It is human nature to compare ourselves to others. This isn’t a bad thing per se, but it can make your life more difficult than it needs to be at times.
Looking at the online photo sharing forums for me is inspiring. I marvel at the work of others and want to make photographs of similar quality. But at the same time it can be discouraging to look at a photograph and wonder if you will ever reach that level.
So what do you do in order to get through those feelings?
That will vary per person of course, so I can only speak to what I do.
I take a step back at look at what I am doing, where I haven been and where I am going. I know that sounds trite, but it works for me. When I look at where I was photographically when I picked up my first dslr a year and half ago I am much better. As part of that I also know that I have a long way to go to get where I want to be. Where do I want to be? I’m not exactly sure yet. I would like to sell some of my work that is for sure. Writing about photography has also become a big part of who I am, as well as teaching others the little bit that I know.
Another thing that I do is really think about what was it that got me discouraged? Was it that I can’t create an image that well? That just takes practice which I know that I must do. Was it that they received recognition and I didn’t? That is pretty selfish of me. They created a beautiful image and they deserve to recognized for it. It isn’t their fault that mine wasn’t noticed so don’t take away from their accolades. Is it because my pictures aren’t getting noticed? Figure out why they aren’t and fix it. I need to put myself out there even more than I have. While I have been doing that more and more I need to take it to another level I think. I need feedback on my pictures, on my skills to get where I want to go.
Will I still get discourage? I know I will. Will I still have a bit of envy for those that can get gear they want and attend workshops to learn from masters of the craft? Yes I will, but that is my issue, not theirs.
My gear doesn’t matter, my workshop credentials don’t matter, the number of comments I have on a picture don’t matter.
What matters is that I have a love, a passion for photography. And nothing will stop me from doing it, even myself.
What do you do when you get discouraged about your photography or life in general?
Most of all, I imagine.