The Plateau: How to Deal With Lack Of Confidence as Photographer?
Sooner or later, in your photographic journey, you will encounter one of these moments. You will see something with your eyes, but you won’t be able to capture what you see with your camera. You will look at your photos, and you will think that nothing is going on that you are just taking bad photos. We call these moments plateau.
I am not superman, and I am certainly not immune to this kind of experiences. The last plateau I’ve encountered in my career is very fresh as I am living it right now. When you hit a plateau you look at your images and won’t be happy at all. You look at what you are doing, and you feel frustrated by the lack of results. Your camera seems to produce images you don’t recognise. Losing confidence in these moments is absolutely normal; however, there are few things you can do to overcome the lack of confidence they create.
Slow down and mix what you like and what you can’t achieve
I have always found that forcing your way through the various plateau I have met so far is the best way through. Did you risk drowning? Go for a swim! Did you risk being burned alive? Light a match! Are you in a moment of stall in your photography? Take your camera and shoot.
There is one detail I think it is important to keep in mind: you need to shoot what you cannot capture, you need to overcome that block in order to make a jump in quality; however, to avoid burning your creativity with the exasperation of not seeing any result, you need to mix your style with something different as well: “Do you shoot Boudoir? Try shooting landscape! Do you shoot portrait? Try street photography!”
Change the outlook of your images
In these days, I am stuck in two different elements of my photography. My editorial images, those we shoot in the high fashion world, seem to be… blah, just blah. Then I am failing to capture good images in one specific environment.
These two things combined are hitting my confidence big time, so I have looked away for a while. During the past weekend, I have rented a Fuji X-Pro1 from Hire a Camera, and I have changed not only what I shoot, but how I do it.
I have left my Mark II on the shelves in the last two photo shoots, and I have focussed not only on models and customers, but on our no-so-little-anymore son. I have pushed myself to take hundreds of images of him, enjoying every moment thoroughly.
Focus on positives
I am not telling you it is going to be easy. I am telling you is going to be worth it.
Stop focussing on what you cannot capture, the light you cannot master, the location you cannot manage. Stop whinging and start enjoying. This weekend has been bittersweet for me, with a tremendous lack of confidence on one side and thrill to find myself in love with photography once more. Later today I will look through the images Faby and I have captured today, and I am sure I won’t see the results I am dreaming for, but you know what? I did it, and I managed to kick my poor mood away.
That’s what I do, that’s how I am human and how I overcome issues that every single photographer, sooner of later, meet.
“Do. Or do not. There is no try” [Yoda]