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Old 04-11-2018, 10:28 PM   #1
photo1la
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Default Imposter Syndrome Effecting My Career

I'm struggling with imposter syndrome. It seems to come in waves. Lately it's been hard to work because of it and have had a lack of interest in pursuing my career.

I am a commercial photographer in LA and have shot for some well known companies, however, I honestly believe these gigs I landed were pure luck. I am self taught and have only been doing this specific type of photography for about 3 years now. So I am very new to the industry. The opportunities I have had do not equate with my experience level.

I'm constantly in fear that clients will "find me out" and realize I have no clue what I'm actually doing and be disappointed in my work. Also with the high rates I charge for my work I have to fake the confidence that my work is actually worth this much.

It's gotten to the point that I feel like I must be scamming people because there's no way I deserve to make six figures and only work 1 day week.

I continually compare my work to the top in the industry, people who have been doing photography for 30+ years and get frustrated that my work isn't as good. I'm a perfectionist so this also attributes to me constantly feeling like my work isn't good enough.

I'm not sure how to overcome this but wanted to see if anyone else has experienced this and what has helped them.

Thank you for taking the time to read.
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Old 04-13-2018, 04:41 PM   #2
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Heart Re: Imposter Syndrome Effecting My Career

I have not experienced this per se.

I'd say your photography is worth the money since you are getting paid a high rate for it. Good for you!


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Old 04-13-2018, 09:35 PM   #3
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I've been married to a thriving photographer amd worked with him. Honestly his clients didn't care how long he had been a photographer or where he was taught. All they wanted was someone they could work well with and produced consistent, high-quality results.

Those photographers with 30+ years of experience all started out the same way you did, to some extent. They all were beginners. They all had to hustle. Just like you. And if you want to work 30+ years as a photographer, you can also. Have more faith in your work.

Real phonies bait and switch. They dont feel bad about what they're doing, which is scamming people. They dont care whether they're self taught or not because its irrelevant to them. And they dont care about their clients either. Does this sound like you?
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Old 04-14-2018, 03:35 PM   #4
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If your clients are happy with your work and happy to pay your price. Than you are not an imposter.
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Old 04-15-2018, 05:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Imposter Syndrome Effecting My Career

I can definitely relate to you, photo1la. I've had episodes of impostor syndrome when it comes to my profession and my art. It's definitely hard to shake.

There's always a spectrum, even when it comes to being a "professional". No one is ever truly the best or the worst. Artistic fields tend to obfuscate skill even more than technical fields, because at the end of the day, the greatness of one's work is subjective, even if that person spends years studying and harness the "right" way to do something.

You aren't scamming anyone. The people that pay you know exactly what they are paying. And while lots of experience, skill, and know-how may sometimes seem like these unattainable plateaus of excellence, they aren't, and regardless, they aren't everything. There are lots of variables that affect demand, which can make people's careers easier or tougher than they would have been otherwise.

That being said, you have the freedom to do what you want, and there's nothing wrong with wanting to do something else. Life isn't about grinding away at things just for the sake of doing so, but about finding something you love and doing it the way you want to do it.
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shazerac View Post
If your clients are happy with your work and happy to pay your price. Than you are not an imposter.
This is so true. If your clients are paying your rates and the market is bearing your price, and you are getting regular work and they are happy with you work, then you're not a phony. Formal education/training does not make one an expert.

Just keep growing and learning, and be grateful for your success!

Congrats on doing so well!

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Old 04-16-2018, 05:01 AM   #7
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I have discussed this issue with my T. You have to let your work and the evidence speak. Like what your clients say about your work.
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Old 04-18-2018, 01:26 AM   #8
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Well, you have the money to seek out the best therapist and executive coach. It would help you get over it.
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Old 04-18-2018, 02:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photo1la View Post
I'm struggling with imposter syndrome. It seems to come in waves. Lately it's been hard to work because of it and have had a lack of interest in pursuing my career.

I am a commercial photographer in LA and have shot for some well known companies, however, I honestly believe these gigs I landed were pure luck. I am self taught and have only been doing this specific type of photography for about 3 years now. So I am very new to the industry. The opportunities I have had do not equate with my experience level.

I'm constantly in fear that clients will "find me out" and realize I have no clue what I'm actually doing and be disappointed in my work. Also with the high rates I charge for my work I have to fake the confidence that my work is actually worth this much.

It's gotten to the point that I feel like I must be scamming people because there's no way I deserve to make six figures and only work 1 day week.

I continually compare my work to the top in the industry, people who have been doing photography for 30+ years and get frustrated that my work isn't as good. I'm a perfectionist so this also attributes to me constantly feeling like my work isn't good enough.

I'm not sure how to overcome this but wanted to see if anyone else has experienced this and what has helped them.

Thank you for taking the time to read.
It sounds to me that you’re very talented. You’re an artist!

I’ve not experienced what you’re feeling, but I understand what you’re saying.

I can tell you that businesses won’t pay if they want quality work and receive what they believe is subpar....and you have satisfied customers! You’re talented!
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:57 PM   #10
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Default Re: Imposter Syndrome Effecting My Career

Quote:
Originally Posted by photo1la View Post
I'm struggling with imposter syndrome. It seems to come in waves. Lately it's been hard to work because of it and have had a lack of interest in pursuing my career.
Yep – I can totally relate. This imposter syndrome is largely what derailed my career. Well, that and bipolar disorder.

My career is currently in the toilet. I’ve had 9 jobs over 18 years, with the most choppiness in the last 8. I also felt like a “scammer,” as I got into one of the world’s best business schools even though I felt much inferior to others. I landed several good jobs, but always blew them because of my drastic mood swings. When manic, I’d be on top of the world, brimming with energy, but also irritating the hell out of my co-workers and managers. When depressed, I couldn’t focus, and was constantly exhausted.

It sounds like you don’t have this problem – 1 day / week and a 6 figure job is pretty darn impressive.

What disorder do you have? I have Bipolar Type 1 with Depression. Which means I am totally oblivious to imposter syndrome when manic, and then crippled by it when depressed. Either I feel like my peers are way better than me, or I “punch above my weight” by taking on projects and having my “mouth write checks that my butt can’t cash.”

I still struggle with it. I am “stable,” but suffer from mild depression. Overcoming the feeling depends a lot on who you surround yourself with. I no longer speak to my parents: my mother is bipolar (undiagnosed), and my father is an enabler. For years, they exacerbated my imposter syndrome: after each failure (job loss, failed exam, poor performance review), they would magnify the self-doubt with comments such as “I knew you would fail,” or “this will teach you to be humble.”

Fortunately, I now have the support of my wife. She knows the roller coaster I’ve been through, as she and the kids were also impacted by it. Even though I’ve been out of a job for 6 months, she understands that recovery from an 18 month manic episode will take a long time. I owe my progress and current state (low, but far better than 18 months ago) to her.

Do you have a fairly supportive team that helps you with these feelings?

Hope that helps.
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