the other side of camera shy

Jan 13, 2014

I love taking pictures. 

I love getting just the right light at just the right angle and feeling proud that the shot turned out just how I had hoped it would. I have some dreams about where this passion could go. They're small, beginning dreams, but they excite me and leave my mind reeling with all of the possibilities that being behind the camera could hold.

I've never really been camera shy. I've had no problem getting up in front of the camera or having my picture taken. I don't get annoyed by it and actually enjoy the process. 

But you know part of what's holding me back a little from letting myself dream bigger?

 Being behind-the-camera shy.

I don't mean when I'm at home taking pictures of Noah, or even when I'm with close family and friends trying to capture fun moments. I'm talking about when I'm at an extended family gathering. When I'm in an amazing coffee shop where the lighting is perfect and the decorations are to die for. When I'm in the new casual restaurant in Nashville we're trying that I'd love to review. When we're out in public and I see a prime opportunity for that one amazing shot.

That behind-the-camera shy stops me in my tracks every time and makes me think insecure thoughts like... 

"People are going to wonder why the heck I've got my camera

or "They're probably thinking I'm taking this too seriously..."  

or "Those people at that table are going to think I'm taking a picture of them

or "People are just going to get annoyed that I'm getting my camera out"  

or "I'm going to feel in the way right here and stand out too much"  

or "She's probably a tourist".

It's ridiculous. Mostly because I get that most people probably don't even notice that I'm in the room, much less with a camera. And secondly, because I really shouldn't let any of those fears and insecurities stop me from being creative and inspired when and where it happens. 

I think because my camera is a bigger DSLR, I feel like it stands out more than a point-and-click would. I'm also an introvert and the thought of being in negative spotlight is enough to make me stay in the corner. There have been so many situations where I've walked away disappointed, mostly in myself, because I didn't have the courage to just take the picture anyways.

So here's my resolution to change- to get my camera out more, to do what I need to do to get that inspired shot, and to not care what anyone else probably isn't thinking. I'll never grow my skill by leaving my camera in my bag, so here's to stepping out of my comfort zone in the name of creativity and dreaming! 

What about you? Do you ever experience "behind-the-camera" shy?

22 comments:

  1. I hear ya! I do the exact same thing! I went to a coffee shop the other day just to take pictures. I even got it approved from the owners and I totally got shy. There were people reading and studying and I felt like I was annoying them =) I took a few but not as many as I wanted. I think it is like with any new thing in life it takes practice and then after a while it feels more natural.

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  2. I totally understand. I think I've gotten more shy as the years go by too! I used to be into taking pictures everywhere. But then I started to get annoyed at all the non-photographers trying to be professional photographers (as in starting a business when they have no training or eye for it...) and I worried that people would view me as that kind of person! That every time I pulled out my SLR, people would think that I was just another person trying to show off photography skills...I haven't wanted the label. But I want the picture. So it's a difficult thing to get over!

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    1. That's part of how I feel, too, Jenni! There are so many people who think just because they have a fancy camera that they're a pro, and I haven't wanted that label, either!

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  3. I love everything about this post! First off I myself am in front of and behind the camera shy. I hate being in photos, every photo that has me in it I can't stand! I don't know why but I am always this way. I can even pick out the shot and pose etc and have my husband press the button and bam I instantly dislike it!
    I also get nervous taking photos in person, I feel like people think I am rude or crazy for snapping like a hundred photos of my food in a restaurant. I also am not too confident of my photography skills so sometimes it takes me two or three shots to be happy with a photo and if I am just standing in the dead center of a restaurant snapping photos it can get really uncomfortable. I think for me it all boils down to my confidence in my skills. If I were more confident that I took good photos I would be less nervous to do so in public!

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  4. This makes so much sense. You're so talented, friend. And you'll be so happy to always have this memories captured! Take the shot!

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  5. I have felt that so many times, Kelsea! I'm really tryign to get out from under my fear. You truly do have a gift for photography! Never be afraid to use it. :-)

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  6. I struggle with this a lot. I just started to get into photography in August and I feel like such an ameatur than even when I see a perfect scene I struggle to get out my camera. You would think it would be easier for me bc my dslr is a compact one (Sony nex-6) but nope. It's not about being an introvert because this extrovert struggles! Thanks for putting it out there I hope you find ways to take those shots and I know I need to work at it more!

