Recording: Silencing your inner critic

My first photo tour almost never happened.

Four years ago, I was enjoying my role as a Meetup organizer. Shutterbug Excursions was growing at a rapid pace. We were going out and photographing great locations. I was making new friends who shared my passion for photography. This is what I had envisioned when I started the group.

Then I noticed that I found myself in the role of teacher more and more. Members started bringing me their photo and camera questions, and I was really enjoying answering them.

"What if I made that role more formal?" I wondered.

And with that whim and the back-of-a-napkin planning, PhotoTour DC was born. And then almost died:

  • "What are you thinking?"
  • "What makes you think anyone would want to listen to you?"
  • "So many other people are already teaching photography? Why you?

The voices are persistent. And I know them all too well. 

Many of you hear similar voices -- your inner critic.s

In our February 2014 webinar, we confronted the inner critic that seeks to steal our dreams and limit our impact.

Are you ready to silence your inner critic? Click to tweet below:

Tweet: I learned how to silence my inner critic at this #FreePhotoWebinar. Listen to the recording #inspiration

Our Q&A

Wendy: never thought I was good enough.

Lyn: Wendy, many of us go through that. I find we are our worst critics. I’m sure there are many great qualities in your photographs. Keep working at it daily, and you will see the improvements you really want.

Kirsten: I'm definitely a cynic... I can't see myself as good enough to show my work.

Lyn: I know what you mean. Try keeping a brag book. Collect or record every compliment or positive statement someone offers you. When you’re feeling down, read it for an ego boost.

Sandra: Just want to say - what a fantastic talk. Thanks Lynford for being candid about things that we may never voice ourselves.

Lyn: Thanks, Sandra. This is a very personal message for me. I was hoping it resonated with everyone else as well.

Rob: So is there roughly a line of qualification to become professional?

Lyn: A professional should be able to produce quality photos predictably and consistently. Assume a client will rarely give you a good light situation and will never give you enough time. You should still be able to come away with something your client loves every time. You can’t ever leave a professional shoot without a usable photo. If you do, it will always be your fault.

Oral: Lynford, I have to agree with you that we gain from the efforts we put forward.

Lyn: As with anything in life. :-)

Rhonda: I have a tough time setting fees. I always think "Aww it's just a picture of mine, not like it's a professional!"

Lyn: The key here is to calculate what the value will be to your client. It’s not about you. A photo that is used for a million dollar ad campaign has the same value to the client whether you shoot it or your favorite pro creates it. You should be prepared to ask for market value based on the photo’s use.

Wendy: now printing at Corcoran I started out intimidated by the others and am constantly surprised by the great comments about my work.

Lyn: Take the good feedback as a sign, Wendy. :-)

Carolyn: I particularly like "ask better questions". My question is always, am I good enough? I will ask better questions. Thanks a bunch!

Lyn: Glad to hear it! Start with this one: what's great about my work?

Steve: What are the top 3 attributes you've seen in those photographers who you deem successful?

Lyn: 1)They are good with light. 2) They see the details most people miss. 3) They are creative storytellers. Thanks for asking. I think I’ll write a blog post on this one, too. 

Carol: I believe in my work but I have a challenge with the marketing such as setting prices, creating contracts, etc.

Lyn: You can help that by doing more thorough market research. Get to know your customer better, what problem you will solve, and what the value will be for them. Just that process, if done rigorously, can help you feel better about what you are worth and asking for it.

Theodora: How can I learn more about my camera / get to know it better?

Lyn: Self serving answer: Take one of my photo tours. I’ll teach you everything you need to know to learn your camera and shoot with confidence. Start with this one (offered in the winter). In the spring through fall, you can take it here.

Carol: Do you ever do workshops on marketing?

Lyn: I absolutely do. My professional background is actually in marketing, having worked as a communicator for 20 years. I taught a marketing workshop last year that I will reprise this spring. Please add your name here, so I can let you know when it is announced.


This presentation was influenced by the following posts and points of view:

Shut up, I'm Writing! by Josh Irby

3 People You Need to Ignore Online by Jon Acuff

3 Paralyzing Statements That Keep You from Your Best Work by Emily P. Freeman

Use the Power of Questions to Change Your Life by Tony Robbins

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners by Ira Glass

The Work of Byron Katie

The inner critic was wrong

I ignored my inner critic. And by the end of my first photo tour, I knew my decision was the right one. I'd made new friends, and we'd made progress with our photography.

This was a way I could truly help other photographers and make a difference.

My inner critic was wrong.

Your inner critic is likely wrong, too.