Every single one of us will doubt our photography skills at one point or another - in fact, I would say it is at least a yearly occurrence for me 😀
It also doesn't seem to matter whether you are completely new to photography, or been shooting for a while, there will always come a time when we feel doubt creeping up on us, and it can be paralysing.
Understanding how to keep moving forward, even when you doubt your ability, is key to making sure that you carry on on your photography journey, and achieve your goal of becoming a photographer.
So today's blog "tutorial" is a little different, in that we are going to learn how to keep yourself moving forward, even when you feel those doubts creeping in...
#1 Accept that it is a process
I'm sure we have all had moments where we have felt like we are on fire - we are eager to learn, the camera is co-operating, and we seem to be flying through our photography journey, delighted with what we have captured.
And then on other days….
...we don’t even know WHAT to photograph as it’s all been done before, the camera is refusing to co-operate and just wants to do it’s own thing, and you are starting to realise just how much you DON’T know and there is just too freakin’ much to learn, and actually, your photographs are not that great at all now that you look at them again….
Here’s the thing with photography:
EVERYTHING is connected, which means that with every single skill you learn, it will inevitably lead onto something else that you don’t know. (And if that is NOT happening to you, you are either an expert, or you are not moving forward 😀)
It’s not that you are doing anything wrong, it’s just that you are still in the process of learning your skills. Have faith that with each step you learn, it is taking you one step closer to your goal, even if sometimes it feels like you spinning in circles.
And if you look back on the photos that you once thought were brilliant and think “What was I thinking?!” then that is fantastic - because it means you are farther along the process than you were when you took those photos!
#2 Learn in small steps
It's incredibly easy to feel lost and overwhelmed when you are still in that learning process.
There is so much information available online, either in forums, articles or blogs, that we can get overloaded with “noise” - so much so that we get bogged down with stuff we shouldn’t even be worrying about just yet, which in turn, makes us feel like we are failing, when we are doing anything but.
Take a step back and work out a learning path for yourself, breaking down the whole process into smaller steps. Breaking it down into short, manageable chunks makes it feel less overwhelming and much more doable, plus it will stop you meandering down paths that aren’t helping you right now and are actually STOPPING you from reaching your goal.
Make a list all the things you need to work on, then work on each step individually until you feel comfortable with it. Then when you have learnt a few of your steps, go back and review the first ones again - you’ll be amazed by how much more it sticks when you can see how it all connects.
Not sure what you should be learning next? Then grab the freebie that goes along with this post, my 90 DAY Photography Learning Blueprint. This free (and highly actionable!) cheat sheet will walk you through what you need to learn in photography, and in what order, so that you have a complete blueprint to refer to! Go here to grab it.
#3 - Stop Comparing Your Journey to Others
Nothing can kill off the joy of learning photography faster than comparing our work to others.
I’m not actually talking about comparing ourselves to the “rock star” photographers out there, because when you are starting out the gap seems to be wide enough that we don’t tend to worry about it too much.
It seems to be worse when we compare ourselves to others who are on the same path at the same time as us, and they seem to skip forward, getting better and better, whilst you feel like you are just treading water.
What happens here is that you, again, start to feel as though you are failing, and that feeling can stop you from moving forward.
I know you have heard it before, but remember that we all go at our own pace.
Some people will understand the technical concepts quickly and easily, whilst others think that their must be something wrong with them because Aperture and Depth of Field makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Some people are naturally creative, whilst others need to work on it.
Some people will take courses, or have one on one mentors, whilst others will try to go it alone.
It’s not fair or helpful to compare yourself to others, when you have no idea what they are doing to move forward, or what they have personally had to overcome.
Maybe their images were also soft and out of focus, but realising that it wasn’t going to get better just by practising the WRONG thing over and over again, they took the time to learn what steps they needed to take. Maybe now they are struggling with composition because all their images look the same, but because you aren’t there yet, you can’t see those flaws and what they are NOW having trouble with.
When you see someone’s image and start to compare, try to change your train of thought from negative into positive: because if they have done it that means you can too, all you need to do is consider HOW you are going to get there.
It won't happen just by practising, so be proactive and find out what you need to LEARN instead, and then practise what you have learnt.
Another thing that you might find helpful is look at the progression of other photographers, and see that they ALL overcame their challenges.
We have a few inspiring case studies right here on the blog you can check out, from people who had different ways of learning, and different struggles, so make sure you give them a read (including my story should you wish to read it!)
Before you go, don’t forget to sign up to the Live Snap Love mailing list, and get your hands on that learning blueprint - you’ll kick yourself in about a week if you don’t :-)