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Why and How: Six Tips for Increasing Your Confidence in Your Photos – Part 2

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Lion in black and white walking in the savannah. Photograph by Amar Guillen, photographer artist.
Lion in black and white walking in the savannah in Kenya.

Tip #1: Define Your Photographic Artistry and Pursue It

For you to become confident in the photographs you are going to create, you need to define the tracks upon which you can ride. Those rails are what I call your photographic artistry.

The photographic artistry is divided into two distinct parts:

  • Your photographic vision.
  • Your photographic signature.

Your photographic vision defines the way you see your surroundings.

If you are a wildlife photographer, you might like combat scenes and dynamic behaviors.

If you are a landscape photographer, you may like hushed morning or twilight scenes.

If you are an underwater photographer, you might like scenes in caves with dark atmospheres.

Your photographic vision translates everything that is inside of you. Your vision bares your emotions and your soul.

Your photographic vision is unique because you are unique. It is a cause-and-effect relationship.

Your photographic signature is the way you show your vision. It is your style. Maybe you like high key or low key lights. To show animal fights, you may prefer scenes with a lot of color. For landscapes you might enjoy displaying black and white signature styles with wide panoramic shots.

You can vary your signature with different styles depending on the collections you want to create.

Styles can be different.

To sum up this advice, I would say that by creating a strong photographic artistry, you establish barriers or guardrails around a safe path on which you can move forward without turning back.

The further you venture down this path, the more confident you will feel because you will know where you are going.

Tip #2: Create Photos for a Specific Purpose

I think that if you want to create interesting, meaningful, and audience-gathering photos, you have to do it with a specific goal in mind.

This goal does not need to be grandiose or revolutionary. But it must exist.

You have to define it. For example, you might want to participate in a contest or prepare an exhibition.

Once your goal has been clearly defined, you should work towards it in your photographic adventures.

Your final goal defines:

  • The type of photo lenses you want to use.
  • The way you plan to compose.
  • The nature of the subject you wish to frame on the field.
  • The method for development.
  • Paper printing type.
  • How you will present your photographs.

By photographing with a precise goal, you will stay focused without being lost in scattered whims and distractions.

The technical and stylistic quality of your photos will improve significantly.

Your pictures will progressively become more and more interesting.

Personally, this is how I work. I am a professional photographer. I am short of time. The field shooting must be optimized because I cannot waste precious seconds. I applied this advice at the beginning of my career as a photographer because I had no choice. I quickly realized that it should be applied to photographers who desire to capture photos that stand out from the crowd.

Being remarkable requires consistency, persistence, and self-sacrifice.

Yes, you can gain confidence.

Tip #3: Learn New Techniques

Just like me, you live in a world where everything moves extremely fast. Time seems to have accelerated with digital technology. This societal paradigm shift has some negative aspects, but it also has positive ones.

Sharing photographic knowledge via the internet and social media is one of them. I was the first to benefit from this, and it continues to help me daily.

Every day, somewhere in the world a photographer has new creative ideas. He or she shares it on social networks or via a website. This is the magic of the internet.

If you are curious in seeking photographic inspiration, you will open new creative doors by reading these publications.

In my opinion, it is fundamental to return to the works of others to gain inspiration.

Learning a new technique allows you to add new tools to your repertoire for future photographic endeavors.

Personally, I try extremely hard. I am consistently challenging myself and testing my limits. I am very curious in the field of photography and its development as time passes.

If you are not completely open to embracing new techniques, try to step out of your comfort zone in some small way and photograph something different. Not everything has to be adapted to your needs. There will always be a photographic technique that will propel you forward. Then you will gain self-confidence.

Tip #4: Learn to Manage Criticism

Criticism, whether positive or negative, is always intended to advance the recipient and enrich the giver.

A review is never bad. If you lack self-confidence and receive a negative review, you will certainly take it very badly.

I advise you to listen to it in a cold and unbiased way.

You must learn to not let it hurt you emotionally. You must learn to receive criticism and evaluate it logically.

Do not forget to find out who has criticized you. You should always trust those people who give you an opinion.

A criticism should allow you to progress in your photos.

By learning how to handle criticism, you will develop confidence in your photos.

Tip #5: Learn to Judge

To develop confidence in your photographs, you need to evaluate whether your photographs are interesting. Learn to examine the following:

  • Visual aspects.
  • Depth of the content.
  • The purpose, emotions, and message of your image.

You must learn to judge your own photos and those of others. In another article, I proposed an evaluation grid based on criteria. Learn it by heart and apply the criteria when making your judgments.

You must always judge objectively without any ulterior motive.

By learning to judge, you will develop technical and aesthetic expertise. It will allow you to better construct your photographs.

With a precise objective in mind and a developed expertise, you will gradually gain self-confidence.

Tip #6: Print, Print and Print

I have said this before, and I will say it again: a photograph only exists when it is printed. Before it is printed on paper, you only have one image.

When your eyes behold a scene printed on beautiful paper, you are examining the result of a creation.

I have often found that many photographers make images that they never print. They are afraid of the result. They know perfectly well that printing is the end result of the photographic creative process.

They are afraid to receive the criticism of others. They tell themselves they are not up to it and that the pictures are not “good enough” to print.

The explanation for their behavior is simple. They do not trust themselves and their photographs.

If you wish to build confidence in your photos, then print them.

You will see your perspective change. You will become different. You will enter a new universe.

Finally

I hope that the six tips I have just given you will help you to spring into action so that you can gain confidence in your photographs.

I, too, was once at a point where I doubted my abilities and the worthiness of my photos. I always told myself that other photographers were better. As time went by, I came to understand that they were simply different from me.

The same goes for you. You just have to find your audience.

If you walk away with only one or two pieces of advice, remember this: learn photographic artistry, and do not be afraid to print your pictures.

Now you cannot say you did not know how to be confident.

Act. Set a goal. Achieve it.

Be humble, patient, constant, persevering, and persistent because the road to excellence is long.


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I Want to Help You to Create Interesting Photos