Yorkshire Photo Walks
Building your Confidence Every photograph is a new discovery.
How to become a confident photographer. What is confidence in photography? Where does it come from? Do we have to earn it? Do some people have more than others? If so, why is this? If these are questions you have asked yourself in the past, read on as I try and put answers to them and, in the process of doing so, make you a more confident photographer. What is confidence in photography? I think the answer to this is different for different people. Firstly, it depends on the sort of photography you are interested in. If you are a street photographer, confidence might be in approaching complete strangers to get that perfect shot. If you are a landscape photographer confidence might be in knowing that the location, time, light, settings and composition you have chosen are the best possible. What ever your discipline though, we all share confidence in gaining recognition from our work. The more people that say, "wow that's a great shot," the more confident we become. If we take the street photography example, the more people that let us take photographs of them, the more confident we become. (If you would like to learn more about street photography, why not join our forthcoming Photo Walk in York?). The truth is to build confidence you have to experience a few knock backs first. Where does it come from? Some people are, what I like to call, 'individual thinkers.' It is these people who don't need the confidence of others to build confidence within themselves. Take American photographer Bruce Gilden for example. One day he took a camera and flash onto the streets of Brooklyn, his home town, and shoved it in peoples faces, getting very honest, sometimes gruesome results. Gilden didn't care if his subjects objected to his intrusion, he simply brushed it off, like water off a duck's back. This, for many of us, would be our worst nightmare because we require others to give us the confidence we desire. If this is you, read on to find out how to overcome this barrier to self confidence. Do we have to earn confidence? I think some of us do. If we take the examples above, when people say we are doing the right thing, we gain confidence in the fact that what we are doing is creating a positive impact. Having said all this, it took Bruce Gilden many long hours of being chastised for his brash intrusions of people's personal space, before he got recognition for his work. This proves that confidence is something we should be nurturing within ourselves. Having self confidence to pursue a particular path, even if we are constantly being told it is the wrong one, can reap benefits in the end. If you constantly aimed to gain confidence from others, everyone's photographs would start to look the same. There would be no variety as people would be scared to follow a different path. Do some people have more than others? If so why? From my 5 years experience as a photography tutor, I can definitively say, some people do have more confidence than others. This is simply down to the fact that the ones who lack confidence are not likely to be individual thinkers and, coupled with that, have not received much recognition in the past. The all important question then is... How do we become more confident photographers? My advice would be as follows... Share your photographs on social media. There are some great groups on Facebook, which offer constructive criticism and lots of positive comments from other users. The more likes you receive, the more confident you will become. Keep looking. A great way to gain confidence in what you are doing is to look at what others are doing. From this you can start to see where your photographs sit in relation to others. Ask yourself, 'what could I do differently to make these types of shot better?' You could start by searching 'Bruce Gilden' in Google and ask yourself, 'is that something I would be confident enough to do?!' Don't be scared to follow your own path. Confidence will flow if you pursue something you have faith in, even if nobody else does. Like Bruce Gilden, you will reap your rewards later when your photographs show a new, enlightening way of looking at the world. Don't let criticism get you down. This is easy for me to say, as I make a living from critiquing photographs. From a photography tutors point of view, I would say treat each criticism as a step in the right direction. With each setback you learn how to progress. Make subtle changes to what you do to make a positive difference. Don't question your integrity. People who lack confidence in photography question everything that they do. This will only lead to a downward spiral. Stay positive, look at the good things rather than the bad things in the work and build on them. Remember, no one has the right to be completely satisfied with their images as we always strive for better things. Photography is an extremely subjective medium, therefore, not everyone is going to like everything. Individuality and confidence in yourself is the key. I am not saying that following the 5 steps above will automatically make you a more confident photographer. This is something you need to nurture in yourself. However, if you go out with a positive attitude, look and share and, like Gilden, forge your own path and don't take no for an answer, confidence will start to grow. Before you know it you will be a confident photographer. Intrigued to learn more? Here are some of our Photo Walks you may be interested in...
Get to grips with the art of street photography in York, after dark. Learn how to get 'decisive moment' shots that capture this vibrant city and it's evening inhabitants. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY AFTER DARK
JAN 20 YORK CITY CENTRE SATURDAY, 5:00pm
£25
CATEGORY
LOCATION SPECIFIC
On this Photo Walk you will be trained in seeing pictures within your surroundings. Learn how to choose subjects and make interesting and creative photographs. HOW TO SEE A PHOTOGRAPH
CATEGORY
MAR 17 SKIPTON  saturday, 1:00pm
£25
HOW TO
SKILL LEVEL
INTERMEDIATE
SKILL LEVEL
BEGINNER
TERRAIN
easy
TERRAIN
easy
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