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Dear Introverted Photographer: Top Tips from Two Successful Introverts

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Can an introvert “make it” as a professional photographer? According to self-proclaimed introverts and successful shooters Manny Ortiz and Taylor Jackson, the answer is a resounding “yes,” and in this video they explain how they each overcame the challenges of being an introvert in a highly interactive industry.

Ortiz and Jackson both work in very social genres of photography: portraits and weddings. But while the prospect of posing subjects and interacting with clients might seem daunting to an aspiring photographer who is also an introvert by nature, Jackson and Ortiz share some of the tips and techniques that helped them find success and comfort running the show from behind the camera.

Throughout the video, the duo share some “top tips” based on their own experience facing (and overcoming) their anxiety when entering these social shooting situations. Here are all 5 tips in summary:

  1. Start in a genre that is less social or interactive, like concert photography.
  2. Don’t over-direct. Give the model or client general directions and let them take it from there.
  3. Shoot with a telephoto lens. This allows you to step back and maintain a more comfortable distance between yourself and your subject.
  4. Take a moment to mentally prepare before a shoot. Amp up the energy during the shoot and mix in small get-to-know-you questions to get them talking about themselves and build rapport.
  5. Pay attention to your couple and let them set the tone. Match their energy rather than assuming that everyone expects or wants their photographer to extroverted.

In conclusion, Ortiz reiterates something that’s true, if not entirely comforting in the moment: the more you move out of your comfort zone and put yourself in these shooting situations, the easier it will get.

Check out the full video up top to dive much deeper into each of the tips above, and hear more from both Ortiz and Jackson. Even if the tips don’t do anything for you personally, it’s comforting to know that two of the most recognizable names in photography—both of whom managed to turn photography into their full-time career in very interactive genres—faced the same struggles with social anxiety as the many of us.

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