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Imposter syndrome is a common feeling that many photographers experience at some point in their careers. It’s that feeling of being a fraud, of not being good enough, and of fearing that someone will eventually find out that you don’t belong in the photography world. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some actionable steps that you can take to overcome imposter syndrome and become more confident in your work:
It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to other photographers who seem to be doing better than you. But constantly looking at work that is similar to your own can leave you feeling defeated and like you’re only adding to the noise. Conversely, looking at comments and reactions to work that is similar to your own or that you’ve received on your work can help you realize that people do find value in what you do. Focus on your own unique style and perspective, and trust that there is an audience for your work.
Reflecting on your purpose and what you’re trying to do and say with your work can help you stay aligned with your values and avoid feeling like an imposter. When you’re fulfilling something greater than the individual work itself, you couldn’t possibly be an imposter. So take the time to think about what drives you as a photographer and what message you want to convey through your work.
One of the most effective ways to overcome imposter syndrome is by changing your mindset and reframing your beliefs about yourself and your work. Instead of focusing on what you don’t know or can’t do, focus on what you do know and can do. Remind yourself that you have unique skills and talents that are valuable—and share them with the world!
Writing down positive affirmations can help remind you of all the things that make you unique and awesome. This exercise also helps to build self-confidence which is essential when dealing with imposter syndrome. Pick one or two positive statements every day and write them down in a journal or notebook as a reminder of how awesome you really are! Oh, and post it notes all over your house works too!
One of the biggest challenges that photographers face is the pressure to create something that will impress others. But this mindset can actually hinder your creativity and make it harder for you to produce original work. Instead, try allowing yourself the freedom to create without any expectation from the end product or reactions of others. Make sure you’re enjoying the act of creation more than the validation you might receive from others.
Surrounding yourself with people who support and encourage you is another great way to combat imposter syndrome. Find friends, colleagues, mentors, or even online communities who will cheer you on and offer words of encouragement when needed. Seek out people who “get” you and your work, and who can offer constructive feedback and encouragement when you need it. Join online photography groups or attend meetups and conferences to connect with other photographers who share your passion. This will help boost your confidence levels so that when those feelings of doubt creep in, you have someone there to help push them away.
Sometimes, imposter syndrome can be a sign that you’re not fully aligned with your values or that you’re not allowing yourself to tap into your creativity. Getting help from a coach, mentor, or friend can be incredibly helpful in allowing you to see things from another perspective and help you combine your values and other interests and hobbies into something that feels more aligned and fulfilling. They can also help you walk the walk of the ideals and values you promote through the work you share. As always, take a look at my mentoring packages if you’re interested in chatting.
Imposter syndrome can be an overwhelming feeling for creatives but it doesn’t have to be debilitating! With these simple tips, anyone can start reclaiming their self-confidence and move forward towards success despite any doubts they may have about their own abilities. Remember: You are capable; You are talented; You are amazing; And most importantly—you belong! Keep pushing forward because your creative gifts deserve recognition!