One of the key things in being an artist is being true to yourself. In the photography world, we tend to be inundated every day as we log onto Facebook or Instagram with a flood of gorgeous pictures from other photographers we follow and admire, or images that magazines or blogs feature.
Why can’t my work be like theirs?
That might be the question coming to your mind. Someone always seems to make something that’s a little more beautiful, a little more creative, or more inspiring to your eyes. In this social media driven world, it is hard to not compare. But it’s time to stop doing that.
I am speaking to myself as well as all of you when I say: you are an artist, so you need to be one. Artists don’t stand out by creating the same thing that everyone around them is doing. They stand out by being unique. You stand out by having that one element in your work that identifies you from the everyone else. Search your soul … know what that thing is deep inside you that drives you and fuels you – and then let it fill your work.
But let’s be honest. Unless we have no other talented friends in this industry, or never use social media – you’re going to see other photographers work daily. And you’re probably going to be tempted to compare.
I think the key to staying original is to remember that you are an artist. Deep in yourself is the desire to be creative – and not just a copycat. We compare because we feel like what we are doing is not good enough … but everyone has what they need to be better right inside them. And, if you think that your work is not good enough – that’s not a bad thing either! You should be your worst critic, and always working to make something even better.
If you find yourself trying to be just like some other photographers, find a different art medium to work on a few days a week to diversify and stretch your creative mind. For me, I’m going to start painting watercolor more, because I love the look of it and it’s something I’d like to get better at. Then when you come back to photography, remember that you are making art – not just snapping a picture. Be careful, be deliberate – and put your heart into each image you take.