I am an introvert myself and identify with the INFP-T personality type in the Myers-Briggs system. For a long time I assumed that you had to be super extroverted and loud and quirky to gain serious recognition as a photographer, to attract clients, and to perform a good job. This belief is still widespread, but in my opinion it is just not true. Some things are more challenging for us introverted photographers such as being around large groups or speaking in public but I try to look at being an introvert as a secret superpower. Here’s why:
Introverts are really good listeners.
The “quiet ones,” like me, tend to really listen and consider the ideas and feelings of others. We pay attention to details, like to take mental notes, and focus on what other people are trying to express. Introverts prefer to see behind facades, so they often ask more specific questions. Usually they seek to find a deeper meaning in subjects and like to learn more about other people’s personalities.
Introverts have creative, original minds.
Many introverts are highly creative. Many are drawn to writing, art, photography, music – in fact, anything that lets them express their imaginative side. They often use their abstract thinking and unique perspectives, and because of their thoughtful and curious minds, they are constantly looking for solutions to creative problems. Their art is their purest, most authentic way of expressing themselves and their ideas about the world. Without this kind of creative outlet, many introverts would feel unhappy and unfulfilled. As a result, a lot of heart and passion goes into the creative work of introvert photographers.
Introverts also tend to have their own preferences that are less influenced by what’s hot on social media. Their tendency towards individualism often prevents them from following the mainstream, which often makes their work seem rather unique or unseen. It’s not uncommon for them to even gravitate toward stuff that’s more individual, a little weirder, or quite niche.
Introverts are quiet.
And I don’t think that’s a bad quality at all when it comes to capturing moments. Because introverts are often more sensitive to outside influences in everyday life, many of them have a gift to block out all the noise, hustle and bustle, and focus on what’s important in the moment.
We introverts are also perfect at blending in, allowing us to photograph very discreetly and without drawing attention to ourselves. These quiet moments are my personal favorites because they are completely authentic and real.
Introverts are really good observers.
Introverts have excellent observational skills, and that’s something that comes in handy for me as a documentary photographer. Keen observation helps me recognize the subtle moments and details and incorporate them into my images. I’m always more drawn to the quiet moments than the loud ones and want to document everything. In particular, all the things that are usually hidden from many. Be it incidents at weddings that go unnoticed, small gestures of affection, body language – introverts pay close attention to non-verbal signals that may reveal deeper meanings. For me, this skill is essential to tell a story in a meaningful and emotional way.
Introverts prefer quality over quantity.
Introverts choose wisely. This applies to choosing friends, but also potential clients. Introverts can literally feel their energy being consumed by the presence of strangers or large groups. For this reason, I also choose my clients wisely. I prefer to accompany a handful of clients I feel quite comfortable with, in whom I can fully invest my time and energy, rather than a large number of clients. As a result, I also take on only a small number of shoots or weddings per year and can focus much better on the few that I have. This is the only way I can provide the best possible work for each client.
Introverts have a calming effect on others.
Yes, we often prefer silence and hate small talk, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like people or that we can’t engage in deep discussion. Introverts are often accused of being “too private” or “antisocial”. But for many of us, that’s far from reality. Just like extroverts, introverts need social interactions and actually like meeting new people. We just handle social situations differently. We have a strong aversion to conflict and would love for everyone to just be nice and get along. This means introverts are usually very easygoing, friendly people who will do whatever it takes to keep everyone happy.
Introverted photographers might struggle in certain situations, but benefit immensely from their soft-spoken qualities. This is something the industry rarely talks about and many introverted photographers try to fit in, pretending to be extroverts and play something they really aren’t. Personally, I think being an introverted photographer is a strength and one that should be embraced rather than hidden behind a loud and quirky facade.