Can a Shy Photographer be Successful?

Business

A few days ago I wrote I’m what you’d call an outgoing introvert on this blog post and even went into detail explaining this definition on the TwitTV interview. There were a few readers who felt the same way (if y’all also like suede boots, brussel sprouts, and protein bars, we may be kindred spirits), and then others who asked: If I’m shy or introverted, can I still be a successful photographer?

To be honest, the simple answer is yes. However (and you knew the however was coming), it may be a difficult. I’m–by nature–not the type of person who’ll walk into a room and be the center of attention. In fact, I’m the total opposite. I’m past the point of being a wall-flower…I’m the wall-flower GARDNER. I’m a looker, watcher, and waiter…and have been this way since childhood. But when I started my photography business, I knew things had to change.

After a few failed photo shoots in 2006, I realized my pictures were lackluster because my subjects were lackluster…but it wasn’t their fault, it was mine. It was almost as if I was looking, watching, and waiting for the right moments, but let me save you some time from my experiences: The best photographers don’t wait for a photo, they make a photo. And by “make” I mean as elaborate as a staged shot or simply taking one step to the right to compose the picture in a stronger fashion.

I quickly learned that if I wasn’t capturing the type of photos I wanted, it was because I wasn’t giving my subjects anything to do, or even encouragement or a transfer of energy. My subjects usually show up to a shoot nervous, shy, intimidated and it’s my job to be in control, take charge, and make them feel like they’re the center of the universe. I couldn’t do this being the Gardener of yesteryear.

Before a shoot, I usually listen to my favorite music, previsualize, focus on articulating my thoughts, and say a quick prayer. Yes, I need a prayer because I don’t want my clients to think I’m crazy. I arrive early to scope out the shoot location, map out the session, and by the time the clients arrive, I’m ready to give them my all…ready to make a photo.

If you’re anything like me, please know success doesn’t hinge on your shyness, but, rather, your ability to move past your innate characteristics and put forth the type of photographer you want to be.

And because every post is better with a picture, here’s a sneak peek of this weekend’s wedding which will be posted later this week!

Happy Monday!