5 minutes with — Emelie Ohlsson

Emelie Ohlsson is a wedding photographer based in Stockholm, Sweden. We had her attention for a few minutes to share a bit more about herself and what she does.

WUN: So for those who don’t know who you are, who is Emelie Ohlsson?

Emelie: I’m Emelie Ohlsson. I am 30 years old from Skåne, in the south of Sweden, and I work as a maternity and wedding photographer. I have a lot of energy and like to do lots of things at the same time. I also work with education and marketing to other companies.

WUN: When you mention education, is it photography classes or other things too? Emelie: It’s about business and marketing and how you reach out to the right customers and get the right ones to book you and how to make money. But all related to photography.

WUN: So you mentioned earlier when we talked, about confidence, and how that relates to business and photography.

Emelie: Yes. When I started in photography, I were like many others, very insecure and I often cried because I thought I was so bad and I couldn’t produce the same kind of images as other photographers could. And I had problems with that. So for many years, I was insecure and I couldn’t sell myself to my clients, this also meant I had very low prices and problems believing in my photography. All this because of low self-esteem.

A couple of years ago, I decided to start to change this. So instead of thinking bad things about myself, I started to fake it, telling myself that I was confident and I had no problems with new situations that I normally would be very uncomfortable in. Things like talking to people at Fotomässan, the large photo fair in Stockholm each year. I talked to a lot of people there, something I normally would never do. But it was like I tricked my brain to do things and slowly I started to believe in the lies.

WUN: So it worked?

Emelie: Yeah, so eventually I changed my low self-esteem to believe in myself and I no longer have problems with being insecure and that’s one of the things I really want to focus on and educate other photographers about, that you need to believe in yourself. Because when you do, you can reach out to your clients and sell yourself and make them believe that you are a good photographer and not the one that you believe that you are.

And it is not that I go around believing that I know everything or have nothing new to learn, I constantly try to improve and learn from my experiences. It is about the mindset that you believe in yourself.

I believe many photographers don’t realize that being a photographer and an entrepreneur or to have your own company – the most important thing is to be confident in yourself, in who you are as a person first. So you need to build that up first, and then you can build the company.

WUN: So do you have any tools or strategies to achieve that?

Emelie: I do. A couple of years ago when I had these problems, I started to pinch my arm everytime I had those thoughts about myself. So if was thinking, “Oh, this picture sucks,” or “This shoot was terrible,” I just pinched my arm really hard so it hurts because it would send these thoughts away. Instead I focused on what was good, to be kind to myself, like this picture was good or one good thing about this shoot was that I learned how to handle this kind of light or how to handle this kind of customers.

So I always try to look on the bright side of each shoot instead of thinking that I was bad. So I started to train myself to change the way I think about myself and my pictures.

WUN: So focusing on the good things and improving that instead of focusing on the bad things.

Emelie: Yeah, it takes a long time. So it’s nothing you can do for one week. You need to do it for several months before you see any results.

WUN: I’ve actually read psychological research about focusing on the good things and improving that instead of focusing on the bad things and improving those are actually in the long term better. So I think that’s a great idea.

Emelie: Yes. It’s very important. When you start to believe in yourself, you don’t have these walls or obstacles that will stop you to achieve what you want in life. It becomes easier to think outside the box and to do things that other people are too insecure to do. I try to see beyond what we have around us, to look outside of Sweden and I dream big. Much bigger than anyone else does, because I believe that I can do everything and I think that’s important to have as a base when you grow and expand your business.

You can find more of Emelie Ohlsson online here: Website | Instagram

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