Friday, May 14, 2010

Too Shy for Photography

Really, if there’s one thing I hate about myself, it is that I am very shy!

I am not shy when I am with old friends, but when it comes to gatherings with people who I don’t know, I’d rather spend the time alone, in a corner, all by myself.

Take, for example, when I attended a workshop in New York. I didn’t speak to anyone, I only spoke when the speaker asked me a question, and I never even gave anyone my business card! And when time came when we can photograph the model, I was photographing her from my seat, about 15 feet away! I only came closer when she noticed me and she posed for me. If she didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have any shot of her looking straight at me! (She was also posing for other photographers.)

So how can I expect to be good in portrait and journalism-style photography if I can’t approach people? How does one overcome one’s shyness? How can I get the courage to put “Photographer” in my business card? (The wife noticed it first - was I too shy to admit that I am a photographer?)

Good thing I had something to show for with my NY trip. But the sad part was, I was so shy and intimidated by the model, who isn’t really intimidating at any level, that I forgot to change my camera settings. I didn’t even get her name!

Anyway, I hope the next time I attend a photo workshop I will be better prepared - emotionally. Or else my aspiration to put up my own photography business in the future will be doomed!


  1. This is a really old post, so I hope the Author reads this. I am a photographer too, and judging by the story you wrote about the 'intimidating' model I'd say I am just a little less shy than you are, but not by much.

    I make a living from wedding photography and whatever else somebody will pay me for, but I started out as a press photographer for a local newspaper, and I can tell you that I was extremely shy whenever I was sent out on jobs. I would rely on other photographers to strike up conversation with the subject before I spoke to them. I would always rely on the journalist accompanying me to do all the talking.

    It is painful because you want to relate to the person, you want to tell jokes that they'll laugh at, but you cant because there is that little voice in your head that shouts DONT! I know exactly how you feel, you are not alone.

    These days I am a wedding photographer, and I have to deal with people, I have to get people to do stuff and to laugh and be relaxed. And its very difficult sometimes.

    Lately I am totally fine standing on a stage in front of thousands of people while the musician or band play, or being right in front of everybody while the wedding couple say 'I do', but this is not the same as not being shy because its different. Its different because you know that people accept your presence as a necessary annoyance, and that they are actually focussing on somebody else, not you.

    Are you familiar with a book entitled "the art of happiness"? Its a book co-written by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler. It has nothing to do with religion, its filled with insights that will help you with daily problems. This book has helped me a lot. In it you will learn that one way to overcome shyness is to concentrate on the fact that every person is a human being, just like you, and shares so much in common with you, and if you relate to people as another human being (as opposed to somebody that can cause you harm) it becomes easier to relax in company.

    Hope this helps

    Wishing you good light.

    Stephen Williams

    1. Very great insight Stephen. Thank you very much. I surely learned a lot from your post and I am sure that others who have read your comment will learn a lot also.

      again, thank you.



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