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Thread: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

  1. #1

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    What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    Recently asked to do a bikini photoshoot. Never done one before and was, frankly, quite nervous about the proposition. Young woman was very pretty (to my ageing eyes anyway) and I found myself freezing up over the idea of doing so. Anyway, I had agreed to do so, did a little searching of examples on-line. Downloaded a few images and used them as the basis for running the shoot. Everything went well and she is very happy with the pics, to the extent that she now wants lingerie/boudoir pics (something else outside of my experience).

    The main thrust of the thread, however, is that I froze at the idea. A great opportunity, a great model AND being paid to boot. It mde me assess myself in an area I don't normally look - it's the ugly side of me, the side I am embarassed over. Why did I freeze? What can I do to address the response and improve upon it in the future?
    Looking back on life, there have been many opportunities I have had (in all walks of life) that I have NOT taken as I was afraid of doing so.
    So - why did I freeze?
    Fear of failure. I see so many great images on this site and others and I am not at that same level. I am afraid of not being able to perform to standard - and that standard is one that I have set for myself based on the excellent work I peruse on a regular basis. I know, totally unrealistic - and hence the purpose of the thread. Once I became aware of the problem I was able to do some background research, get some examples and make myself feel more comfortable about it. once I actually started shooting, everything was fine. It was overcomin that first step that was so difficult.

    Becoming aware of the issue made me address it - and hopefully improve myself as a result of it.
    What issues do others thave that we could learn from? We don't need to go through the maze ourselves if someone else has already done so.
    Graham.
    One result from the shoot. Didn't want to show an image with her face as she believes she has copyright so I am currently educating her gently.
    What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    You have to ask yourself why did you freeze. Was it because of this particular assignment, swimsuit modeling, would you freeze up if it were a family member? Does it happen for any type of style you aren't familiar with (such as sports, product photography)?

    That's the only way you can overcome this issue. For the rest of us, I think taking on a wedding or christening for the first time would cause us to either freeze up or proceed cautiously and plan ahead.

  3. #3

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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    Two answers to this question.

    The main item which has prevented or slowed my progression has been lack of cash for better equipment. Although slightly improved after retiring.

    And with regard to reluctance over taking on certain photographic jobs.

    Yes, a fear of taking on something which is above my capabilities and totally failing is always a worry; particularly concerning paid work.

    Photography is a hobby for me so I don't need 'stress jobs' now.

    Anything which I do accept is on the 'I'll give it a go and see what happens' condition.

    A couple of years ago, my local regatta (I'm a committee member) put on a fashion shoot and asked me to do the photographs.

    I said it was too much for my equipment but the reply was 'It's either you or me, with my point and shoot, from the supermarket.'

    So I reluctantly went ahead. Just before this I had purchased a Speedlite flash but hadn't fully understood the differences between this and my old fixed output film camera flash.

    After quite a bit of editing, I managed some acceptable shots, but I could do better now - possibly.

    http://www.pbase.com/crustacean/regatta_fashion_show

    I take photos of the regatta every year for their website. But whenever there is any potentially paid work, with high stress factor, from them I simply point out that professional photographers advertise in the programme so it would be wrong for me to do the job instead.

    Usually, the job is offered to the pros, who decline because it is more trouble than it is worth. But I'm let off having to do anything.

    I used the same ploy recently when a friend wanted me to photograph his son's wedding.

    However, if he had found some unusual bugs in his garden . . .

  4. #4

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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    GrahamH: I think your photo is excellent. Perhaps your "freezing" can be seen as a kind of blessing in disguise. After all, you have the talent and great technique that carried you through in this case! It sounds more like a bit of "stage fright" - some eventually get over it, others learn to deal with it. Much like you are doing. The blessing part of it is that it makes you do your homework, prepare for the performance, so that when it begins you find yourself doing just fine. Some of the greatest performers of all types go through similar feelings with every event.

