I have imposter syndrome. I’ve got it bad. And you’ve probably experienced it too.
Imposter syndrome is the feeling that you’re not good at what you do despite evidence to the contrary. Often, it’s the feeling that it’s just all luck, and that you have no real skill behind it. Perhaps, it’s because you’re being humble. But most of the time, this feeling is caused by self doubt. “I don’t have enough experience for this. Other people are so much better than me, I can’t be an expert. That one time was just luck!”
I’ve been thinking about imposter syndrome a lot lately. I LOVE photography. But, despite any success I’ve had, I never feel like a “real” photographer. I have imposter syndrome. It’s kept me from proactively pitching clients. Starting a business. Buying better equipment that I need. It’s even kept me from asking for a raise or charging fees that I deserve!
I don’t typically write about food photography on the blog. In fact, it took me a lot to even think about writing this post! Imposter syndrome will do that to you. It will get in your way. The best way to combat it? Do the exact opposite of what your brain tells you to do.
So I’m doing it. I will be writing more posts about photography on this blog in 2018. And I hope you’ll hold me to it. Below are the 5 ways I will be trying out to get over my imposter syndrome. Perhaps they’ll help you too.
5 ways To Get Over Imposter Syndrome
Make every day opposite day.
Does your brain tell you that you’re not good enough to do something? Ignore it. Do just the opposite. Think you’re not qualified to write a blog post on food photography? Write a blatant piece about how you’re going to do it and make the Internet hold you accountable.
Me: HEAR ME ROAR.
Treat Yo’ Self.
Associate each little win with something positive.
For example, whenever my photography gets noticed, I treat myself to a new prop (a dish, pitcher, cake stand, etc.) or piece of photography gear. Then, when I use the item, I have a positive association with it. Like, “hey, I got this cake stand because Crate and Barrel wanted to use my picture. I KNOW what I’m doing if they wanted it.”
Positivity beats out negativity. Plus, presents.
Always be learning. Like, seriously.
Take every opportunity to learn something new. The more you hear things you’ve already heard before, the more confirmation you’ll have that you DO, in fact, know what you’re doing.
My goal is to take as many food photography courses possible. Is it repetitive? Sometimes. But the more and more I hear terms and concepts over again, the more convinced I become that I know them. But, actually.
Be a yes man. (Or woman.)
Say yes to every little opportunity that comes your way. Have a friend that needs a new LinkedIn photo? TAKE IT. Your nephew’s first birthday is coming up? BE HIS own personal fairy godmother/cool aunt/ photographer. Be like Nike and just do it.
Surround yourself with cheerleaders.
Not the kind you knew in high school. The real, genuine cheerleaders that already exist in your life. Like your mom. Or your friend from college that will tell you the truth no matter what.
It’s even better if they are acquaintances or strangers. Find your fan base. The random person that comments on your instagram. The coworker that stumbled across your blog and now reads it on the regular. We tend to discredit our loved ones because “they have to say I’m good”. Strangers tend to have more credibility because they don’t HAVE to confirm that you know what you’re doing.
Surround yourself with people that love you and will give you honest feedback. People that will offer constructive criticism and will help you be better. The people that will tell you to stop getting in your own way.
Sometimes all you need is a reminder.
So let’s get to work. I’ll always be a work in progress. But there’s no way I’m letting myself get in my own way again.
I AM a photographer. Even though my own brain doesn’t want to believe it.
Stay tuned for more posts on food photography on the blog (eep!). Do you have your own way to combat imposter syndrome? Let me know how in the comments!! Seriously. I can use all the help I can get.
I’m an avid blog reader and as much as I like to comment on others blogs, But I’m also a shadow reader who sometimes lurks through old posts and find something that strikes a nerve in reading. Hence I found this post of yours.
First of all. You’re a Photographer! And your clearly far better than most and that includes me. As I don’t even yet own a camera besides my iPhone, I make do with what I have as all things take time. Your photos are gorgeous. You should continue your photography on your blog as normal. There is no reason why you can’t incorporate your photography or continuing to learn it along with your Food. Both just go hand in hand in many ways. Your blog also doesn’t have to be like anyone else but what you choose to try and make it be. Even if you study or take elements of ideas from others, Be Original.
At the end of the day, you have to feel good about what you have, what your building and what you’ve done. You shouldn’t think of yourself as being less than a photographer. Whenever I scroll my links to methodically visit your blog, like stopping by a friend to say hello I think of that Rosemary & Rye friend that’s a Foodie & Photographer. You have a very particular style, I can’t name it, but I can detect it looking around your blog as it’s also evident in its look and the way you take your photo’s. So be that photographer you know you are. As well be assertive enough to ask for that raise if you feel its warranted! Everyone starts small and eventually if steady become more than who they were.
I like all the 5 tips. Like the Ridiculously Good Idea Book in the last photo too. I don’t think its necessary to be a yes man/woman as that can sometimes not be a good thing. But I do believe you have to be open and receptive. In tune with when something or a casual conversation maybe sound like an opportunity or possible opportunity for you to say to or following up on it. Because that can lead to possible opportunity. Announce to the world you’re a photographer and the world will deliver itself to your doorstep with opportunities. As others will help announce that for you in them knowing you’re a photographer to their friends.
I do believe the more you continuously learn in a particular skill or area, the more it actually helps you or anyone else in overcoming the imposter syndrome. In my day job as a Field Process Engineer, there is a joke that you only need to know 10% more than your clients do. Just a bit more. And though I get it, I want to know far more than they do, because the more it stops me from seeming and feeling like an idiot sometimes the more I get over that syndrome per say as well of not feeling like I know enough.
So if your reading more about food, reading food magazines, trying new ingredients, getting out of your comfort zone with foodie things learning new things, expanding your ability to make things, you’re becoming more of a food expert to some degree than what most people know about food which isn’t that much. It doesn’t mean you’ll be all-knowing, but you’re increasing the knowledge of what you know and that helps to make you more knowledgeable per say in what you know or have experience with. So just keep learning more and with what appeals to you.
Photography is something I wish to learn and get better at. But there seem like a billion things to get done all the time. I may not have the drive you have with photography to get as good as I would like to think I could be. SO I’m glad you are. Because by you being better at it, I can read about what you’ve learned and hopefully that will also make me better. And if I have a question to ask, I’ll have no problem asking you. As well I’m sure others will as well. Learning more matters far more than you know.
This was a quote I heard very recently. “When you do something you shouldn’t do, it’s worst than you think it is. When you do something that you should do, it’s far better than you think the consequences are” Jordon Peterson
That could be thought of in some many ways.
Urban, your comment made my day!! Apologies for my delayed response, for some reason I didn’t get a notification about your comment. Thank you for being so supportive – it’s support from people like you that helps me stay motivated and feel like I can really be successful as a photographer!!
I’ve heard the same joke as you when I worked in consulting – about knowing just more than your clients. But it’s that drive to learn more and not settle for the bare minimum that really sets us apart! “Always be learning”! I love the Jordon Peterson quote you shared – I need to print, frame, and put that up on my wall!
I’m so glad you feel comfortable asking photography questions – please don’t hesitate to ask at all!! And there is nothing wrong with iPhone photos – some of my favorite bloggers do most of their travel photography on their iPhone and you really wouldn’t be able to tell at all. In fact, a few of my photos on Instagram have been iPhone photos and I’ve been pretty proud of them 🙂 I have a photography post planned out for next month… stay tuned!
P.S. Loving your new site theme – it looks very true to it’s name “Refined”! Restored 316 is great – my site used to be on a their Divine theme.
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