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Confessions of a Photographer

As professional photographers we are putting ourselves out there to be critiqued – okay so that seems really obvious now that I typed it! What is not obvious is the emotions that tag along with that fact… And I really hope I’m not alone on this one! {blush} Somedays I’m on a complete high – everything is great, I feel good, work is coming in, editing is going well,  a new positively brilliant idea has struck me… I feel like shouting, “I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER & I’m DANG PROUD OF IT!”  But oh how quickly this can all turn in a severe direction that I don’t appreciate in the slightest! Although maybe I should since it always pushes me to be greater! 

Here’s the most recent episode….
I did a shoot, I felt like it went really well! I was shooting a couple, tiny baby and two dogs… It was a bit challenging to get the dogs and baby all in the right spot but I over compensated by taking hundreds of pictures to have more choice. Had a blast with them, went home loaded my memory card and found 70 images worth editing, sent client an email saying thanks and how great the shots are and that I’ll never be able to keep it to 15-30 images.  No response comes, normally I get an almost instant reply from this client, start to worry that maybe they didn’t feel it went as well as they wanted. Get a few into CS4 to start editing for the sneak peak and all of a sudden they just don’t look that great. Suddenly I feel a little nervous that they may not be happy enough with them (I mean the sneak peak is my favs so if those are suddenly faltering, I can’t imagine what I’m going to think of the rest).  I mean I know I can always redo the shoot and I’m happy to offer a do-over to any client who is absolutely happy! But thats certainly not the goal! Now that my ‘I’m a pretty awesome photographer’ high is crashing I suddenly become junk with photoshop as well. Everything quickly spirals and I feel inadequate and unsure WHY I CALL MYSELF A PHOTOGRAPHER AT ALL? 
Every once in a while I get caught in this rut, and no matter what I try to do I can’t get out, the tires just spin and spin… It’s never until someone else comes and gives me a little push of encouragement that I seem to be able to get myself back out of it and become that photographer that has the brilliant ideas again. 
I wonder how much of this happens to me because of being a new photographer and how much is just who I am? Will these little episodes come much more far and few between as I grow, improve and become more consistent? Or is this part of a creative mind, that nobody is more critical of our work than us. Will we always push and tear our selves apart at the hint of mistake and is it all part of the journey to reaching that pinnacle of being the best photographer that you or I can be? 
I know I don’t have all the answers! The photographer that I am now… And the one I want to be are worlds apart from one another. I also know when I do get that magical shot that makes my heart flutter it’s all worth it! I’m going to keep working until those shots out number the heart falling ones. 
It’s all I can do.


  1. Jennalou says:

    I think this is just part of being self employed. I can't relate directly to photography, but with my business I felt many of these same feelings and pressures. It's definitly gotten much easier as time goes on and more days feel good than bad… and the bad are farther inbetween. I think it's good that we want to improve our crafts, but at the same time you always have to take a step back and try to see it as others would… we are often too harsh on ourselves.

    Thanks for sharing… it's nice to have a reminder that others have off days too.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don't know the person that wrote this, but at this moment I was having these exact same thoughts which makes me feel bipolar. Ups and downs, Highs and Lows. This is the life of a photographer and it's nice to hear someone else express the feelings I never want to actually say. Thank you.

  3. Cheryn says:

    I think you are probably more critical of your work than you realize. You have natural talent. Of course there is a learning curve and while you have already learned a lot you will find things that didn't work so well as well as things that are amazing! You wouldn't appreciate the good without the challenges. It pushes you to progress in a positive direction. Just keep your chin up and try not to get discouraged. If you believe in yourself others will too. LOVES!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for saying what I often feel. it is nice to know that I am not the only self depricating photog in the lot. Sometimes I feel looney, the way I go from up to down, but it makes me feel a lot more stable knowing that it is normal. Thanks

  5. Shannon says:

    OMG you took the words right out of my mouth!!! I completely agree and hope this feeling goes away once were super pro's lol 🙂

  6. Valerie says:

    You are not alone, I've been there before. And quite honestly. A lot of times!! Always took me a while to get over similar situations.

    We really care for our work and to the point where we are just as critical to it as women to their bodies.

    It will get better overtime. I promise. 🙂

  7. Denise says:

    Oh that felt like me writing that myself. I had that exact thing happen to me about 2 weeks ago after my 2 newborn shoots. I was not happy with the photos myself and although the parents loved them I didn't feel like I could charge for them so I gave them the High Res CD's for free. I know I am so hard on myself being a perfectionist and all but sometimes you have those days when the lighting is bad, your "off" as I call it and how things just don't work out.

    Although that day I did question if I am good enough to do this as a career and actually did change to only shooting Newborns up to 3 weeks only.

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