Wedding Photography: Being an Introvert in an Extrovert Profession
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Jeremy Nielsen of Given Ideas Visual Productions based in Canada.]
Let’s face it. As artists, a good proportion of us are introverts. We like the hours of time at the computer, at the easel or in the studio. With a little music and some coffee, our artistic minds thrive. We are able to explore and create without the views of prying eyes. It’s not that we don’t enjoy our friends or hate the world, but we simply function better when we are alone or in small groups. So, what are the consequences when our artistic profession forces us to spend hours upon hours socializing in large crowds, having to consistently voice our opinion and artistic vision all while being professional? If you are anything like me, after shooting a wedding, you are almost always completely drained physically and emotionally, filled with doubts and sometimes leading to depression for the remainder of the week.
With this past week being Mental Health Awareness Week (at least here in Canada) and with the wedding season just around the corner I wanted to share some tips on how I cope with this as an introvert.
1. Gear Down
I know it’s obvious, but often after a large shoot it’s important to stop and recharge those batteries of yours (I’m not speaking of your camera batteries). Take the time to care for yourself and slow down. Those photos can wait. Whether it’s some Netflix or jumping into a good book, you need to recover. Also, this cooling off period will allow you to look the photos freshly.
2. Friend Up
Another huge thing is community. Your first reaction will be to go solo for as long as possible, hide in your studio and binge eat. Don’t. Some alone time is okay but if you aren’t careful that can bring you down. For me, personally, I will stay in almost constant contact with my second shooter after a wedding.
This allows her to stay involved in the project, as well as protect against negativity. In short, make sure you have someone around to talk to for first few days after a large shoot. Be honest with them and let them know where you are at.
3. Chin Up
I have spent many weeks in the “pits.” Over time, I have learned to see my strengths as an introvert and not allow the over whelming negativity that I can feel after wedding. Those doubts will get you down ONLY if you let them. Whether it’s post-it notes on your computer screen with positive quotes or reminders to smile, what is important is that you don’t let the negative affect the positive.
4. Break It Up
You’ve started to edit your hundreds of photos and it’s overwhelming. This is another huge factor in the anxiety that can set in after an intense shoot. You have pressure from the client, you want to get the project delivered as soon as possible all the while doing it to the best of your ability. Sitting at the desk for fifteen straight hours is not going to help. It’s important that you take breaks, stretch your legs and refresh that mind of yours. I personally break a wedding edit into four groups: Prep shots, Ceremony shots, formal shots and reception. These I divide into three steps: Culling, light edits and final edits. To avoid feeling overwhelmed I’ll only allow myself to do three steps at a time before taking a break (e.g. Cull the prep photos, light edit the formals, final edit the reception and then take a break).
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5. Gear Up Slow
Once the photos have been delivered and you have another shoot around the corner, it’s easy to go from 0% to 100% in no time flat. Be sure to allow yourself time to ease back into the regiment.
As creatives, we love what we do. Creating memories that will be passed on for generations to come. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, especially for an introvert. Ensure you take the time to care for yourself and you will thrive along with your work.