importance, your confidence.
Finally, there’s the aspect which we all need to have to some extent; a thick skin. You NEED to be able to weather the emotional storm that being a business owner can be. Persevere, push through the mistakes, learn from them, and continue to grow yourself, your skills, and ultimately your photography business.
We do not fail when we make mistakes. We only fail by giving up.