Do You Suffer From Anxiety as a Photographer?

Creatives often suffer from some sort of anxiety, and it can be a serious impairment to our ability to get work done and to grow both our abilities and our careers. This important video details one photographer's struggles with anxiety.

Coming to you from Manny Ortiz, this great video follows him as he discusses his personal struggles with anxiety and how it has affected his photography career. I've personally had issues with anxiety my entire life, and what can make it all the more difficult is how isolating those struggles can be, as you can feel like you're all alone in attempting to get just the most basic tasks done, while the rest of the world is effortlessly breezing through life without a care. Seeing a successful photographer and prominent YouTube personality be open about his own struggles behind the scenes goes a long way simply because knowing I'm not the only one out there with these issues and knowing that even the most successful among us experience it makes me feel less alone. If you have ever experienced anxiety regarding your career, shoots, or anything at all, I hope it can do the same for you too.

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9 Comments

Robert Nurse's picture

It helps to know that it’s not just me! The first few minutes of shoots are tough: sweaty back, dry mouth. It’s awful! But, usually, shoots warm up in 30 minutes or so. Then, time flies and everyone’s having a good time.

Ngaere Woodford's picture

The anxiety can be crippling especially with weddings. Once I got going I was fine, but arriving to start is hell. I actually dont shoot weddings anymore due to a bad experience with a bride not happy with me on the day, the shots are all going to be to bright she was saying. She also choose a midday service on 40 degree Celsius day.....Ive been unable to return to any form of commercial shooting. I only shoot for myself now.

David Apeji's picture

One thing that helps is to remember that often the person in front of the camera is way more anxious than you. So the process of giving them assurance and getting them to relax is cathartic for you. It's like a lot of situations in life when you have problems but concentrate on helping others, the process tends to diminish your own problems.

Dylan Bishop's picture

Great topic. I’ve had anxiety so bad that I swore it affected my camera. Like my cameras were feeding off my nervous energy. My camera just wouldn’t shoot for one of my photo shoots. The camera just did nothing when I pressed the shutter. For one wedding the camera wouldn’t even turn on. Fortunately since then I’ve kept my anxiety at bay with the use of CBD, it’s been a life changer.

Jordan McChesney's picture

Living as a foreigner in Tokyo, I’m always super anxious about “getting in the way”. I’ve missed a lot of shots because I didn’t want to risk getting in someone’s way, even if I clearly had enough space. That being said, I also get anxious about walking into a hair salon or a new restaurant...

Yup. I hate to admit it but I've cancelled a shoot due to overwhelming anxiety as well. I've slowly started to work through it and have accepted the fact that anxiety is going to be there no matter what. Once the shoot gets going it always disappears. Accept it, breathe, and you'll come out on the other side knowing you can work through it.

David Moore's picture

Finding people to shoot with gives me anxiety, like, I don't reach out to anyone ever to shoot because I don't wanna seem weird. Once I have someone that wants to shoot, I'm good. lol

Stefan Thomas's picture

I can fully relate to that. I just seems so weird to me. And then when someone finally comes to me for a shoot I'm always anxious that I can't deliver what her or she is asking for. But as others have said - the moment the photshoot starts it gets better and better. And once you're in the flow everything's fine.

David Wilder's picture

He took the words right out of my mouth. Haha. My nerves go through the roof every time I meet someone new. Regardless if it’s a client, model, new photographer or new friend.

I’ve canceled shoots before as well, I work from a home studio and my anxiety goes crazy every time I bring a new model or client over.

I am 1000% an introvert and would rather be in the mountains solo than do a shoot with others.