There’s a misconception when it comes to viewing photographers, that they are a generalized bunch of loud, boisterous, eccentric, extroverted people.
I’m here to let you in on a little secret.
We’re not all extroverts, in fact, I’d be willing to bet that out of all the photographers you knew, the majority of us would come out on the introverted side of things.
This is a crazy phenomenon because photography demands a type of work that is very people oriented. During photo sessions our moods must always be “up”, moving and drawing out the responses in people that we want to capture in our photos. We must be talkative, ready to give directions but also our minds are thinking a mile a minute the whole time. Through our thinking process though, there is no space for being shy or inward focused. I’m here to tell you though that being a photographer and also being an introvert can actually work very much to your advantage. It is very possible for you to run a successful business, to connect with your clients and to not completely lose yourself in the overwhelming side of photography, all while maintaining true to who you are as a person.
Here are some tips for you, a wonderful, quiet, maybe shy, maybe unsure, but totally passionate about what you do…introvert photographer.
1. Prepare, but don’t over think it.
Relaxing is easier said than done for the introvert photographer, but I’m going to keep encouraging that you take the word “relax” to heart. Before a photo session, do some appropriate research, learn about the client, location scout, get your gear ready, help the client with their wardrobe. If you need to take posing cards with you, take them, and don’t be shy about taking them out in front of your client. You are not perfect, your session will not be perfect and every photo that comes out of your camera will not be perfect. I’m encouraging you to absolutely prepare for the session in entirety but avoid sinking deep into thought over any “worst case scenarios,” which leads me to my next point.
2. Trust in yourself and in your client.
Do you ever wonder why a client has hired you? Why do you think you can take their memories in your hands? Why are you charging so much? And who do you think you are?? (See how an introvert’s mind can spiral?!) One word…TRUST. Why has a client hired you? Because they want YOU. Why do you think you can take their memories in your hands? Because you are TALENTED. Why are you charging so much? Because you are WORTH IT. And who do you think you are? You are YOU, in all your amazing, introverted self. Prepare for the best and hope for the best, silence any negative talk that may be going on in your head and attack the photo session like it was what you were made to do (because it was!).
3. Be on time.
Get to the photo session location a few minutes earlier than your client and take a moment. I still get nervous before every single session (I’m not even joking either!) and I know I just need a second to calm myself before I hop out of the car. So do what you do, reflect, meditate, pray, be silent or turn on your favorite jam and go crazy. Whatever you need to do to pump yourself up before that session, go for it. If your client sees you doing it, I promise, they’ll probably like you even more.
4. Take a break.
A main key in relating to introverts is that they need quiet, alone time to recharge. It’s hard to believe, but a 1-2 hour photo session actually drains an introvert’s energy reserves quite a bit, factor in a 10-12 hour wedding, and that photographer is wiped for days. Carve out some recharge time after photo sessions, it is imperative that introverts do this. After a session, grab a coffee, take a bubble bath, read the latest Click Magazine, or block out that evening or the next morning for a time of doing what helps recharge you (for me, it’s sitting on the couch with a coffee, watching TV right up next to my husband, ahhhh, so nice!) If you have to photograph back to back weddings in a weekend, reserve a couple days of recharging afterwards. This in no way means that the introverted photographer is “lazy” or needs extra “time off,” it just means that they can do amazingly well at their job if they are able to keep their batteries at 100%, and those batteries need a little bit of extra charging every once in awhile.
5. Believe that growth is possible.
I am, by all accounts, an “Outgoing Introvert.” People are shocked when I tell them I am an introvert through and through because when I am in social situations, I am extremely outgoing. Developing this personality has taken time and energy, but it has been well worth it! Creating a comfortable shooting environment should be our number one goal during sessions and that can only happen if you, as a photographer, are as comfortable within your own self. Growth for you may come at a slow pace, but it will definitely come! Just consider each and every photo session as a stepping stone towards the goal of being the most outgoing version of you!