Are you a shy photographer?
Are there certain subjects you just don’t like to take pictures of? Do you naturally shy away from taking pictures of people (like I tend to do)? Are you petrified at the thought of someone critiquing your pictures? Are you a perfectionist in editing your pictures because you’re afraid of what people will think of them if they’re not perfect?
I experience all of these fears. I’m a shy photographer. And sometimes, when I’m supposed to be “the photographer” in a certain situation and I tell myself to just “buck up” and do it no matter how I feel . . . I will often stumble around and feel like I’ve “made a fool of myself” and feel even worse afterward than I did before! And if I do happen to do it right and everything goes great . . . have you felt that “hollow feeling” that pride leaves behind when everything is all said and done?
So, how do I deal with fears in photography? How do I actually transform negative fears into positive motivation?
I face this test every time I help out with a Conference. You might say I’ve been “elected” to be the portrait photographer at each of the Family Encouragement Weekend Conferences my family helps out with throughout the year. We take family portraits as a service to all the families who attend. It’s often hard for big families to get family portraits, so doing this is usually a big blessing for them. And I’m always very grateful to be able to play a part in this blessing! And yet, that understanding of “being a blessing” comes more to me after the fact, later on, when I’m editing the pictures, rather than in the moment when a family is standing there waiting for me to pose them, under the pressure of the raw fact that a picture must be taken in order for the blessing to exist.
Over the years I’ve warmed up quite a bit to this “raw fact”, and I don’t fear it like I used to. I’ve learned techniques. I’ve observed other photographers take family portraits. I’ve read about it, I’ve experimented with it, I’ve figured out ways to do it easily and quickly. It’s not nearly as big of a deal as it used to be. But still, the fear persists down deep inside. So the same question persists, how do I deal with deep rooted fears?
This is what make the Bible so awesome! Certainly, use your God-given intellect as much as you can to solve problems, but there are certainly things the intellect can’t solve! Have you ever considered Hebrews 13:5-6 in light of fear in photography?
It says to let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for God has said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” So that we may boldly say, the “Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
Isn’t that awesome! Dealing with fear in photography starts with searching for “covetousness” in my own heart. Selfishness, desire for personal gain, my omnipresent longing and desire for acceptance and approval from others. God wants me to surrender this. I have to learn in my own heart, between me and God, what it means to be content in all things. To thank Him for what He has given to me. This includes how I appear, my mental capacity, my natural likes and dislikes, my current level of skill . . . am I truly content with where God has me in life right now? And if where God has us in life right now doesn’t seem “perfect”, then all the better! “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” That means that any “ability” that is performed is actually coming straight from God! When I stumble around and “make a fool of myself” in the awkward situations I find myself in, I no longer have to feel the condemnation of “lack of perfection”. God is right there to give me grace for that moment, to stop and laugh at my own mistakes, to slow down or to speed up, to think of creative things to do or pose or say . . . to boldly say in my heart with exuberant honesty that “I do not fear what man shall do unto me”.
Then, when everything is said and done, whether it was a wash or went well, the peace of God can still be reigning strong in my heart. I did the best that I could. God’s grace is always sufficient. Take God’s word at face value, surrender your heart in contentment to what God has given you, receive the grace for the moment, and enter with boldness into the work He has called you to do!