Tell me if this sounds familiar… okay, not necessarily tell me because you know, we’re both behind computer screens right now and the audible “heck yes” might be a little awkward, but see if this resonates with you. You hop on Instagram to post some photos from a recent wedding, but before you post you decide to engage a little bit with the photographers you follow. Scrolling, you give a few photos and reels a “like” to show your support… and then you come across one reel that just doesn’t sit well with you. The reel asks, “Why have a boring photographer when you could have THIS?” followed by a video of a photographer getting down on the dance floor with the wedding guests.
It sends you into a little bit of a panic. Am I boring? you wonder. I mean, I don’t dance with the guests but I don’t thiiiink I’m boring. Does that mean I’m boring?!
Those photos of yours never get posted, by the way. You start to think about the persona you need to develop to be like other photographers. Should you fake it ’til you make it? Should you be on the dance floor at every wedding? You’re sent into a comparison tailspin, all because of one post. Ugh.
If the above scenario sounds familiar, let me assure you that you’re absolutely not alone. A few years ago, before I became a brand designer for photographers, I was in your shoes. That whole story was based on a real-life experience of mine, and needless to say I felt defeated. I compared myself to other photographers constantly and it wrecked my confidence.
Until it didn’t.
I was able to overcome the comparison mindset and have confidence as a photographer, and this is how you can do exactly the same thing and be unbothered by what other photographers are doing because you’re that confident and secure in yourself.
Isn’t that a little harsh? Not when closely keeping tabs on other photographers is ruining your confidence and draining your inspiration. Think about it: how often do you end up not posting or promoting yourself because you just don’t feel good enough? Are you comparing your personality to other photographers, always feeling like you don’t measure up? This is draining, and over time it will only cause you to be more and more insecure.
Focus. On. Yourself.
That’s right. It’s not selfish- it’s essential. When you’re spending so much of your time comparing yourself to others and beating yourself up because you don’t feel good enough, it’s nearly impossible to focus on the things you’re really good at. It’s a mindset shift that you have to make to feel like you’re good enough. And spoiler alert, you’re MORE THAN good enough.
Hit that mute button, girl.
Once you stop paying so much attention to what everyone else is doing, you can focus on what makes you the incredible photographer you are. So maybe you’re not the get-down-on-the-dance-floor photographer, but guess what? YOUR ideal clients don’t want that.
Maybe you’re the photographer that knows how to give clients their space and let moments happen. You could have an phenomenal eye for the most emotional parts of your clients’ weddings. Instead of spending time comparing yourself to other photographers, why not appreciate what makes you different?
This is a part of the branding process that I especially love when I create custom brands for photographers. We chat about your shooting style and personality and figure out what to highlight in your brand to attract your dream clients who value exactly what makes you different. That probably includes some of the things you’ve struggled to accept about yourself.
Even if you’re not quite ready to invest in professional brand design, there are things you can do in the meantime to improve your brand and increase your confidence. I have some free resources, including this thorough guide on Overcoming Imposter Syndrome for Photographers. There’s also this podcast episode where I chat with one of my photography mentors about embracing your personality in your business.
The guide is particularly helpful for reminding you of your strengths and how much your clients adore your work. I highly recommend downloading it if comparing yourself to other photographers is something you find yourself doing on a regular basis.
When you show your ideal clients consistently what makes you the best photographer for them, your brand will flourish. And the more you attract those ideal clients, the ones that value you, the less you’ll compare yourself to other photographers. Start there, and let’s stay in touch on Instagram where I’ll be spilling all the branding tips for photographers. See you there 💚