Jealousy + Comparison For Photographers

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So, we’re gonna keep it really real in this blog post, because I believe in real. I believe in transparency and being open as a business owner, because I don’t ever want someone to view my Instagram, my blog, or my work and think “her life is perfect”, “she has it easy”, or “she never feels how I’m feeling”. Because, friends, that is just not the case. I ALWAYS want to encourage other photographers, business owners and boss ladies, and I think the best way to do that is to keep it really, really real. So, that’s what this blog post is going to be all about.

Last week, I was having a bit of a tough week. It’s in the midst of busy season, which is never an easy time for photographers, but I was really struggling to keep high spirits. I couldn’t quite put a finger on it but, one evening, I was driving home from a senior session and the tears just started flowing. I wasn’t sure why or really what the heck my problem was, but I was crying some pretty ugly sobs. Then, I got home, went to my mom and said “I feel like my work isn’t comparing to anyone else’s. I feel like I’m in the middle of busy season, shooting 24-7 and not developing work that compares to the photographers I’m following. None of it is good enough and I don’t know why”. My friends were hosting workshops, the women I admire were shooting gorgeous weddings, the boss ladies I follow on Instagram were all sharing beautiful work + announcing fun projects, and then there was me, feeling unworthy and not enough.

I feel like that’s always how it happens. When we’re having a bad week, EVERYONE we follow on Instagram is having the BEST week, and we’re laying in bed with a carton of ice cream in our yoga pants crying ugly sobs and listening to Taylor Swift. It happens. It’s real life. And you aren’t the only one who feels what you’re feeling right now.

After my slight mental breakdown, I sat down and realized that I was comparing myself to everyone around me. I was scrolling through Instagram and looking at all of these amazing posts saying “why couldn’t I have shot that wedding?”, “why am I not hosting gorgeous styled shoots?”, “my brand doesn’t compare to her new launch”, “this senior session is not consistent with my work” and “I’ll never be able to compete with that”. Instead, what I SHOULD have been saying was “Oh my gosh, she ROCKED that wedding!!!” and “I HAVE to call her and tell her how amazing that styled shoot was!” and “Holy crap, her new brand is BEAUTIFUL! I have to encourage her about it because I know how hard she has worked!” Because, guess what?

 

Her success is not my failure. 

 

It isn’t. It’s just the truth. If your best friend is out today shooting an amazing styled shoot with a gorgeous set of models while you’re laying in bed struggling to cull last week’s wedding…that’s okay. Call her and tell her you are SO proud of her and can’t wait to see the photos. Is the photographer you compete with in your area rocking it out and shooting a client you were hoping to book? That’s okay, too. Email her and tell her that the images were beautiful and she’s doing a wonderful job. Because, guess what? Just because she is rocking it out doesn’t mean that you aren’t. Because you are, too. I promise.

Being a business owner isn’t easy. And being a photographer isn’t easy. I spent the last two days at Amy & Jordan’s workshop in Richmond (SO fun!) and they said it best…this industry that we are in is so hard. Because, to be successful as a photographer, your job is to broadcast your successes on social media and share the heck out of all of the hard work you’ve been doing. But then when everyone is viewing your feed, all they are seeing is your highlight reel.

And you can’t compare your real life to someone else’s highlight reel.

Keep on doing what you’re doing, because you ARE enough. And you ARE rocking it out. And her success is not your failure.

Photo by: Natalie Jayne Photography 

POSTED

June 11, 2015

  1. Liz

    June 22nd, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Hey Hope! You don’t know me, but I am just a fellow photographer who follows your work on instagram and on here and I honestly, from the bottom of my heart just want to say THANK YOU. I have a wedding coming up this Friday and I needed to read this today because this is EXACTLY how I am feeling these past few days. It’s comforting knowing that even someone as inspiring and skilled as you still has off days and moments of concern because often I feel like I am the only one who gets that way!! Thank you for always being truthful and telling it as it is. And of course for making the world more beautiful, one picture at a time<3

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I'm Hope Taylor, an international Senior Portrait and Wedding Photographer based in Charleston, SC. I'm also an educator, international speaker, and the host of multiple sold-out workshops each year!

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