    I am also faced with fear of failure when undertaking something new. But when the situation is carefully examined, it often turns out that it is worth the "risk"! We are our own toughest critic, and so often it does not matter as much to others as it does to ourselves. I look at my "experiments" as "learning experiences", a mind-game I play with myself so I won't take it so seriously that I don't go on with it. You never know if you can do something until you try - so no sense in stopping before you start!

  5. #5
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    I'm in agreement with Green Mountain Girl and would also suggest increasing your opportunities to try your hand at those assignments that cause you to freeze, for instance with the model shoot, ask a friend to pose for you, join a class to get more experience, and I don't blame you about the wedding assignment.

  6. #6

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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    You have to ask yourself why did you freeze. Was it because of this particular assignment, swimsuit modeling, would you freeze up if it were a family member? Does it happen for any type of style you aren't familiar with (such as sports, product photography)?

    That's the only way you can overcome this issue. For the rest of us, I think taking on a wedding or christening for the first time would cause us to either freeze up or proceed cautiously and plan ahead.
    Thinking on it, the problem of freezing is rooted in my upbringing. Everything I did was expected to be perfect - and if it wasn't (most of the time, if not always), then it was dismissed at best or I was derided. If it was 'up to scratch', then I would be told NOT to expect praise for a job well done as all I had done was do what was needed.
    If I did nothing, then at least I didn't get the negative comments - and given that I wouldn't get positive ones, it was the lesser of the evils. Now that I have realised that (at such an advanced age, obviously I am a slow learner in some things), I can attempt to address and mitigate it.
    I do tend to freeze at many new opportunities and have pushed through in some of them but have left many behin (darn this hindsight ).
    My first wedding was a great experience. It was of two friends and they were ever so encouraging. Gave me the courage to throw myself into the task and the results were great (compared to 'Uncle Fred', and I have improved since).
    Once I get the first one under my belt, I seem to really progress quickly, it's that first step that is so daunting.
    Thanks for your comments John.
    Graham

  7. #7

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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Two answers to this question.

    The main item which has prevented or slowed my progression has been lack of cash for better equipment. Although slightly improved after retiring.
    An age old problem with little chance of immediate resolution for most of us .
    Thanks Geoff.
    Graham

  8. #8

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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Green Mountain Girl View Post
    GrahamH: I think your photo is excellent. Perhaps your "freezing" can be seen as a kind of blessing in disguise. After all, you have the talent and great technique that carried you through in this case! It sounds more like a bit of "stage fright" - some eventually get over it, others learn to deal with it. Much like you are doing. The blessing part of it is that it makes you do your homework, prepare for the performance, so that when it begins you find yourself doing just fine. Some of the greatest performers of all types go through similar feelings with every event.

    I am also faced with fear of failure when undertaking something new. But when the situation is carefully examined, it often turns out that it is worth the "risk"! We are our own toughest critic, and so often it does not matter as much to others as it does to ourselves. I look at my "experiments" as "learning experiences", a mind-game I play with myself so I won't take it so seriously that I don't go on with it. You never know if you can do something until you try - so no sense in stopping before you start!
    Interesting direction. For other reasons (someone was critiquing me for other their self serving purpose, nothing actually to do with me) I checked out a quote I had heard.
    If you aren't making mistakes, you aren't trying hard enough.
    Once I read that, along the same lines as your comments, it made sense. Hopefully I am open enough to learn from it and improve.
    Thanks GMG (do you have a first name, or is it Green???)
    Graham

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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    This goes for my entire Life…

    If I know I can do it… I’m good.

    If I know I can’t do it… I’m good.

    It’s when I think I can do it that the fun begins!

    There is only one way I will ever know. I don’t want to wonder one way or another. So after the usual fence sitting, there is really only one choice!

    Just jump right into the Big Middle of it and let the chips fall where they may!

    By the way? That is a great shot, Graham! But I wonder about those sticks in the water at the edge of her flying hair?
    Last edited by Loose Canon; 4th February 2013 at 01:52 AM.

