“Comparison is the theif of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt. If that isn’t the most accurate statement, I don’t know what is. Too many times, I hear of photographers who fall into a creative funk because they get caught up in comparing themselves to other photographers in the industry. “How does she have so many clients? Her work isn’t even that great.” “I will never be as good as [Name]… I should just give up now.” It’s damaging to your business and your creative spirit and can turn you into a bitter photographer. So how to we pull ourselves out of it? Here are a few tips that helped me when I was in a negative place.
- Purge Facebook, instagram, blog, etc – While it’s great to look to other ohtotographers for inspiration, having TOO many photographers in your feed can bring on feelings of doubt and jealousy. Especially if you follow a lot of local photographers. Go through and clean up your list. If you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings on Facebook, simply choose to keep their posts out of your feeds. Leave only those few who are truly inspirational to you and will help you to push your boundaries.
- Focus on you – Get your camera out and learn something. Set up a shoot just for fun, and push yourself to try something new. Anytime thoughts like “I’m not good enough” start to pop up, find a way to improve and perfect your craft so that you’re better than you were the day before. Read a business book, or take a class. Shift your focus inwards so you aren’t focused on those around you.
- Find your tribe – There are so many great groups popping up out there now that you can get plugged in to (like The Rising Tide Society), that strive for community over competition. Find that local group to become a part of and get that support. Don’t have a local group? start your own or even find a group of non-photography business owners that you can set up a monthly meet up with to check in, get advice, bounce ideas, and continue to push one another.
When we put the focus on ourselves, and quit looking to our neighbor, you’ll begin to think more positively about yourself and your business. And if you ever see another person struggling in a group, be that person of encouragement and continue to help build the community near you.