How to Stay Inspired: Through The Lens of a Photographer
As a self-proclaimed, aspiring photographer I believe it is important to choose inspiration over comparison. In this day and age of constant exposure via social media, websites and more, I often find it very difficult to stay positive about my own work. I have a hard time not comparing my work to other photographers'. Whether they be close friends who are hobbyists or professional photographers with years of experience, I am guilty of thinking that my work is not and will never be as "good."
However, I have recently realized how detrimental this can be to my creativity. Why should I base the judgement of my own work, on a photographer's work who has been in the field for far longer than I have? What good does it do to think my photos are "less beautiful" compared to someone else's just because they happen to live in a more scenic part of the country? While yes, mountains and oceans are gorgeous and photogenic it doesn't have to mean that because I don't have immediate access to them that my work is somehow less legitimate.
As a photographer/artist/creative type, it's important to know the difference between comparison, competition, inspiration and imitation. These things can be good, bad and both.
- Comparison = mostly bad
- Competition = mostly good
- Inspiration = always good
- imitation = stay away!!
Comparison is unfortunately kind of inevitable, but if you train yourself to turn that into healthy competition you can use it to better your own craft. Imitation is something I try to steer clear of. Like I said, we have access to constant exposure which means we can find any and all kinds of photographers and photo content on the web. This is truly a great tool, but if you rely on that to come up with all of your content things can become unauthentic.
When going through what I like to call a "creative drought," I am constantly looking on Pinterest, Designspiration and more for new ideas. As silly as that sounds, it's one of my go-tos on how to stay inspired. Sometimes when you see someone else's work you start to conjure up some new ideas of your own. Finding and regularly following photographers is something else I really enjoy. Learning by example is key and it also gives me a real life example of the career I aspire to have in the future. Thinking about my future and all the things I want to accomplish really helps me stay motivated in the present. After all, if you do nothing today you'll go no where tomorrow.
Emily Soto is a high fashion photographer located in New York (the dream). With over 200k followers on Instagram and a platform in various fashion magazines like V, Teen Vogue and Marie Claire it's no wonder that Soto is a creative force with a very interactive following. Soto is the type of photographer I aspire to be in the future and following along with a professional like her keeps me wanting more out of the world of photography.
Jaci Marie is a younger photographer located in Arizona. Her work consists of natural lighting, sun flare, amazing hues and then combine all that into beautiful landscapes. Her work excites me and inspires me to travel and take photos wherever I go. With 30k+ followers on Instagram, she is catering to a very hot topic right now. Her work gives off "wanderlust" and "adventure" vibes which millennials seem to be absolutely obsessed with these days. Jaci's work nails that on the head and keeps me coming back for more inspiration.
I say all that to say this, BE AUTHENTIC if it's the last thing you do. Constantly comparing yourself to others and trying to be like others whom you look up to is only going to get you so far. Once you figure out what you want to accomplish and set your mind to it is when you truly start to succeed. Everyone has a different plan and a different direction. Don't try to go down the same road as someone else and leave your own unique path vacant.
"Designspiration — Design Inspiration." Designspiration RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.
Marie, Jaci. "Jaci Marie." Jaci Marie. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.
"Pinterest." Pinterest. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.
Soto, Emily. "Emily Soto." Emily Soto. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.