Is comparison good in Photography ?

comparison photography progressLast night me and my husband had a talk about art and how an artist doesn’t need to compare his work to the work of other artists. My art is my photography so of course I was relating everything to it… I was saying that – comparing your work to the work of better photographers in theory helps you achieve a higher level – helps you grow & improve. My husband was saying that it isn’t necessary – you can still grow as an artist and keep getting better without comparing your work to other people’s work but just by comparing your current work to your earlier work. This reminded me of something that I read once about children – how it’s not wise to compare child’s achievements & progress to other children but rather just to their own previous achievements.

All of this makes total sense to me… except that photography is different… or at least I see things differently when it comes to it. Photography for me has two sides – the main is the artistic side – when you just create what you want and what you love…  but there is also the commercial side – when you work with clients.

Now when you work with clients there is a level of expectation that you typically have to meet.

It is much easier not to compare your work to others when you are working on a personal project cos in that case it really doesn’t matter what others do and think and if they do it better or not – because nothing else matters but your own satisfaction 🙂

The whole comparing part starts as soon as you share your work with others. I am guilty of paying too much attention to what happens on social media. How my work is received… How something that seems like a great photograph to me – because it is something that I put a lot of effort in during the creative process – is very often not noticed by others at all…

At the same time photos that by my definition are just a ‘click’ of exactly what was in front of you or something just way simpler to do, many times seem to be way more appreciated by others – they get noticed a lot more, get more likes, positive comments etc. Also things that I absolutely avoid such as dutch angles, wrong white balance (overall color filter sort of look), perspective distortion – other people seem to really like those things…

Again when I do my personal projects I do them for myself and during the creation I get very devoted and I don’t think of anything else aside from the results that I want to achieve 🙂

At a later stage when I share my work online and I see that there is little or no positive reaction to it – this is when all the thinking and comparison starts happening…

And even if I stop comparing my work to other photographer’s work, others will still do it for me… in efforts to prove why my work is not good enough…

Then this brings another question to mind – should my work be adjusted and in a way simplified in order to be better received by the general audience ?

After making this post I have a better understanding of the fact that – yes this way of thinking doesn’t help my creativity… it doesn’t distract me but takes away time that could be better used… I know – it all has a lot to do with recognition… and even though it is not essential – it would be nice to get it more often than not : )

My conclusion is that it is ok to be aware of and inspired by other people’s work but it should be stopped at that – not continuing to the comparison part in such way because is not necessary… What is most important is to just do your thing 🙂 Even if it ends up being something that is way different and often misunderstood or neglected by others – it doesn’t matter as long as you are satisfied with your progress and results 🙂

Meet the Author

Estee White

Professional Photographer with 5 years of experience. Explored many photography fields but excel in Dance, Portraiture & Fashion.

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