I did something for me this week, I attended the workshop of a photographer who’s work I’ve admired for a long time now. Sean Flanigan’s work is a huge inspiration to me and meeting him was surreal. He spoke in such a warm way that you felt as if you’d known him a lifetime. I set out from London to the custard factory in Birmingham to Steve Gerrards incredible studio (The custard factory is probably one of the coolest establishments I’ve been in).
I found that everything Sean spoke about really resonated with me and I could relate completely to his passion and drive for Wedding photography, that familiar feeling when you get a client who cares just as much about capturing incredible pictures of their day as you do. The thrill of booking a couple that are just so pumped to get creative and make magic – the clients who make you barrel roll out of bed at 4am on the day of their wedding and I realised I am so lucky to have had so many of those already in my so far short career.
He also spoke about fear.
Fear of failure, Fear of sabotaging something you want so badly because you think you can’t do it with absolute perfection. I realised that this doesn’t really get addressed in the open too often but it’s all around us. Fear drags you down and I think that speaking about fear openly and honestly is the best way to move towards conquering it. For me that fear is what if my clients stop believing in me, what if people can’t see my passion and of course the fear I think every single photographer on earth holds near. What if nobody books me next season.
To the people you hold nearest that fear is of course completely irrational, to your husband, your children, your parents, your fiance, your best friends and most pointedly – your clients, that fear is madness. To the law of logic that fear is also crazy – if you booked 20 weddings the first year, 40 the next year – it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out what’s coming in year three. Yet still we hold onto that fear.
I saw a quote online recently that I’ve put on my desktop, it’s “stop comparing yourself with strangers on the internet”. And it’s completely true – and I’m so guilty of it. We surround ourselves with images and visual aids of the things we love and aspire to – that’s all very well and it serves a purpose but it can also help to be a generator of fear at times. I think I spend alot of time looking forwards and pushing and pushing towards creative perfection that maybe I forget to have gratitude and recognise my accomplishments, however small – right now.
I get back to New Zealand shortly to plunge into Wedding season, and one of the first things I’m going to do is on the wall in my office space where I have images of beautiful photographs from magazines and photographers I admire, I’m going to add my own work. Images I’m proud of, of my stunning clients who hired me, believed in me and trusted me with their biggest day of their life. I’m going to allow myself to appreciate my own work and know that I will always be pushing forwards but it’s important to also appreciate what I have and to look up occasionally and think – I achieved that.
What are you doing right now to conquer your fears within your own growth? What’s holding you back and how can you slam dunk it?