You can be a Successful Introverted Photographer

By Scott Wyden Kivowitz

Last updated on 04/07/2024

For as long as I can remember, I have been an ambivert. If you are unaware of what that means, it is when someone has traits of both an extrovert and an introvert.

Introversion is commonly defined as a preference for solitary over social activities. Introverts are often considered shy and may avoid social situations due to anxiety or discomfort. However, introverts can also be outgoing and sociable in certain settings and with certain people. The key difference between introverts and extroverts is that introverts generally prefer quieter, low-key environments, while extroverts thrive in more stimulating, high-energy situations.

I love photography, and I love the impact of what beautiful photos can do for people like the families who I have photographed.

As someone with deeply introverted traits, I find it hard to put myself out there in many situations.

I find it hard to do things like make phone calls, attend some networking events, and, the hardest of them all, photograph large events like weddings or religious ceremonies like a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

But when it comes to certain photography, I can put my introverted tendencies aside and be the extrovert that I need to be to get the best photos possible.

As I alluded to before, I love being able to capture people’s emotions and expressions in photos, and I love how happy my clients are when they see the final result.

Overcoming the Challenges as an Introverted Photographer

To be a successful introverted photographer, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. First and foremost, you should ensure you are comfortable with yourself and your abilities. Know yourself, your limitations, your skills, and where you shine. Once you have done this, you can begin thinking about ways to work through your challenges.

A lot of what goes on in my head is imposter syndrome, likely partially driven by introversion. I have to constantly tell myself I am good enough, and it’s true. I am good enough!

It is also important to remember that you do not need to be the life of the party to be a successful photographer. You can find ways to work through the challenges and adjust how you handle situations that normally introduce immediate doubt and fear.

scott wyden kivowitz successful introverted photographer
This is me photographing photos for a book on Martial Arts.

Tips for Success as an Introverted Photographer

Historically I have photographed families, headshots, cake smash sessions, and more recently focused on proposal photography. However, as someone who has worked as an educator to photographers for over a decade, I have learned to put myself in situations that might generally be uncomfortable. Over the years, I have become more comfortable speaking in front of hundreds of people. Especially about topics I am passionate about and things I love.

Also, as an educator, I have tried to photograph at least one wedding a year to keep my skills sharp across multiple genres of photography. When I do photograph a wedding, it is typically something special to me or unique. For example, the private wedding of a Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter and a destination wedding for a photographer I once mentored. Doing these helped my introversion as I was invested in a very emotional way above and beyond the business part of the job.

At the same time, I treat events as I do street photography in a very similar way that Kevin Mullins does. I use 35mm, and 85mm lenses and keep a distance from people, so I am more discreet, out of the way, and simply documenting the beautiful moments.

This has worked well for me, to the point where I consider myself successful. I don’t look at success as being a millionaire. But rather comfortable. I continue to get leads and do work for clients. I also continue to take on at least one wedding a year.

As someone who is an ambivert and a primary part of my job is to manage the Imagen Community and interact in daily conversations, I definitely find that working virtually has been helpful for the introverted side of my brain.  However, the weekly live streaming with virtual face-to-face time with others has brought out the extroverted part of my brain. If you see me at a trade show, like ImagingUSA, Way Up North, WPPI, NineDots, or others, you will most likely see my ambiversion come through.

So what is the takeaway from me sharing that with you? Don’t think that you have to do in-person sales calls literally in-person. You can use Zoom, Google Meet, Facetime or WhatsApp or whatever platform you prefer. Do what is comfortable for you because you will shine best when you’re in your comfort zone.

It’s OKAY to be an Introverted Photographer

In a world that is increasingly driven by social media and extroverted personalities, it can be easy to feel like you need to be outgoing to be successful. However, this is simply not the case. There are plenty of successful introverts, including in the field of photography. Many of the most successful and famous business leaders happen to be introverts. They work on themselves to the point where they can portray extroversion when needed.

If you’re an introverted photographer, or an introverted person in general, don’t despair – you can still have a successful career.

Dig deep inside and learn about yourself to find what you can do or change and also to portray extroversion. Or simply to make yourself more comfortable in situations you are otherwise very uncomfortable. It is possible to do, I promise you.

If you would like to learn more about introversion and extroversion and how it can impact your life, I recommend reading the book Quiet by Susan Cain.

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