This past week I lost all my confidence as a photographer. At the start of the week I was talking with a group of parents, and it came up that one person’s spouse was thinking about starting a photography business. When I asked what type of camera they used it came out that they were using a point and shoot. I couldn’t believe it. Here I am with what Nikon considers an Advanced DSLR, taking photos in manual mode, and taking a Creative Design course to learn the elements of composition, feeling like I am not ready to start my own photography business. And here was someone that truly believed they could start a photography business using a point and shoot. Then a couple nights ago in the photography course that I have been taking we were reviewing everyone’s focal point assignment, and looking around it seemed that everyone else’s photos were so much better than mine, and as far as I know only one of them was actually getting paid as a photographer.
At this point I was convinced that I was never going to actually become a professional photographer like I want to. Then yesterday I watched the first day of Penny De Los Santos’ 3 day Food Photography workshop on CreativeLive. I decided to watch the free live broadcast even though I don’t plan on becoming a food photographer, because I figured I’d at least learn something. Turns out that so far, this is the best workshop on Creative Live that I have watched. Penny started out talking about where she came from, and showing photos from her photography thesis, I assume for her degree from Ohio’s School of Visual Communication. I instantly loved her, her emotion was raw and right at the surface. In talking about the process of taking photos for her thesis there was a situation where she had the opportunity to photograph a fight in the woman’s prision. Penny was going to get the photo when her gut told her it wasn’t right, and when she turned around to walk away, she happened across a scene of a little girl dancing in the light of the prison window. The photo is amazing, and she talked about how it was in that moment that she realized how important it is to go with your intuition. (To see the photo go to her website and mouse over “Born into Cell Blocks”) Well in that moment I realized that I haven’t been listening to my intuition. As I have said, my goal is to become a professional photographer. There are many photographers out there that are comletely self taught. However I have felt for a long time that that isn’t the path for me. Going to school for photography is the route I need to take if I’m going to have success.
While there are many wonderful photographers that are self taught, most of the ones that truly inspire me personally went to school. I need to remember that everyone must follow their own path and my path is to go to school in a couple of years, and then get started in my photography career. Right now it is just fine for me to be taking amazing photos, and become a better photographer at my pace. When the timing is right things will happen.