It’s hard not to compare our work with everyone else’s. We see it every day on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. We can’t seem to ignore it or look away. The thing is, it’s not really helping you or moving you forward.
I’m not good enough
Comparing ourselves and our work to others only contributes to our own insecurities, you know we all have them. We start questioning everything and making excuses for ourselves and our work. We don’t live in an amazing place with epic landscapes, we can’t travel to all the good locations, we don’t have the right gear or equipment. We haven’t learned how to create luminosity masks, we don’t have the right software and so on.
Same old, same old
Why do you want to create art that is already out there? There are billions of images of famous locations, sunrises and sunsets, at what point do they become boring? All the same? What makes them different? What makes them original or unique? In this day and age, it has become difficult to create unique images. So what do you have to do in order to do that? Be you.
Learn from, don’t compare
There are some good things that can come from looking at other’s work, but you have to be deliberate about who you follow and what you want to get from that person’s work. We can learn how to do something new, we can get ideas for our own work, we can learn of locations that maybe we can travel to someday. If we can’t travel we can be inspired by those who do instead of being jealous and telling ourselves we’ll never be able to do that so we’ll never get the epic images. We can even be inspired to find the beauty in our own backyards.
Create your work, your way. Create images that tell the story of what you saw, how you felt and what moved you to create that particular image. Sure, it’s a pretty scene but what about that scene compelled you to click the shutter, compose it a certain way, post-process it the way you did? Start asking yourself these questions when you’re out with your camera. Why am I taking this image? What is it doing for me? What is it that I’m seeing that is speaking to me? How can I make it mine and different than the other images I’ve seen of the same area?
Take a step back for a few days, a week, a month. Reflect on why you are a photographer. Are you creating images strictly for enjoyment? Is it therapy for you. Sometimes it’s just the getting out and doing, not the final images that are our reason for picking up the camera. Are you creating a business, trying to sell artwork or teach and mentor others? All of these reasons go into the images you are creating. These are all part of your why — your story and what makes the photos uniquely yours.
Be careful when comparing yourself, I’d say don’t do it at all but it’s human nature. So just be aware of it when you are doing it. Go easy on yourself, we are all individuals and what works for some doesn’t work for all. Go out, create your art for you, by you, of you. Do your best to put yourself into your work.