ERIC KIM x HENRI NECK STRAP // Photo by Benjamin Thompson

How to Become a Self-Confident Photographer


I’m the most self-centered, vain, egotistical, and confident photographer I know— how, and why?

1. How I built up my self-confidence

Kyoto Eric Kim Selfie, 2017
Kyoto Eric Kim Selfie, 2017

My life story:

I had a good mother. I grew up bullied, and punked by my peers. I was fat. I was called “gay” and “faggot” on a daily basis. It was essentially my classmates who wanted to feel superior by putting others down.

For a long time, I took it. I was meek, weak, and insecure.

But one day I was like,

“Fuck this. I’m taking control of my life. No more excuses.”

I started to work out. I did pushups, crunches at home. I ran for miles with rocks in my backpack (I was age 12). I asked my mom to buy me dumbbells, and I started to lift weight.

I felt liberated… I realized,

I am the master of my destiny.

2. What tries to kill you motivates you to become stronger, and therefore not die, and therefore to become stronger

Now that I think about it, I’m grateful for being punked and bullied as a child. Why? It encouraged me, or gave me the opportunity to become stronger. I needed a challenge, a barrier, or some sort of struggle to overcome.

So friend, whatever your life story… know that you have THE POWER TO OVERCOME!

3. Do you like your own pictures?

When it comes to photography and art, life is short. Why care what others think of you? Do you like your own pictures and photos… isn’t that enough?

The greatness of your picture doesn’t depend on whether others praise it or not. If your picture is a beautiful green emerald, you don’t need people to “like” it to affirm its worth. No. It is still beautiful, regardless whether people praise it or not.


So let’s say you have a picture that you don’t upload or share. It can still be a great picture, regardless of what the rest of the world says.

4. How to be more self-confident in your photography and art

Walking woman. Kyoto street photograph, 2017
Walking woman. Kyoto street photograph, 2017

To become a more self-confident photographer, some ideas:

  1. Don’t take it too seriously. Treat your photography like play. Have fun. The more fun you have, the less pressure you will have on yourself, the more prolific you will become, and the more you will hustle, make even more beautiful pictures, and the more you will continue to creatively thrive.
  2. Physical fitness: The more physically strong and muscular your body, the more confident you will be as an artist. My ideal photographer is one who is both strong in spirit, and physically. Lose body fat, and put on muscle. Do squats and deadlifts at the gym. Do chin-ups at the playground. Do push-ups or yoga at home. Abstain from sugar, and eat more meat, protein, eggs, veggies, or any other food that gives you power and nutrition.
  3. Empowering music: Does the music you listen to empower or disempower you? Curate your playlist to excite your muscles, stimulate you to move, and to get to a new creative level.
  4. Make more art: Andy Warhol has a good quote that says something like, “Don’t worry whether your artwork is good or not. While others are judging whether it is good or not, just make more art”.
  5. Share more: Share your pictures and artwork, and then move “onto the next one.” Don’t get stuck in your past work, you’re always changing and evolving.
  6. Ask yourself, “Do I like my own pictures?” Don’t let anyone superimpose their beliefs, or their opinion on your artwork. If you like your own pictures, you’re on the right path as a visual artist.


CREATIVE EVERY DAY: Your New Creative Stimulus >


Seoul, 2009

Dear friend,

If you’re new to photography, start here:

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Motivation »

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How to Create a Body of Work

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Technical Photography Settings

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Learn From the Masters of Photography


“He without a past has no future.”

Start here:

  1. Why Study the Masters of Photography?
  2. Great Female Master Photographers
  3. Cheat Sheet of the Masters of Photography
  4. 100 Lessons From the Masters of Street Photography
  5. Beginner’s Guide to the Masters of Street Photography
  6. Download All Articles >

The Masters of Photography

Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos
Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

Classics never die:

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