I was recently asked by a fellow photog who is relatively new to this journey, “How do I stop comparing my photos to other photographers photos? Did you struggle with this when you were starting out?”.
Of course the first thing that popped into my mind was the cliché quote we have all heard…
And yes, it was the first thing that came out of my mouth followed my an eye-roll. Now, I know this statement is very true and holds a lot of wisdom, however, as I said it I knew I needed to dig deeper if I was going to be of any real help. I have learned from experience that simply being told that something is not good for you does not magically solve a challenge. I needed to dive deeper into this quote and unpack what it meant for me in my journey and allow myself to be vulnerable if I was going to be of any true help. As we talked and our hearts unfolded this was the advice I gave from an open mind, heart and soul.
The temptation to compare ourselves in any area of our lives will always be there, however what has worked for me is confronting the temptation and turning it into a positive. When it comes to photography, if we are going to get past the comparison we have to be honest with ourselves.
1.) Be real and admit that you like the work of the photographer you are comparing yourself too.
It’s ok to admire someone else’s work and aspire to do great work as they do. And lets be honest, jealousy can creep in. Turn to your jealousy and push it away, instead find beauty in their work.
2.) Go beyond the comparison and ask yourself, Why?
Once you pushed away jealousy look at why you are drawn to that photographers work. What is it that you find so captivating? Remember photography is not only artistic but extremely technical as well. You don’t just magically push a button and the camera takes a perfect photo. You have to study, learn and perfect your work. Take a look at other photogs work and ask, is it their use of composition, the way they capture emotion, their ability to use white balance beautifully, the story telling of their photos, the focal points… the list can go on. Once you begin to see what is truly drawing you to that particular photographers work, you can begin to use it as a study tool, instead of a Joy robber.
3.) Develop your own style.
It can be tempting at first to only study the work of one photographer, however I urge you to study several works from several photographers. As you begin to actually study photos of all different works you will begin to see that your eye is drawn the the use of white balance by one photographer, another photographer will have a composition you like more, and yet another will capture emotion that your more drawing to. Its not to say one photographer is better then the other, but rather to find what your true personal style is. Once you can grasp the white balance you desire, the emotion you want to portray, the framing you love and so on, you can go out and put your eyes and knowledge to the challenge of capturing that in your own work.
4.) Rather then comparison let inspiration be your guide.
Use the inspiration you have gathered from studing other photographers work to personalize your own style and unique outlook on this beautiful wild life we all live. To improve Study and Perfect your own work. As your skills increase you will naturally find yourself not studding the work of others, instead you will be confident in what you are capturing and loving your own personal style.
I hope this gives a real and deeper look into the journey of following your dreams.