How do you build confidence and improve your portrait photography?
I got an email today from a photography student worried that he won’t be able to submit his portrait exercise because his model has Covid. Pas de problème! Here’s an exercise I recommend to all my photography students: Approach the first stranger you see and ask to shoot their portrait. Don’t try to create a masterpiece. This isn’t about light or composition, it’s about building your confidence and theirs.
Confidence is the biggest thing I try to give my students. Most of us suffer from impostor syndrome and photography can bring it on like nothing else. It’s one thing to be a happy snapper, but working carefully to take a picture in public can make you feel like the fraud police are going to arrive and bust you for impersonating a real photographer. This can be especially debilitating if you use a tripod or plan on shooting a portrait.
That’s why this exercise works so well to build confidence and improve your portrait photography. It’s a struggle to get over your initial social anxiety and approach a perfect stranger. It’s doubly hard to ask them to do you a favour and pose for a portrait. But if you can swallow that anxiety and take a leap of faith, you discover the most beautiful thing: People are wonderful. Approach politely, explain what you want and why, and I find most people are very happy to help.
Gotta walk the talk, so every time I tell my class this, I leave my comfy chair and go do it. Today, these beautiful, strong young women were happy enough to oblige me. I guess from “Excuse me” to “Thank you both so much” this might have taken two minutes. Look at their relaxed, confident gazes. Here’s the big takeaway for aspiring photographers: Covid may be contagious, but Confidence is more so! #photography #people #students #confidence #portraits