Sunday, January 12, 2014

Getting over the impostor effect

I just spent the last few hours editing pictures from a photo shoot I did last week. I'm not a photographer. I just happen to have a nice camera and sometimes shoot boudoir for friends, because the only thing worse then posing in your underpants for a stranger is paying $500 to pose in your underpants for a stranger.

Every time I do shoot, I worry that my "clients" will discover that I'm actually terrible at this. I felt that way last week when taking pictures for a friend. "Oh God, just act like you know what you're doing. Maybe something will turn out ok. Thank goodness I'm doing this for free, otherwise she would demand that I pay her for wasting her time."

I didn't look at the pictures all week. I dreaded the editing process, convinced that my lack of talent would be extremely obvious.

But it wasn't.

They looked great.

A little crop here, a tiny adjustment to the highlights there, and suddenly three hours had passed. I could have kept editing for another three hours, as I had ended up with so many shots that I'd be proud to share.

I suffer from impostor syndrome. I was convinced that the good shots from my first four photo shoots had been flukes, and eventually I'd end up doing a shoot with nothing to show but apologies. Now, after my fifth session behind the camera, I'm recognizing that I have a style, a good eye for lines and posing, and the ability to ease my friends' nerves while in a vulnerable position (literally). I'm pretty good at post-production too.

I still wouldn't call myself a photographer. Not yet anyway.

But I'm getting pretty good at this.


  1. Ha! I am the same way. I spent all of graduate school wondering when they were going to figure out I had no idea what I was doing. Now I always think that one day someone will realize that I know nothing about anything. And I am a Master Pilates & Fitness teacher. Been doing it for 25 years.

  2. I think if you can legitimately call yourself a Master of anything, it's probably time to accept that you DO know what you're doing! ;)