Being an introverted photographer is a challenge, especially if you actually enjoy photographing people. As introverts, we tend to be happiest on our own, with family or with close friends. We avoid large groups and people that we don’t know well. We’re likely the last to speak up in a group setting.
Unfortunately, not “getting out there” holds us back from achieving some of our goals as photographers. But when we do get out there, we get tired or burn out from people quickly. But it is possible for introverts to actually thrive among people and even run a successful people oriented photography business.
Let’s Begin With the Challenges
It’s well known among photographers that constraints and challenges can actually help you become more creative. When you’re limited in some way, it forces you to find new ways around obstacles to achieve your goals.
So don’t worry that introversion can be a challenge to photographing people or becoming better known as a photographer. Finding ways to overcome these challenges will make you better than you would have been without them!
1) The Challenge of Being Around People
As an introvert, you likely keep to yourself outside of school or work. Evenings and weekends are spent on your own or with family. You avoid crowds and would prefer to get together with close friends and have deeper conversations.
Of course, none of this is a problem on its own. But as a photographer, you may not be as ambitious as you would like to be when it comes to photographing people. Whether you’re an amateur or professional photographer, or even running a business, sticking to yourself instead of being out among people means you’re missing opportunities.
You’re missing out on learning from other photographers or collaborating on a project together. Running a successful photography business will be difficult without the connections you’ll make among families, photographers, and fellow entrepreneurs.
A danger of not getting out there is that you might end up spending too much time on social media. But social media can present us with an illusion of how great other people’s lives are.
You’ll see the exciting lives being lived by everyone else and think that you’re boring and have nothing to share. You might get the impression that everyone else’s photography business is booming. Their mini sessions are booked solid, their summer is filled with weddings, and they’re a great success compared to you. But social media is much different than the real world of people.
How to Overcome the Challenge of Being Around People
If you love photographing people, you’ll need to focus on making yourself get out there more. A little practice will get you in the habit of spending more time with people. Think of it as exercising your social muscles.
Stop missing out on opportunities. Exercise those social muscles by finding a camera club or local Facebook group for photographers. Start now, and make it your goal to track down a group of photographers in your area in which to participate.
Once you’ve found a group, especially if it’s quite large, find one photographer to connect with. Maybe even another introvert. Start a project with them. Maybe you can assist each other in a project you’ve been wanting do.
If you’re extremely introverted, look around at what the extroverts are doing and pretend to be one. Listen to how easily they talk with new people and how the conversation just seems to flow. Begin to imitate them. You should also have some leading questions ready for new people you meet.
2) The Challenge of Being “Out There” Too Much
Getting out there and among people will transform you as an introverted photographer. You’ll begin to get some of those portrait photography projects started, connect with interesting photographers, and maybe make a good new friend. However, after all this increased social interaction, you may find yourself tired out.
My first job in photography was a school photographer. I was taking traditional school portraits for up to 200 students per day. I had to greet them, make them feel comfortable, pose them, coax a great smile from them and wish them, “good day!” At the rate of 1000 students per week, I was exhausted! Not physically exhausted but, socially exhausted. The part of me that interacts with people was tired out.
The danger of becoming socially exhausted for long periods of time is that you’ll risk resenting people for stealing your time, you’ll become too exhausted to give your subjects the attention they deserve, and you’ll eventually burn out.
How to Overcome Weaknesses in Sales
Selling doesn’t just mean making money. It means convincing people you’ve got something worthwhile to offer. Maybe it means persuading someone to be part of your project.
You already know that the first step is getting out there more. The more you’re around other people, the more opportunities you’ll have to sell. You’ve got ideas for doing that now. But there are other ways to sell yourself that will work comfortably with your introverted nature.
First, focus your efforts on being an incredible photographer. When people experience your photography services they will naturally refer you to other customers. That means they’re doing the selling for you.
Second, the extroverts that you have been getting connected with will sell for you. I constantly get referrals from extroverts who tell people about me. Extroverts are well connected with lots of people and will love to discuss your photography work if it’s good.