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  7. That's an awesome challenge! I've had many of those fears before and your are totally right, no one probably even notices. Great thoughts on getting out there. :)

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  8. I am with you! I never really thought of it that way. I guess that's why I haven't really been able to use my new camera since I'm too shy about caring it around but you're right. We need to not think about it so much. :)

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  9. I think the trick is to just whip your camera out and do it. I have a larger camera too and I get looks from people every now and again but I am always happy that I ended up taking the picture. I just got to a point where I realized that it was really important to me that I capture all types of moments and I couldn't let my surroundings impact that. I totally know how you're feeling but I think it's worth it in the end :)

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  10. I suffer from this too sometimes! (First time I've seen someone write a post about it!) I've gotten better, but as some point or another all those questions have run through my mind. Thanks for posting this!

    http://www.melindadiorio.com

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  11. YESS!! I'm an introvert too and hold myself back because I overanalyze and have all these thoughts about what people are thinking! One of my goals is to start shooting more this year and take a photography class (gotta get off that auto setting!).

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  12. I am totally behind the camera shy. I think it's even worse because I don't have a fancy camera, so it's like "how good could you realllly be with that little thing?" (not good, is the answer, but even if I DID have one, I would feel judging eyes)

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  13. I could have written this post. It is probably a big reason why I haven't gotten very far in my professional photography career. I also get nervous that other people won't like what I choose to shoot. You are so right though that we should just get out of our comfort zone!

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  14. Oh my gosh I'm so glad I'm not alone! I actually had one of my husband's uncles tell me to "put that camera down!" at a holiday gathering. It only made my behind the camera shy worse.

    I'm hoping to release my "fear" as well! Here's to getting outside our comfort zones to do what we love!

    -Katelyn

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  15. YES! I feel it at family gatherings with my husband's family, like they think it's self important to ask someone to take a picture of our little family of three together at a party. Sometimes my husband asks me to put the camera down or stop taking pictures because he says I'm not as engaged when I'm snapping pictures during out outings, which I guess he is a little correct about. I feel okay taking pictures of Owen wherever we are, and I think people understand that, but I never feel comfortable about pulling my camera out at a restaurant. I wish I did! I see other bloggers do it and I always wonder how they managed it!

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  16. I totally understand this and I'm so glad I'm not the only person who experiences this. It started for me back when I got my "big girl camera." I didn't take it out of the box for six months! I was terrified of it! I was afraid people would would think I was trying to be this big time photographer and I was afraid my pictures would look awful. Even now, years later, I get afraid to take my camera out and use it. What's with all this fear?! It takes the fun out of taking pictures, and that's why I got my camera in the first place!

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  17. I used to feel this way all the time. Eventually I bit the bullet and started believing in myself.....after a good amount of pushing from friends and family around me. Without encouragement and positive criticism I don't think I would have ever opened my photography business. It's now been 7 years. I think you have a wonderful eye for photography....just believe in yourself and trust that the Creator has given you a healthy dose of creativity to do your best.

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  18. I hear ya! I was a photographer for 3 years for my school's yearbook so there for a long time I wasn't shy at all - I would just snap, snap, snap but now it's been so long that I went back into my little cocoon of shyness, it's so bad, I start sweating and everything haha

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  19. Oh my goodness, this rings so true! There are so many times when I don't get my camera out and wish I had done afterwards - all the scenarios you mentioned are exactly what I'm thinking of. I even did a couple of gigs for a student tour group last year to try and get a bit more experience and build my confidence but felt completely out of my depth even though I've been taking photos for years - it was so hard to feel comfortable taking photos of people I didn't know.

    Have you set any tasks to achieve your resolution? I'm thinking I might try and tackle a different scenario each month - taking photos in restaurants I want to review one month, taking photos at social gatherings another, etc. It makes it seem less scary overall I think :)

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  20. Oh my gosh do I hear you! I am SO camera shy. It doesn't help that Jordan is UBER camera shy, so he makes me feel 100x more awkward than I already feel. It's a problem. Good to know I'm not the only one!

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  21. Oh I totally hear you! I am exactly the same way. I could take photos of my animals and home all day long, but put me in a social situation and I get self conscious and nervous about taking photos. I have a Nikon D3100 (looks similar to yours in this photo!) so it does feel a bit strange having a big camera out. I feel like people are staring at me and it just makes me nervous! I'll try to get over that as well this year :)

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