The Danger of Comparing Yourself to Other Photographers

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There I sat at the end of October feeling drained and useless.  Shoot, shoot, shoot… edit, edit, edit is all that seemed to be going through my head.  Lacking inspiration and feeling like something was missing I started browsing blogs and Facebook pages of other photographers.

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While surfing, I’d found my remedy, “I just need to go vintage! I love looking at vintage photographs and I love the look of film photography.”  I put together a vintage style shoot and I was excited and inspired.  I came home from the shoot and started editing them.  Something felt wrong.  Those pictures weren’t me.

I was trying to feel better about myself by imitating looks I liked.  It didn’t work and I felt more discouraged.  After some late night soul searching, I realized I won’t ever feel good about my work by comparing it to other artists and photographers.

Here are 4 ways I came up with to be more confident about my photography while still pushing myself. Try them and let us know what works for you.

  1. Set Goals.  Setting goals for yourself and your business gives you something to strive for.
  2. Evaluate those goals.  Evaluating your goals every few months gives you the ability to see if you are progressing.
  3. Base your progress of YOU not others.  Comparing your 2010 images to your 2011 images is a much better way to chart progress then comparing your photographs to Jane Doe Photography’s photos
  4. Keep it real.  I don’t think newer photographers know their style right away. It is fine to get inspiration from the work of others, without actually copying.  Stick to what feel right and fits you rather than trying to duplicate every detail.
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This article was written by Kristin Wilkerson, a Utah based photographer. You can find her on Facebook too.

 

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 The Danger of Comparing Yourself to Other Photographers

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23 Comments and 1 Replies



  1. 1
    Amy Caswell says:

    *SO* true! Glad to know I am not the only one who does this. Following the likes of Jerry Gihonis has taught me so much but also made me look at many of my images and say the suck! LOL!! I will never be him, don’t want to intact, so thanks for the reminder :-)

  2. 2

    I like going to other photographer’s site, alot of them will list their education and awards, as I have none of that I have learned to compare older photos to later ones. As I have been taking photos for a long time and have even digitized some of my old film photos, there is quite a difference in my work. Always makes me feel better then comparing to people who are more well known! Now if I could set goals for myself…and keep them :)
    Jack

  3. 3

    Wonderful and encouraging words! Thanks so much! I believe many of us amateurs make this mistake – I love the advice of comparing your current photos to the ones you took a year ago! That is the only way you can see how you changed in style and ability. Thanks again!

  4. 4
    Jennifer says:

    Yes that is so very true you have to find your self as a photographer/artist are you will never be happy with your work. Thank you for the reminder!!!! :)

  5. 5
    Victoria says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I find myself getting discouraged as well when looking at other photographers works and being envious of their styles, wanting to change what I do. Then I go out and come home with photos that I am truly proud of and enjoy looking at over & over again. The bonus is when others say they wish they could take photos like mine. Sometimes we just need to slow down and realize why we love photography and just plain enjoy it without feeling that we have to impress anyone but ourselves.

  6. 6

    I could NOT agree more! I know that I have so much to learn…but I can see the biggest difference when I compare me to…ME! I love looking at other photos, I love having favorites, but most of all I love that I’m free to be me… great post!

  7. 7
    Helen R says:

    Yes! I have to continually remind myself of this. I was just saying (after looking through images from even 6 months ago) how great improving and learning is, but it makes me want to go back and re-do everything!

  8. 8
    Alice C. says:

    Such wonderful advice!

  9. 9
    Nakia Syree says:

    Needed this so bad!!! Been down in the dumps about my talent and how to use it more and get it more developed. I will find my niche someday, but the journey will be fun getting there. Thanks so much.

  10. 10
    Janneke says:

    Kristin, Thank You! This is wonderful advice. I also live in Utah and find that this has been a problem for me too because there are so many people here who love photography. I was even feeling it about the same time as you! I wish you prosperity in 2012 and if you ever want another buddy in the field, look me up. :)

    • Hi Janneke,

      It’s always fun to meet to photographers especially when they are in Utah. There is a lot of people to compare yourself too but it also give you a lot of friends to work and refer with. Thank you and I wish you the best too.

  11. 11
    Jennifer Conard says:

    You are so right. Stop and look at your own work see your improvement and go from their. Thanks for sharing :)

  12. 12
    Heather says:

    Great article!!!!!

  13. 13

    Exactly. I draw inspiration from other photographers and enjoy visiting and “Liking” their sites. Your images are gorgeous! Keep up the good work :)

  14. 14

    Very helpful and useful article really great write up. Thanks a lot for sharing with us !!

  15. 15
  16. 16
    Ariel Abella says:

    amazing, clear and vivid.

  17. 17
    Lidia Carr says:

    Kristen – YOU ARE FANTASTIC!!! I admire your work. It is amazing and speaks volumes. The storylines of your photography are incredible and I am a huge fan.
    Keep up your awesome ways and let us grow by you by sharing the knowledge.
    WE APPRECIATE it more than ever!

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Amy Matthews says:

    #3 is perfect. It helps more than anything to compare your work from a year ago until now. Comparing to other photographers will never work, especially if you have your own style.

  20. 20

    I really appreciate this article; Thank You! I have a partner that I work with and what I love is that we work off one another. She has her style and I have mine and there are times the combinations come together so well. We love to look at other photographer’s work and it can be at times inspiring or intimidating. Again, Thank you.

  21. 21
    Libby says:

    The title really says it all here. The 2012 goal is to truly explore some creativity and take the shots I really want to take instead of being a slave to a buyer’s market. And if I fall flat on my face, that’s ok, because at least I tried rather than submit to trends and the whims of others.

  22. 22
    Rick Joy says:

    I am a fan of Joe McNally, Chase Jarvis, Tom Lowe, Jeremy Cowart, and many other photographers….my favorite from the old days being Halsman. All of those photographers have great styles all their own…if there is anything I can imitate from them it would be their attitude toward the craft. They all have a great attitude toward what they do and strive to do better without comparison. I think great photos start with a good attitude first.

  23. 23
    margo says:

    Great article Kristin and so true, not that i am a professional photographer, however i am making camera bags and on lots of forums and see this is real problem with all my dear friends. Its great to see encouraging words hugs 3annies



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