Recently, for reasons I wont go in to, I felt knocked down, had a confidence crisis and had a moment of “why bother”.
Ask any photographer and they will tell you it’s a tough industry. You don’t know when or where you will get your next job from, there’s the challenge of standing out from every other photographer in your sector, and it’s far too easy to be your own worst critic. Despite all of that, we love it and we couldn’t imagine doing anything else. We’re creative people who thrive off doing what we love. And for me, I love photographing humans and their best equine friends.
Not only do we have to work hard to stand out from other photographers, we have to produce work that impresses people enough that they put down their smartphone and book us. Technology is amazing and yes, it can work in our favour in the sense that the professional camera equipment that you can now buy is incredible, but it also works against us. iPhones have amazing cameras these days (I should know – I upgraded my phone purely for the sake of the camera!), and you can pick up an entry-level DSLR for a couple of hundred pounds. However the thing I find most challenging is comparing myself to others. This happens in most aspects of my life, not just with my work, and I’m trying my hardest to do it less and less.
We all take inspiration from different places and for me, I get some of my inspiration from other photographers. I don’t just look at the photos they take, but the composition, the editing and even how the person is posed. Recently though if I saw another photographers work I’d feel like I wasn’t good enough and I would momentarily question myself. I tell people all the time that comparing yourself to others is one of the worst things you can do, yet it seems I need to listen to my own advice more.
I would look at my work and be my own worst critic. I’d see a photo where the focus was slightly off or the background not blurry enough and I’d wonder why I couldn’t get it perfect. What I should have been telling myself though is that my idea of ‘perfect’ may be completely different to someone else’s.
After feeling like this for a few weeks, I knew I needed to sort myself out and pick myself back up. I wasn’t going to let myself be disappointed with my next set of images. I found my determination and the outcome?
I produced my best work.
I felt like I needed to prove myself to people, and even though they weren’t aware of it, I was using them to drive me forward. The people who’d (probably unintentionally) knocked me down made me come back more determined than ever.
Here’s to moving forward.