Why unlocking mental barriers is making me a better photographer.

Wow, the weather is quickly changing. Today I noticed I turned the temperature of the water in the shower a little higher and spent a little longer in there. What does this mean? It’s about to get cold!

Okay, so this isn’t a blog about the weather, nor did the opening couple of sentences bare any relevance to the topic of discussion in this article, but it’s nice to share isn’t it?

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty…

I am used to taking pictures of people without their permission and I am equally as accustomed to doing portrait shoots with people where the agenda, location and time have previously been agreed. What I am not comfortable doing, is asking a random stranger in the street to stop what they are doing to let me take their photo.

There have been plenty of occasions where I have seen someone of interest, maybe they are dressed well or underneath some nice lighting, and thought - I would love to take their photo. Each and every time I have wrestled with myself, “Just go up and ask”, and each time my anxiety has won the battle and the shot has been lost.

This weekend I said enough was enough and it was time to set myself a challenge. I had to go out into the streets and come home with one street portrait of a random person. Challenge accepted.

The Challenge.

So, I am in East London and the clouds are making a lovely soft light. I spot this young woman stood underneath a bridge. There is lovely contrast on her face and she has a wonderful natural look about her. I must have walked past her 3 times, and then I just went for it.

Me – “Please may I take your photo?”.

Her – “Sure”.

And that was that. I gave her my card so she could find her image online, then off I went. Simple. Easy. A huge confidence boost.

It is not the best image in the world. It is natural and subtle. What it represents however, is much more worthy…

The importance of unlocking doors in your mind.

As creatives, I believe it is important that we unlock any doors that are holding our physiological development back. Technical skill only gets you so far, it is your creative mind that allows you to become the best version of yourself and your talent.  Unlocking the doors allows more things to stream through, some of it good some of it bad – but it enables your creativity to go further.

That weekend I came back with 6 street portraits, 5 more than my initial target. Each time I took one the easier it got. The worst thing that happened was that some people said no, hardly a big deal is it?

Getting over that anxiety barriers and the confidence that came from it, will now allow me to become more expressive in regards to my work. Who knows where it might lead, but I do know the more open I am the better my work will become.

What hurdles do you have? Is there something you want to do but seem to not have the confidence to do it? I would love to hear your stories, feel free to share them below or on the social media pages listed.

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Thanks for reading.

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