Becoming a photographer can be a lonely and isolating experience, especially in the beginning. Long hours of editing , sitting alone in front of a computer can leave us feeling just a little bit socially retarded. When you are inexperienced, alone and unsure of yourself. Finding cheerleaders is a serious confidence booster, but it takes a long time to become recognized for what you do, how can you stay encouraged while building your business and brand? In the beginning you can be a cheerleader for yourself.
1. Like a flower, confidence must tended and cared for to bloom and grow. Giving thanks while you wake is a great practice that helps you to see the value in yourself and your life. I spend about five minutes in bed stretching my limbs, and deeply and specifically thinking about the things I am blessed with. Imagining how lucky I will be to have a rich cup of coffee, looking over at Koy and thinking about what a good partner he is to me, and how lucky we are to have such beautiful and healthy children. I think about how abundant my life is, and I appreciate it as I get out of bed. This action alone sets the tone for my day, making me more upbeat and optimistic.
2. Starting your work day with a little education and inspiration is a great idea. I spend ten minutes reading and learning a new photography or business skill, being more educated always builds confidence. Work on your skills every single day, even if it is a simple lesson They will accrue over time, and when you look back you will truly see how far you have come. Another confidence building skill is to read about people like Albert Einstein, Stephen King, and Tyler Perry to name a few. People who we now know posses amazing, undeniable talents just like you, but just because a few people in the beginning of their careers did not recognize that talent were considered failures, and experienced rejection. Stories like these can help you to be your own cheerleader by showing you, when you are pursuing and developing your god-given gifts with all of your heart, your destiny will eventually be achieved. It also reinforces that the hard times, are normal not many just hit the road to success running, it takes a lot of hard work, and most of all falling down. You gotta get really good at brushing yourself off and getting back up no matter how many times you fall.
3. Be cheerleaders for others, send them business, help them succeed, and you will soon find yourself surrounded by people who genuinely want to see you succeed. Make friends and partners with others in your industry. Everyone is not your competition, as a matter of fact unless you have a clone out there….. no one is. No one will ever be you- you are the only artist who can produce the work you do, people can take that or they can leave it. As soon as you learn that, you will book more jobs, have better self-confidence and produce your best work. I will not hesitate to recommend a photographer friend to a client that is not a good fit for me, I want all of my clients to be happy with finished product, and if my style of photography is not a fit I will happily send them to someone else who is better suited.
Never Always look back. Every year create an album, keep samples of your graphic design, your price menu, and most importantly your portfolio. I call them my yearbooks, and have several. When I look back at my first year as a Wedding Photographer, I feel so inspired and encouraged. Seeing how far my work has progressed fuels me to work even harder, accelerating my progress. Looking back allows you to pat yourself on the back, and say congratulations for a job well done, something we don’t do often enough.
How do you cheer yourself on? What inspires you to get through tough days when you are criticized?
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Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, Lexington, Thomasville, and Kernersville Wedding Photography, Shanna Duffy
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