Photographers — and creatives in general, really — all struggle with self-doubt and thoughts on inadequacy. It comes with the territory, constantly comparing your art with what others are producing, finding flaws and worrying about how it all matches up.
But this necessary evil is actually what makes you a better photographer, what gives you that drive to constantly improve on your own techniques and continually adapt and improve your work. The key, at least according to this Art of Photography video, is learning how to turn off that inner critic when it’s no longer helping.
In his recent video, Ted Forbes discusses what he calls “creative doubt.” Forbes begins the video with a prompt from a viewer-submitted question regarding doubt, specifically relating to his doubt about image selection, image processing, choosing images for his photo book, etc. The theme there was that this photographer had doubts about his work in almost all aspects of his photography.
Forbes describes, as noted above, his opinion that they key to growth as a photographer is using this inner critic to your advantage by focusing on your work and how you can improve it. While at the same time having enough control over yourself and your emotions to be able to shut that voice off when it is doing more harm than good.
To close, Forbes talks about how important it is as photographers and creatives to put out our work. He quotes Steve Jobs saying, “Real artists ship.” Which is a great point to make, one of the easiest ways to get over your inner critic and to learn how to ignore it is to just force yourself to publish and get your work out there? Don’t let the self-doubt win, push through and put yourself out there and this will, in turn, help you get better about using your inner critic to your advantage, rather than as an excuse.