Dealing with external pressure

In every creative field, or generally in all professions that deviate from the so-called "norm", one can sometimes feel quite alone. Personally, I am lucky to have grown up in a very understanding and supportive family – and yet I am, over and over again, overcome by doubts about what I am doing.

Photography reinvents itself

That you are a photographer, people will understand – but not that you want to earn money with it! The difficulty is that there is already a category system in photography. People think they know what works and what doesn't – wedding photography yields money, everything else is just a hobby. At best, portraits could be another option. "Everybody has a camera these days, the market is saturated!"

Photography has ceased to be a pure craft long ago. Therefore there are more and more possibilities to study this subject nowadays. Of which there is not at all so much, are thought out, individual and contemporary photos full of ideas, which can explain even complex connections and are cut to a certain target group.

Self-doubt and art – two close relatives

I believe that the life of an artist (no matter what form) is always marked by doubts. This is because art is always also an expression of personality – and at the same time a tool to strengthen personality and to find oneself. So you can say that art is a lifelong process of self-discovery! If then finances and one's own existence become part of the question of how one does one's art, it is, in my opinion, only natural to doubt.

Doubts are good. Yes, really! Since I started studying photography in Hamburg, I have had an identity crisis every two to three semesters. It was always the same: I had learned more about the market and now had to answer the question for myself once again: "Do you still want that? Is your passion strong enough? Do you want to continue living in the constant uncertainty of not knowing whether you will be able to assert yourself in this market in the long term?

At first I hated such questions. Especially because they came from myself and I couldn't avoid them. For weeks they kept me busy, and then suddenly something changed – the doubts were dissolved. And my work – in content and emotion – finally made sense again, more sense than before.

My answer to myself

I still don't know if I could get enough work as a photographer, the way I want to work. But at least now I'm about to give it a try! Right now I'm at the point where I am receiving almost regular job requests from friends and acquaintances. With two or three jobs a month of the current size, I could already be fully self-sufficient, with five I could start to invest my money and save for the future. That's not much effort!

I'm creative and burning for what I do – why shouldn't I find a way to make money with my photography, in my style? Ultimately, I am learning that commercial photography is a profession where the right approach to partners and clients is crucial. And often you don't need much experience to get a job. It is much more important to know the right people and to show reliability, basic knowledge and willingness to learn.

During my Bachelor's I noticed that my self-confidence has increased enormously despite the scepticism. Why? Quite simply: photography is not only my passion, but I also express through it what I observe, experience and learn. It helps me to process my impressions of the world. And the more I learned about myself, the more I always knew in which direction my photography had to go – and vice versa.

That means to me that I am on the right path. I'm still young – there's always time to learn something else if necessary, and I have so many areas of interest that I could take on this step with enthusiasm. But the passion will always remain and is currently stronger than ever.

How do you deal with (self-)doubts? What is photography for you? Leave me a comment!

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