Putting Yourself Out There - Showing Your Work

For me this was one of my biggest struggles when I was first starting out as a photographer and believe me it was an ongoing inner battle, I was nervous!  What will other people think of my work? Will they say it sucks? Will they like it?

I was THAT guy who would only show my work to friends and family and of course the feedback was always good, which in hindsight was more of a hindrance than help when I look back on it now.  Showing your work to your family and friends is one thing, they are not going to tell you your work sucks are they? They are going to say the things they think you want to hear which doesn’t benefit you in any way, shape or form.

It’s very tough to put yourself out there, seemingly on display and sharing your work with a bunch of strangers. You feel vulnerable, naked and alone!  After all, this is something you created from scratch you put your heart and soul into this. Everybody is a critic, everyone has something to say. It takes a lot of courage. You are worried about being judged, what will everyone say about you’re work, I get it! You are going to get deflated and knocked down but you just have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and grab your camera and make more photographs.

You have to reach way down within and find the courage to get your work seen.  Get as many eyes on it as possible!  That way you find out what you need to work on and know which areas you need to improve.  There will always be areas you can improve on even after years of being a photographer and just as in regular life you are NEVER EVER finished learning.

One of my past photography teachers reached out to me recently and we were talking and he said: “…as artists, we thrive on encouragement. It's like the tide, when it's in it feels good and when it’s out, it can be damn lonely!” His words rang in my head for days afterwards. This really struck a chord in me and if you are reading this right now, you know who you are. Thank you for all your words of encouragement as of late, they mean a lot to me.

So people don’t give up!  Keep consistently putting your work out there. Yes, it is definitely not an easy thing to do but it IS necessary!


Photo courtesy of Linda Langerak

Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone - Make Yourself Uncomfortable

This past weekend, I attended an amazing boudoir workshop with the incredible Jen Rozenbaum as the instructor put on by Henry’s Camera. Over the past few months I have become interested in and fascinated with boudoir style photography. I have even toyed with the idea of exploring it as a genre of photography to add to my skill set/repertoire.

First, let me say that Jen is an absolute master of her craft. She makes it look so easy and believe me it is anything but. There are so many moving parts to a boudoir shoot. Most importantly of all of them I believe to be giving direction, posing the model correctly and communication. Being able to communicate with the model is integral in order to produce the best possible images and get the best effort out of your model.

I am new to this genre of photography and even more so to giving people direction. This definitely took me outside my comfort zone. It was a tough thing for me to do however I did come out of it completely unscathed and alive. I must say it’s an incredible feeling to accomplish something by pushing yourself past the point of being uncomfortable. One could argue that unless you are pushing yourself to the point of discomfort you aren’t progressing. I can honestly say I wholeheartedly agree with that argument.

There was a point in the workshop where I wasn’t feeling comfortable getting up in front of 15 people and giving the model direction or instruction on how to pose so I decided to sit the session out. Jen came and sat beside me and asked why I was sitting this one out? I told her I was brand new to this type of photography and I was incredibly nervous about standing up in front of all these people and directing our model. She turned to me, very simply and matter of factly said to me “That’s ok, I still get nervous sometimes”. This really resonated with me and made me think: If this woman who has been doing this for 6 years full time professionally and still gets nervous, then hell yeah it’s ok for me to be nervous too!

Stepping outside your normal routine, your comfort zone, is a very beneficial thing in more ways than one. I recommend that everyone do it and do it often. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Yes, you will definitely feel nervous, scared and uncomfortable but this fear can fuel and push you to new heights and discoveries about yourself. What’s the worst that can happen? You learn a few things, experience new things!?

This was an incredible experience and I am glad I pushed myself to experience and take part in this workshop. I look forward to doing more stepping outside my comfort zone a living a little more in my yikes zone. Try it and enjoy the ride!