A few months ago I asked a whole room full of keen wildlife photographers how many of them enters wildlife photography competitions.
No one put there hand up.
I then asked them straight up whether they think it’s because their images aren’t good enough.
Almost everyone agreed. Most people felt that there images weren’t good enough.
Fear, being afraid, is one of the most debilitating emotions and probably the biggest thing standing in the way of most people’s growth and enjoyment of wildlife photography.
My feeling is that competing in photography is very much like trying to win at yoga — pointless — but I still urge all my clients and guests to enter their images into competitions.
The reason is that the process of selecting images, prepping them and then putting them out as your best has great value. Looking at your own images with a critical eye and choosing your entries, that’s the important part.
Who cares whether you win or loose?
Who cares whether a few judges who you’ve never met or whose work you might not even like says yours isn’s a great image?
The process and intent is what counts.
Apart from the fear of entering competitions there are a few of other fears out there that might be stunting YOUR growth as a photographer.
Sharing your work online
Just do it.
You cannot decide what other people will think or say about your work so stop worrying about it.
Do not be scared about what people will say about your images.
Asking for help
It’s quite amazing how many people are scared to ask for help.
Nobody knows it all and in this age of digital information it’s very easy to get answers to the questions you have. I assure you that if you have a certain question there are many many people who have the same question.
Asking for help or guidance — sharing information — is something we all should do more of.
Going on a photographic safari
I’ve heard quite a few people say that they will go on a photo safari once their photography gets a little bit better.
This kind of misses the point as a photographic safari should be aimed at improving your photography. Sure there are companies out there who, even though they say they do, don’t really teach all that much and basically just offer a group of photographers to travel with and that’s ok.
Don’t let the fear of ‘I’m not good enough’ stop you from joining a photographic safari. Simply make sure you have a good look at the company you might want to travel with and will be able to figure out quite easily whether you’re learning needs will be met.
At Wild Eye teaching is in our DNA, it’s what we do and why we do what we do. We don’t just offer safaris and private guiding but also run entry level courses, do private tuition and have a vast knowledge base of informative blogs and videos online to help you improve your photography. Not many companies out there can say this.
Our approach of teaching and sharing is something that is evident in everything we do so don’t be scared of joining a safari. I guarantee that you will not only have a great time but will leave with some new ideas, techniques and inspiration!
I’m going to say this again. Fear, being afraid, is one of the most debilitating emotions and probably the biggest thing standing in the way of most people’s growth and enjoyment of wildlife photography.
The reality is that every single photographer out there — yes even the amazing professionals that you admire — started somewhere and they were also afraid when they they started. Hell, I’m willing to bet that some of them still feel that moment of fear and nerves when it comes to sharing their work. I know I am.
It’s natural so don’t let fear hinder your growth and enjoyment of your photography.
Do what you do and simply enjoy the process.
Stop being afraid.
Until next time.