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How To Not Feel Like An Imposter During Your Next Portrait Session

At one point or another, we’ve all had a nasty bout of imposter syndrome, also known as that time in your business when you feel like you're full of shit as you present yourself as the “expert” in your industry.

There’s a variety of reasons people list as their cause for imposter syndrome.

Whether you’re relatively inexperienced and not yet comfortable in your own skin as an entrepreneur or you already have an established following and are afraid to pivot your business into a new direction for fear of losing followers, either way, it stops you directly in your tracks to progress.

I know because I’ve been there myself.

I worked in television production for 16 years, and then one day, I quit.  After years of looking for new opportunities in the industry and consistently coming up short, I came to the conclusion that the best option for me would be to, gulp, work for myself.

Becoming a business owner was never a part of the plan until it was my only plan.

That was about three years ago.  For the first year, I had difficulties using the words “professional photographer” to answer the “what do you do for a living” question.  

“Um, I’m a video guy that also takes pictures on the side…”  Ugh, I still remember how uncomfortable I felt getting the words out of my mouth.

Despite making strides as a photographer, I allowed my insecurity rather than my expertise and passion to dictate how I presented myself.

This type of mentality rears it’s ugly head often when it’s time for people to update their portraits.

Oftentimes, a lot of second guessing, anxious-driven choices and over-the-top assumptions play out as you drive yourself crazy in the weeks and days leading up to your session.  

Obviously, you don’t want that type of anxiety written on your face, so that fear needs to be addressed early on with your photographer.  

I find out about it during strategy calls with my clients.  I listen to their stories describing where they are versus where they want to be with their businesses, and then we talk about how to steer clear of those negative thoughts and keep our eyes on the prize.

The main point I share with them is that if you’re investing time and money into a portrait session, you need to own who you are and who you serve, otherwise these images will be useless.  

Besides, you can’t be an imposter if you all you are is yourself.

Regardless of where you are with your business, you have a unique expertise and a desire to share it with as many people as you can, so, it’s important to get past the doubt you may be feeling about your current situation and share your passion with people who need your help..

Once you choose this route, your guard drops, and that allows you to get out of your head and into the moment, creating authentic images with expressions that clearly tells the world all about you and your brand.  

As a result, you won’t make decisions based on what you think everyone wants to see out of you; rather, your choices will be coming from an authentic place.

Wear the types of outfits that you wear around colleagues and clients, don’t buy something simply because it’s expensive and trending on Twitter.

Have your makeup and hair done in a way that accentuates, not distracts from, your appearance.  It can get pretty crazy, pretty fast, so build off of what you normally wear, if any, and slowly build a look from there.  

If your colleagues don’t recognize you in these portraits, then you probably went too far!

As far as locations, if you normally work at a co-work space, your clients work at co-work spaces, then don’t book a gigantic conference room - it’s just overkill!  Shoot in the co-work space, nothing wrong with that.  

Remember that phrase, "keeping it real?"  Keep that in mind before your next portrait session and thoughts of pretending to be someone that you're not will fall by the wayside.

Have you ever dealt with feelings of imposter syndrome before a photo shoot?  How did the session turn out?

Please share in the comment section below, and if you know someone who could benefit from this blog, please share with them, :)

John DeMatoComment