There’s one essential item that every photographer needs in their kit.

Above: Image, Gina Milicia, Kochi, India  

There’s one essential item that every photographer needs in their kit. It’s difficult to find and can easily be lost so it’s worth taking special care to protect it.

The first time I discovered I had this essential item I had been shooting for about six months.

Having this essential item was a game changer. It was my secret weapon, I felt like I could do anything.

Over the years I’ve realised that there are a number of factors that influence my ability to keep this essential item accessible. The more experienced I become the easier it has become not to misplace this essential item. I’ve also discovered that it’s important that the dose is correct. If I use too much of this item my images are a complete disaster.

This miracle item I speak of is not available on Amazon, you don’t need to be a member of a club to get your hands on one, and the best news is it’s free.

The one thing every photographer needs in their kit is confidence. Yep, that’s right, it’s not really a tangible thing. You can’t hold confidence in your hands or keep it on your shelf. It’s a feeling or belief. It’s a “knowing” that everything will be alright.

Confidence comes through repetition and preparation.

At first learning a new task is difficult but with repetition it soon becomes second nature, like driving a car.

Being prepared for a new task increases confidence because preparation eliminates self doubt.

Fear or self doubt has ruined more photo shoots than lack of skill.

How many times have you talked yourself out of doing something because you lacked the confidence to begin?

How many times have you second guessed yourself because you lacked the confidence to trust your gut instinct?

My favourite quote on this subject is:

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” Henry Ford

When you approach a shoot with confidence it affects the way you walk, the way you talk and the way other people react to you.

If you spend the entire shoot thinking “I can’t do this” or “I’m out of my league here” then chances are those thoughts will be reflected in your body language and even if you don’t utter a word your model will pick up on this vibe.

So the next time you feel the urge to think yourself into a state of fear or doubt, try these simple hacks:

  1. Notice your inner monologue. Instead of focussing on all the things you can’t do and all the reasons you should not be doing the thing you are afraid of, why not focus on what you can do and how amazing you will feel when you nail this shot. 
  2. Change your body language. Have you ever noticed how someone who is afraid or depressed caries themselves? The shoulders slump forward, eyes are cold and they physically make themselves smaller in an attempt to protect themselves or take up less space.
    The simple act of bringing your shoulders back, walking tall and smiling  can make you feel and look more confident.
  3. Be prepared. Make a detailed list of all the things you need to do to achieve the shot. The more you prepare, the more confident you will become.

Confidence is a powerful accessory. Splash a little on next time you head out on a shoot and watch what happens.

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Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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