Anxiety can paralyze you

I haven’t blogged for a while, due to laziness mainly, but today I decided to post about photographer’s anxiety.

Now, think of an ideal set, with the best light, gorgeous people and horses, a landscape to die for.

There are 3 ways to approach your best shoot ever, and we have all been all three kinds:

1) you are calm, you have experience and you know you have to make a plan before you start. You calculate everything before you start, and you don’t indulge on that. A brainstorm has to last only a tiny lapse of time to be productive. You seldom chimp. You are in charge. You are focused. You know exactly what you are after. You stop for short intervals if you feel tired. You feel a bit overwhelmed because you have so many great expectations. You stick to your plan, but you may try to enhance it as you go. You shoot accordingly with the post processing you wish to use on your photos. You feel the need to make things happen in such a way you can be creative, you are always linked to the people/horses/other photographers as things develop. You feel that you could have done better, but you haven’t checked the images in camera. You are confident. You don’t feel tired, you feel that you are excited and with a lot of adrenaline. You talk to the models and relax until you feel calmer.

2) you start well, full of self confidence but then you kind of forget to give instructions and panic because things are not happening smoothly and everyone expects you to take decisions. You sort of create roots in the ground and never move from that same spot, missing lots of possible points of view. You feel comfortable with a certain situation and don’t dare to be creative, you stick to it. You just mentally quit every few minutes.  You chimp a lot, missing photo opportunities. You forget that there are people and horses looking for instructions. You started off with some kind of a plan, but it was too basic, not refined, not polished, just a rough plan of an obvious set up. You feel exhausted after the shoot, and you only get a few images that you like. You hardly talk with other people, models, etc, because you are worried deeply inside. You trust 100 percent what you see on the LCD. You are confident again, as you leave the set. You soon find out that you should never trust so much what you see in the back of your camera. You get some good photos, but you hoped to have more variety, more creative takes. You think that you didn’t have enough time.

3) you feel lost, anxiety takes over, you have no plan, you hurry from one place to another without a goal, you take thousands of frames of the very same situation, you fear that you don’t have enough of that set up, you lose all interaction with the people and horses, anxiety makes you feel NOT SOBER. You chimp continuously. You feel lost. Anxiety doesn’t let you think with calm, you are not able to focus on the scene. You forget to check the settings on your camera, you forget that you have more than one lens. You could make night there, because you will never feel that you have already gotten what you were looking for. Why? Because you didn’t really know what you were looking for. You had no plan.  You are completely disconnected from the other people around you.

Afterwards when you look at your photos you wonder why you didn’t do differently and you remember shooting them with a blurry brain feeling. You can’t understand why you didn’t “see” properly. Your photos are just nice, they are just obvious, they often have technical flaws, like wrong framing and not enough depth of field/shutter speed. You feel overwhelmed and lost.

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Ok, so I wrote about the most frequent ways of behaving during a photographic shoot. So what? Well, my tips are, be aware, be prepared and keep an eye on your watch. Being part of a small group might put positive pressure on you and keep you more focused.

Post Scriptum: ah, just in case you wish to shoot with me, I can help you – but only if you have some self discipline to start with.

You sort of create roots in the ground and never move from that same spot, missing lots of possible points of view.

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