Have you been crippled by self-doubt as a photographer?

Have you ever held back from sharing your photos, pitching an idea, or showing off your art? How many times have you been held back by Impostor Syndrome?

Impostor syndrome is the feeling or experience that you think you or your job may not be good enough. It’s that hesitation you often experience when you show your work or present yourself. This often stems from a lack of self-confidence or simply a fear of making a mistake. The experience was dubbed “Impostor Syndrome” because the feeling comes from the fear of being called a cheat: someone who pretends to be good at something, but isn’t worth the respect, the rewards, or just unworthy of being an artist. are called .

1. Impostor Syndrome Happens to Everyone

The first thing to know is that this happens to everyone. Impostor syndrome is common among creatives and artists from different fields. Painters, actors, musicians, dancers and yes, even photographers experience Impostor Syndrome. It’s not exclusive to artists at all, by the way. Technically, anyone can experience it through lack of self-confidence and self-doubt. The difference is that everyone experiences Impostor syndrome in different ways and for different lengths, and in the same way we all deal with it differently.

Impostor Syndrome can strike anywhere and everywhere. It often happens during the creative process and right when we exhibit, present or publish our work. However, it can also happen in totally unexpected places during unexpected times. Since it is a given that you are passionate about the things you create and think about everything, it follows that your fears, worries and doubts can also crop up at any time.

2. Impostor syndrome is absolutely normal

Self-doubt and doubts about our work arise from things that are part of human nature and aspects of our nature as artists. Curiosity usually fuels our creativity by giving us ideas about what to create next and naturally follows the desire to get better at what we do. Many people experience impostor syndrome when they look at other people’s work and compare their own. While it’s always more productive to take inspiration from the artists we look up to, it’s completely natural to compare and even be a little jealous. When we compare ourselves to others and their work, we don’t consider the invisible struggles behind their masterpieces. In the same way that portfolios, exhibitions, and even Instagram feeds are curated, we usually don’t see the struggle behind the successful artist who would have been more recognizable to us in the first place.

3. You can’t please everyone (nor should you try)

It is important to understand and accept that different people have different tastes in art. Just as some people don’t like certain dishes, you can’t expect literally everyone to be impressed with what you make. Different people live different lives and end up forming different opinions. What matters is that you can identify the people who have a connection to the work you do and the art you make.

Have you been crippled by self-doubt as a photographer?

You will certainly be criticized. This is another fact that every artist should always accept. People who look at our photos always form an opinion, and many people like to say what they want. There are those who give constructive criticism because they mean well and want you to become an even better artist, while there are also those who just want to put people down to make themselves feel better about their own shortcomings. It’s important to set them apart so you can take the lessons you need to learn and identify the things you need to work on as you set aside and filter out the noise.

Remember, it’s better to focus on the quality of the connection your art makes with the people viewing it, rather than the amount of people who just glance and double-tap.

On the other side of the table, it is also important to consider this fact when expressing your opinion about other artists or their work. Remember to verify the validity of your opinion as to whether it applies. Sometimes we tend to impose our personal taste or style on other people in such a way that we express our disgust. Remember that what you do and say to another creative can have a strong impact on them, and you don’t want to be someone else’s reason for giving up. Constructive criticism can go a long way.

4. Impostor Syndrome Can Be Healthy And Help You Grow

The impostor syndrome experience can be painful. In fact, pain and impostor syndrome can be very similar in the impact they have. While most of us are afraid of feeling pain, it would be much worse if we didn’t feel any pain at all. Pain is a warning sign that often stops us from doing harmful things or at least helps us identify that something is wrong.

Impostor syndrome works the same way. The self-doubt you experience can often remind you to be more thorough about intricate details of your art. When you doubt yourself, you often get a warning that there might be something to improve. As long as you don’t let the Impostor Syndrome experience paralyze you and keep you from moving forward, it can be very healthy for you as an artist and can even help you grow.

5. Perfection can be a prison

The only case where impostor syndrome can be harmful is when we let it trap us. It is usually noticeable when we strive for perfection in our work that we throw things away when we can’t achieve it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with striving for perfection in our work as artists, but it is important to accept, especially if you have only recently started learning or trying, that imperfection is part of the journey. Most of the best things in the world take a while to build, and so do the artists we admire. Being an artist is a continuous cycle of trying, failing, learning and succeeding, and passion and perseverance lead us to it.

Have you been crippled by self-doubt as a photographer?

As important as it is to identify and correct our shortcomings, it is also important to celebrate our victories amid the losses. Every failure comes with a consolation prize in the form of lessons that will help you increase your chances of success in the future. What is important is that you are not permanently let down by one loss or one imperfection.

Every day millions of people experience impostor syndrome because of our natural tendency to compare and strive. Self-doubt arises from the prudence of anticipating challenges in order to better overcome them. While experiencing Impostor Syndrome will never be pleasant, if you look back at the challenges you’ve faced as an artist, all the growth you’ve had as a creative and all the personal victories you’ve had as a photographer have brief moments of doubt and hesitation will somehow push you forward and they will continue to propel you.

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