  10. #10

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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    Morning Terry,
    Good advice, thanks.
    The sticks to the side, I wanted something to break up the sea a little (as the beach is less than pristine - and I've seen a similar shot with everything pristine). However, the sticks are definitely too close to the hair.
    Graam

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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Canon View Post
    This goes for my entire Life…

    If I know I can do it… I’m good.

    If I know I can’t do it… I’m good.

    It’s when I think I can do it that the fun begins!

    There is only one way I will ever know. I don’t want to wonder one way or another. So after the usual fence sitting, there is really only one choice!

    Just jump right into the Big Middle of it and let the chips fall where they may!
    This deserves to be repeated.

    Uncertainty is my usual nemesis when shooting new scenarios. I always want to walk away with a good frame, and that's not guaranteed in any circumstances. New scenarios test the photographer and their gear to the limits, then expand them. I view it as me and my camera versus the world. Excessively romantic? Perhaps. But it keeps me going.

    That said, this philosophy resulted in a truly nutty weekend. Friday, I was shooting my cousin's park skiing escapades after dark at 3 degrees Fahrenheit (I could freeze my tongue to my tripod, and my flashes, powered by 12AAs, lasted under an hour of light use). Saturday, it was a Detroit Derby Girls' bout with a Star Wars theme, with the usual fast low-light action augmented by impressively-costumed Stormtroopers of the 501st Legion. Sunday, I was filming my cousin again, followed by the March shoot for a pinup calendar, and finally, the Detroit Fire Collective's hoop, magic, & burlesque performances at a Super Bowl party. All told? 23 hours of shooting, 91GB of shots and video. Boundaries? Pushed.

  12. #12

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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    Hi Graham,

    You are suffering from a psychological condition many people suffer from. It is not the place to discuss it in this forum. All you need to know is that you are not as bad as you may see yourself to be.

    Those whom deride others do so to hide their own inabilities in an attempt to uplift their own esteem. You are probably more capable than you may think. Looking at the image there is nothing that says you do not know what you are doing. Critique in CiC is not aimed to be disparaging, it is to help others to improve their skill.

    You are comparing yourself to others in this forum, BEEG mistake. Never compare your work to the work of others. Look at the work of others and ask yourself what do I need to do to reach the same level. LOOK at it and LEARN from it – DO NOT COMPARE! You are as much a unique individual as any other member of this forum. The level of skill greatly varies from complete novice to very advanced. If you compare your work to the work of much more skilled individuals you will feel you have failed. You have not failed, you have simply not reached the same level yet. You have failed once you give up!

    Graham, accept whom you are and accept your level of skill, no matter what the level might be. Do not attempt to do an assignment that is above your level of skill. First set yourself a goal and do what you need to do to achieve that goal. Keep on practicing until you get it right and then tackle the task with self confidence.

    Look at it this way, if you were going to beat Tiger Woods at a game of gholf, you will need a looottt of practice. If you fail to beat him you cannot consider yourself to be a failure. You have simply not reached his level and you should accept that you will never be able to reach that level unless you have the talent and determination.

    Look at yourself and say to yourself I can do it and I will do it. If it is not what you expected it to be keep on trying until you can do it. Keep on and on until you feel confident in doing what you wish to do and getting the results you strive for.
    If you wish to be a wedding photographer do a couple of weddings – free of charge. Ask a photographer if you could go with him/her as an assistant without pay. Do shoots until you feel confident and there you go. This will also apply to model shoots.

    Never give yourself out to be someone you are not. Be very humble in telling people you are no expert but you will give it a go. Never tell people you can do something you know you cannot do. Rather let them discover that you are more capable than you give yourself out to be.

    Hope I have not read more in your post than you were actually trying to say.

    I appreciate this thread as it has again reminded me that on the other side of the post we read there is a person with feelings and emotions. We are not communicating with an electronic device on our desktops, we are actually dealing with humans and we should always remember it.

    GAIN CONFIDENCE IN WHAT YOU WISH TO DO BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT TO DO IT!

