I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to be honest with me. Have you ever been struck down by a case of the green-eyed monster? You spend too long looking at other people’s photos and feel like you’re not good enough. They use a better camera than you. They use better lenses. They have better lighting techniques. Their photos are composed better.
Whatever you’re telling yourself, STOP!
Comparing yourself to other photographers really does suck. In this blog I’m going to tell you why and share with you what you could be doing with your precious time instead.
In the beginning of your photography journey you’re in a place where you want to learn as quickly as possible and you want to take inspiration from lots of different people. Sometimes in doing that you could look at other people that are years ahead of you in their journey and you feel as though you’re just not good enough. That’s not a good place to be. I talked about this in a Facebook Live video and you can watch it here.
So how do you stop comparing yourself to other photographers? Watch this video or read on!
How to stop comparing yourself to other photographers
1. Find your own style
Your style could be in the way you compose your photographs. It could be in the way you edit your photos. You might not know what your style is yet but that’s ok. It can take months or even years to develop (pardon the pun). Your style may evolve over time and that’s completely ok too. The point is, it’s perfectly ok to take inspiration from other people but try to develop your own sense of style so that when someone looks at your photos they know it’s your work.
Personally I find my own style difficult to put into words. I’m all about the photography and less about the words. I have become quicker at blogging as time’s gone on though! When I take photos it’s more than just what I see. It’s what I feel. Whether it’s our beautiful Scottish landscapes or a Bride and Groom’s first look on their wedding day, I’m responding to and reacting to an emotion. I photograph what I see and feel. It’s all about the feels for me.
You might be a photographer that doesn’t work from your feelings, it might be that you capture what you see and have a different way or working. Or perhaps you like to get creative with your photographs. You have a very clear idea of what you want to create and you go out and create that. Whatever that amazing thing is that you love to do, once you’ve found it, that’s your thing. That’s your style. So do that and enjoy it!
2. Be inspired by other photographers
I’ve been an admirer of Colin Prior’s work for over 15 years. I’m in awe at his landscape photographs and he’s a huge inspiration to me but I’m not trying to be him. There, I’ve said it. I’m not trying to be the next Colin Prior. I have huge respect for the time and dedication that he puts into his work but I’m trying to be the best possible version of me. I’m on my own journey with my own experiences and if others can be inspired by my photographs then I’m extremely flattered.
If you have someone or a number of photographers that you can look up to and be inspired by them then you absolutely should. If you can look at their work and really feel something for it then that’s a fantastic place to be in. It shows that you have a passion for photography, that you have the hunger to keep improving your work.
Don’t just look to other photographers for inspiration, though. Start to really look at the world around you. Look at books, magazines, the internet, art galleries. Anywhere you see photographs or pictures, use these as sources of inspiration.
3. Compare yourself to one person only
If I could give you permission to compare yourself to one person. If I said to you right now that you’re allowed to compare yourself to one person, who do you think that would be?
The only photographer that you should be comparing yourself to is you. Compare yourself to the photographer that you used to be. At the start of my journey all I wanted to do was to learn to shoot on manual and to take a photo that I would be proud to hang on my wall. I didn’t know then that I’d go on to run my own business. I just wanted to be proud of one photo. Just one.
I have that photo hanging up in my living room and I admire it every day. It has a special place in my heart as it’s the very first photo I took that I was proud of. It really means something to me. Technically, if I was to take a similar photo now, I wouldn’t use an aperture of f/5.6 for this type of landscape photo and I wouldn’t shoot it handheld but it was all part of the learning curve.
So my advice to you is look back over your work. Whether it’s from 3 months ago, 6 months ago, a year ago or more. If you get into the habit of reviewing your work you will notice your work improve. You might even find yourself looking at some of your photos, work that you were once so so happy with, and with a fresh set of eyes you don’t like it. That’s not a bad thing. It means that you’re developing, you’re improving and you’re moving forward on your own journey. That should be celebrated!
If I can leave you with one last piece of advice, it’s that we’re all on our own journeys. You could be wasting your time comparing yourself to someone that is 5, 10 or even 50 years ahead of you in their own journey! Or instead how about you find inspiration in others but develop your own style and concentrate on getting better and better at your own thing?
Remember, no-one wants to become the next anybody. You want your own name in lights in your own right. You want to do the one thing that only you can do…. be the best possible version of you.
Over to you
If this blog has inspired you, I’d love to hear from you. Comment below and let me know what’s the one thing that you’re going to do now to become the best possible version of you.
If you live in Dundee or Angus and you’re ready to take your photography journey to the next level and really get the best out of your camera, then click here to find out more about my one-to-one photography tuition now!
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