Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places, Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger, Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Fear of Not Being Good Enough


Why I'm not shooting big weddings anymore, the fear of not being good enough, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger, wedding photographer, Newcastle upon Tyne


I could have also entitled this "Why I'm not taking on any more long weddings" you see, I have a huge problem which has troubled me for years, pre-wedding anxiety gives me nightmares, I worry so much about weddings for weeks before them and yet when I arrive my anxiety subsides and I have the most wonderful times with my clients, their friends and family, and then I get home and the anxiety starts again, have I done a good enough job, did I shoot enough, did I shoot too much and that's before I've even edited them.  Once I release the galleries I am a nervous wreck worrying that I'm not good enough and everyone will hate my beautiful interpretation of their special day, I have the same anxiety when I realise portrait galleries but it's not overwhelming.  It's why I almost gave up weddings completely in 2011/2012, in fact, I'd got down to my last 2 weddings and I think they were shorter ones and I realised how much I loved shooting them.  Magical things happen at weddings, you cannot shoot a wedding without feeling so much love and joy in your heart that it gives you hope about true love and soulmates over and over and over again.

I've realised now though that I can't go on like this, part of my self-care is to minimise anxiety and I don't get the same fears when I'm shooting 2-4 hours, I realise the same pressure is there but for some (and maybe unknown) reason, it just doesn't effect me in the same way.
Why I'm not shooting big weddings anymore, the fear of not being good enough, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger, wedding photographer, Newcastle upon Tyne

I think it's possibly not fair to take any anxiety into a relationship with clients and it's certainly not fair to do it to myself.  One of the reasons I nearly stopped was because I thought that if ever anyone hated my work it would actually end me and I mean that seriously.  Of course, I'm so much stronger and better now than I've ever been but I still have those feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to cope, more with the fear of rejection than actual rejection, I suppose it's the same way I feel about my personal life.  I live with the constant fear of rejection, it's something I actively try and work on and with regards to photography at least, I never really have to look too far to see other work out there that other people get seriously overenthusiastic about and I think "blimey, my work is so much better than that".
Why I'm not shooting big weddings anymore, the fear of not being good enough, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger, wedding photographer, Newcastle upon Tyne

When I won "Inspirational Woman in Photography 2017" I wanted to truly use the award to continue to be honest, to be frank and to inspire others so I have 1 more full all day wedding this year and I am so looking forward to it because it's completely untraditional and that works, I also still have a few shorter ones and they will all be fabulous because I kind of love sweeping in and capturing the most important parts, some swishy fabulous portraits as only I can and then quietly sweeping out again. 
Why I'm not shooting big weddings anymore, the fear of not being good enough, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger, wedding photographer, Newcastle upon Tyne

So here and now, for the future of my business I want to continue to shoot 2-4 hours of wedding coverage, I'd actually like to shoot a little more of it all year around but I won't be taking any 8, 10 or 12 hour bookings because there's someone out there who will do the same great job who isn't having anxiety nightmares before and after.
Why I'm not shooting big weddings anymore, the fear of not being good enough, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger, wedding photographer, Newcastle upon Tyne

I put 110% into each wedding I shoot, the portraits I shoot are technically demanding, everything is shot manually including the off-camera flash and I'm constantly doing sums about how much zoom of the flash, how many tenths of a second, shutter speeds, iso's, it's no wonder I'm exhausted afterwards, I hope no one ever doubts how much I love their weddings or how much I always give the very best I can, I've just about made it into my 11th year of wedding photography and I'd like to still be shooting some in another 10 years and hopefully my plan to only shoot smaller wedding packages will work, it's why I'm putting it out there into the universe I guess because I love what I do and I want to keep on doing it for as long as I can.
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