For many of you "confidence" is the missing piece of the puzzle. You've invested in great gear. You've established yourself as a business entity. You've got a website, a blog and are calling yourself a professional photographer, but you're still a little nervous when it comes to doing a portrait session, wedding or event.
hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication.
- It's obvious, but you've got to practice. Roberto mentioned in his podcast that there hasn't been a week in ten years when he didn't practice a different technique.
- Know your gear. Regardless of your specialty, you'll rarely have time to read the manual when shooting. Spend the time getting to know every button on your camera. Also understand the differences in coverage for every lens.
- Second shoot. Being a second shooter gives you a chance to be an artist without worrying about the business side of the equation. Even the best pros shoot a couple times a year with another photographer.
- Attend every workshop you can. Workshops, conventions, online webinars, videos - they all give you a chance to learn something new and become better at the craft. Your client won't appreciate a "fake it 'till you make it approach" when they ask you to do something that's not in your skill set, and the results don't match their expectations.
- Read everything on the subject of your specialty. Just about every icon has published something. Find the books and take the time to read them!
- Visit websites and YouTube. Every well-known photographer has a website. Spend time looking at their galleries. The goal is to notice the trends and techniques they're using and then work to develop your skill set. YouTube is loaded with great content. Put any photographer who's on the lecture circuit or well known and you'll find some great how-to videos.
- Get involved in your local guild or camera club. In just about every community, there's a group of photographers getting together every month. Get yourself involved and start sharing your images and participate in all the discussions.
- Be active on Facebook. FB is loaded with some terrific forums all supported by artists exchanging ideas. Share your images, ask questions when you need help and build strong online relationships.
Being a great photographer and an artist is about having a broad range of skills allowing you to take on just about any challenge with confidence. You can't rush the process. Think about how awkward it felt the first time you got behind the wheel learning to drive. Today it's second nature. I know it's an oversimplified comparison, but you have to know your gear and the process of creating stunning images just as easily as you get into your car and head down the highway.
Stay focused on your passion and keep feeding it new challenges and as Roberto states in every workshop, you've got to keep practicing.