  13. #13

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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    Quite simply - the weather ! Unfortunately we don't all have the luxury of blue seas and warm sandy beaches !

  14. #14

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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    Beat Tiger Woods? That is easy... everyone else is doing it.

    Graham - that is an excellent shot. I see nothing wrong with your confidence etc.
    Is that a coconut next to her left thigh?
    Last edited by Bobobird; 4th February 2013 at 06:08 PM.

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamH View Post
    Thinking on it, the problem of freezing is rooted in my upbringing. Everything I did was expected to be perfect - and if it wasn't (most of the time, if not always), then it was dismissed at best or I was derided.
    Probably not.
    More likely you sought more attention and recognition: you are a child of the starvation economy.
    It occurred to you that there was an expectation of perfection, then you expected and interpreted derision if your effort was not perfect.
    In any case
     firstly there are more layers to the onion than simply: “I was expected to do everything perfectly”
     secondly, that ‘excuse’ is now your racket, which is also an issue of itself.

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    You are suffering from a psychological condition many people suffer from.
    You are a qualified and practicing Clinical Psychologist?

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    It is not the place to discuss it in this forum.
    Really – then why did you?

    WW

  16. #16
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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    I'd suggest just telling folks whose idea you don't want to execute that you're not interested in becoming proficient at that type of photography or spell out for them what type of photography you're proficient at. That should shut up anybody who's wanting photographsof subjects you're not interested in photographing.

    If you later change your mind about doing that type of photography, notify the people who asked that you've become more proficient at such subjects and are now willing to do that type of work (just in case they might ask you later).

    I'm jes' sayin'....

    virginia

  17. #17

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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    You are a qualified and practicing Clinical Psychologist? WWW
    No Bill, my field of study was Theology, however my younger sister is a qualified Clinical Psycologist, I can arrange an appointment for you if needed.

  18. #18
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    No Bill, my field of study was Theology, however my younger sister is a qualified Clinical Psycologist, I can arrange an appointment for you if needed.
    Appointment is not required: but thank you for the offer which was made on your Sister's behalf.
    I married a Psychologist - I get family rates.

    ***

    And your answer to my second question is . . .?


    WW

  19. #19

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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    Andre, you sound very much like a friend of mine back in Toronto. Good advice from her as well as from you. It's amazing just how debilitating self-doubt can be. I've done weddings (and love them), I've done events and many other disciplines. Overall I would consider myself semi-pro, many people are vocal in liking my work and I get some business from them. No physical reason why I should self-doubt. The sins of the father are paid by the child.

    Chris - believe me, sun, sand and sea aren't all they are cracked up to be. What do you do for variety? I love the snow, the cold, the changing seasons, the hills (highest point here is 60' above sea level). Just need to travel more if I can.

    Bobo - your eyes are not failing you yet . I found several aged coconuts on the beach and loved their textures, so I used them. (We never did mange to meet up when I was in Toronto - opportunity missed - keep up the good work, great pics).

    Graham

  20. #20

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    Re: What stops you from progressing - how did you overcome it?

    Hi Bill,
    Starvation economy - never heard that phrase before, nice one. If it's not copyrighted I shall use it myself.
    Seeking 'more' attention and recognition!!! - Couple of examples to put things into perspective. My mum told me one day that she used to lock me away in a bedroom so she could ignore me while she looked after my siblings. My father always refused to help me fix my bike and that I should learn to do it myself - as he had done. (Wasn't happy when mum pointed out that his fathers farmhands used to help him however). May other examples on this line. So yeah. Seeking 'more' is definitely what I was doing. I know someone has to be in the bottom percentiles, but a little higher up in the curve towards normal would have been nice. I also understand that there are many layers (that's how pysch doctors make their money ).
    Definitely using the 'perfection is normal' as an excuse, and it is this that I aam trying to overcome now that I have identified it (hence the post).
    Thanks for your input, appreciate it. It's a difficult subject to deal with and all viewpoints are valid.
    Graham

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