I have often spoke about comparing yourself and how this can negatively affect you. Comparing yourself to other photographers has a lot of disadvantages. More importantly, comparing yourself rarely take into consideration one important detail: you.
You are a unique person, with unique traits and capabilities. You have your unique story and an unique view of life. The moment you start comparing yourself, you remove what’s unique about you. You stop being a unique being, with a unique style, and you become one of the many. The worst thing is that you are bringing this on yourself by yourself.
Why comparing yourself and your style won’t make you happy?
The difference between comparing yourself and getting inspired is thin
A lot of photographers who tries to climb the ladder often saying: “I am getting inspired by other photographers”. Getting inspired and comparing yourself are often the same thing. Falling in a spiral when you are influenced by other photographs is very simple. Especially if you obsessively follow what they do. It is also something we often lie to ourself about.
“I am not trying to copy; I am just trying to understand how to get better”
Do you want to get better? Maybe enrolling in a course and learn without having to drool over another photographer’s portfolio is a better way of getting the results you want!
Don’t be jealous of others
When Faby and Carlo was a little bit more than an idea, we were looking at other photographers’ work with a bit of jealousy. I admit it, I was looking at other photographers’ work thinking that “I should be better” with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Luckily I quickly grew out of it, and one of the things that helped me was the realisation that as much as I tried, I wasn’t able to appreciate the process of producing what others were doing.
Being jealous of other photographers’ success and comparing yourself to them are curses. You may not see it, but they are two things that will slow down your personal development. Being who you truly are, and producing images through a positive process, will make you better and better.
How to grow out from the “comparing yourself” pain
The best push that can help you stop comparing yourself is the understanding that photography is a path, not a goal. By living someone else’s, you deny your identity and you make yourself a copy of another photographer. There are thousands of easier (and less complicated) ways to earn a living or be proud of yourself.
So, if you want to understand how to stop a circle that usually pushes yourself down (I am not as good as she is… I cannot take the same images as she does…), start looking at life from a different perspective; start trying to find the real inspiration in other things. More importantly, start realising that the process is more important than the end result; if the results are not the ones you expected, change the process, or change your expectations. Your photographs will be as good as your process will make you feel alive; I have never seen anyone feeling alive by being a copycat.
Stop searching for inspiration by comparing yourself
Remember that inspiration can be found everywhere, particularly when you look outside the photographic community. Be inspired by a poem, or by a leaf falling on the ground, or by the hustle and bustle of the City at 8am. Let your inspiration drive your creativity, channeling it through how you like to photograph things. Comparing yourself won’t open your mind. Browsing someone else’s portfolio, studying the light she used, or the model she employed won’t make you a better photographer.
Comparing yourself won’t make you a Better photographer. That’s the end line.