It’s confession time!
I am shy. I know this stems from caring too much about what people think of me.
I am quiet. My laugh can be pretty loud, but other than that, you’d think that my voice box is muted.
I am an introvert. I’m not a social butterfly, I’m not the life of the party.
Couple this trio of traits with my case of RBF (you can Google it if you aren’t sure) and you have the recipe for my natural personality and temperament.
And I’ve always been that way! All throughout life, I have only had one or two good friends at a time, avoided parties like a plague, and if you looked up “Wall Flower” in the dictionary, you’d find a small photo of me beside it. And honestly, I know as I read this back to myself, I don’t want to be like this. I don’t want to be too shy to make friends, I don’t want to be alone, and I don’t want to want to be alone. I want to have friends, go out more often, be kind to everyone, etc.
But another confession? I have a horrible habit of reliving every moment and every word of an experience. I’ll get back into my car and sit there, thinking ‘that person totally hates me’, or ‘YOU ARE SUCH AN IDIOT!”. I’ve had an extremely hard time shaking this habit, and I’m honestly a little embarrassed to admit it, but this is the root of those three characteristics.
Anyways, the reason that this is in the “Photography” category, is because these traits negatively affected my professional and personal life, and I want to explain why and what I did about it.
I was too shy to direct my clients in the way that I wanted to. I worried that they would think I’m an idiot or weird for doing things. I concerned myself too much with the ‘what ifs’. What if I said something stupid? What if I get tongue-tied (which I sometimes do), etc. I was too quiet to engage them properly. When you’re too quiet, you make your clients uncomfortable. I would be uncomfortable, at least… And I was too introverted to really engage with my clients. I look back on previous sessions and think, “was I sleeping through that shoot? How did I get this image? Was I even directing them at all? What the what is going on with my settings on that one??”
I think if you ask one of my recent clients if they think I’m any of those three things, they would say no.
They would say that I laughed really loud, that I talked throughout the entire shoot, showered them with compliments, talked to them from behind the camera, directed them through poses, made them laugh and feel like family.
They would say that I’m a confident person, a loud person, an extrovert.
Why would they say those things, if I’m not those things?
Well, I knew that if I wanted to make this photography thing work for me, (which I do), if I wanted to get better pictures, (which I do), if I wanted to have a less lonely life, (which I do), that something had to change. The whole ‘sink or swim’ concept comes to mind.
But first thing was first. In order to build confidence and rebuild my reputation in photography, I needed to learn. Frankly, I had a few too many bad/mediocre shoots–my pictures were not good enough. My traffic nearly halted because my skill and knowledge of almost every area of photography was not there. So I took time and learned more about the technical things, figured out what equipment would work for me, studied and learned from professionals that I wanted to emulate, and assessed myself as a person and a photographer.
I needed to let go of my inhibitions. The pain of failing to achieve my dream was more than the pain of getting myself to become who I ultimately wanted to be anyways. I had to watch people that I admired, I had to learn from my mistakes, I had to know what I would look for in a photographer myself, I had to do things that make me feel uncomfortable and vulnerable (like blog), and I had to make it happen. Even if it was acting. Even if it hurt to change myself. I had to do it.
Am I totally recovered from shyness, introversion and quietness? No, because that’s just who I am, and it’s not necessarily something to recover from, anyways. I’ll probably always choose a bubble bath or a movie night in over a big house party. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like big house parties, it’s just my temperament.
But I can put it away and bring out the side of me that I want to be now that I’ve gone through this refinement. And the more I do that, the less alone I can be, the more successful shoots I can have, the happier I can be.
And if you’re a shy, introverted and quiet photographer like me, you can do this, too! Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it.
Have an awesome day,
and don’t let yourself hold yourself back
from achieving your success! <3