At school, we are coming up towards the end of the quarter (we are scheduled on quarters instead of semesters). With finals being printed and presented there are critiques that follow. Listening to the feedback of my work is always an intriguing part of the project for me. I love hearing the thoughts and opinions of my viewers, even if it is not always positive. After my critiques I’ve noticed there’s something different; maybe about my work, about myself.
When I first started college I didn’t know what kind of photographer I wanted to be so I really just started taking pictures of anything and everything. Later on I started to notice the work of my peers. A lot of them were students studying for their Associates Degree so they were getting ready to graduate much earlier than I was. There was a lot of great work. While looking through their portfolios I noticed a consistency to their work. They had a focus, a specific viewer. From there I started to look at my portfolio. It seemed scattered. The more I thought about the work of my competitors versus my own work the more self conscious I began to feel. ‘Is my work good enough? Can I make it as a photographer?’ As an artist, there will always be a small amount of self-doubt but my worrying had gone to an extreme level, even to the point where I was calling my mother in a tearful panic. She always knew how to calm me down but that did not stop me from worrying.
As the Winter Quarter came to an end, I noticed there was something different. I felt more confident. I was starting to get better feedbacks in my critiques and I found myself working that much harder to keep getting the positive responses. I started to change my style, my lighting and my techniques. The response in even one quarter was completely different. It got me to really think about my work and the progress I’ve made since I first started. From here on out I’m embracing the new streak of confidence. I’m changing the way I think about my work and how I present myself.
Here are my 10 Commandments to Confidence; maybe they’ll help you as well!
- Stay inspired
Always research what is trending in your field. See what your competitors are working on. Keep up with other artists, stop and smell the roses!
- Stand by your work
Always remember that your work is a representation of yourself. If you’re not proud of your work, change it. Be proud of your work.
- Embrace the positives
Living in a world of negatives is tough, so remember all of the good things there are, all your successes and accomplishments.
- Understand the negatives
Never take negative feedback as a personal attack. They are different viewpoints made to strengthen your skills. Take note of what needs to be worked on.
- Frustration is normal
As an artist, there will always be self-doubt, which is okay. Give yourself 10 minutes to have a freak out session but then come back to reality and make it work. Hard work always pays off.
- Asking for help is okay
You are just one person! If you need opinions or assistance, ask for it. You can’t win a game of chess playing by yourself.
- Remember to breathe
Sometimes you need to step away from your work. The longer you look at it the more tiny flaws you’ll start to think you see. You’re simply overthinking.
- Coffee is your friend
There will be many occasions where you get up early or go to bed late for a project. Stay focused and have a short coffee break to get your head in the game.
- Try new things
Your creativity should never be limited to what you think your set style is. Don’t be afraid to try something different, maybe even out of your comfort zone. Some of your best work comes from pushing your limits.
- Smile more
A smile will make you feel immensely better. As cliché as it sounds, everything does happen for a reason. Make the best of it and stay positive.
Below are some of my images from this quarter. All of which are new techniques and styles that I’ve been experimenting with. College is a great time to find yourself as an individual and an artist!
“In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more than reality”