Comparing Your Work to Others

written by Austin Roa

 

One of our followers, Marina Bustillo-Mendoza, messaged us about a very important topic regarding concert photography.

She said, "I've been doing this for a few months and I've been feeling very intimidated because I love the outcome of my pictures, but by the time I post them, my confidence runs dry because I see all other concert photos and feel like mine are weak. How do you get over that feeling and how do you know when you have found your style?"

Firstly, wow, thank you for touching on this. I don't know how many of you will read this, maybe a couple, maybe five of you, who cares. Secondly, this is hard to answer, but I will answer it, so just bare with me. 

What's important is this: do not compare your work to others. 

BUT. WITH THAT SAID. It's important to know and value what others are doing, because you should support other artists as well. But at the end of the day, you should focus on what YOU create. Shoot what you want to see. Love your work. And be proud of it. And yes, it will take some time to find "your style" so to speak, but it will happen. You'll begin to pick out what kind of photos you are most attracted to.

However, that may be easier said than done. I've been fortunate enough to work with a handful of big name artists and have them post my photos/ videos on their socials. And I STILL feel like I could've done better, or that my style isn't up to standard and that there are other photographers out there in the world who should have my spot instead of me. My confidence runs dry too. I feel it all the time. Sometimes I'm afraid of a photo not reaching a certain number of Likes. And I hate that I do that. I hate that I think like that sometimes.

And this is why it's important to not focus on comparing your work others. You begin to think about the Likes and the Comments and the Engagement and all of that bullshit. What's important is if YOU like it.

I took this backstage before Robert DeLong performed a new song with K.Flay

I took this backstage before Robert DeLong performed a new song with K.Flay

It's not stupid if you like it. If you like it, It's good. Post what you want to see. When you start making art for others, you stop being an artist. Only a true artist exists if they are making the work for themselves. And if they're being honest about it, too. 

So to put this into retrospect, you might not ever get over the feeling of "dry confidence" or "weak photos." It happens to the best of us. But what I can tell you is this: do the work for you. Fuck everyone else. I mean it. If you are passionate about what you are putting out, that's all that should matter. You're an artist for crying out loud! Take a deep breath. Eat some cereal. Slam some coffee. Post the photo you love and keep posting the photos you love. Other photographers will respect that. Hell, bands and artists will respect that more than anything. You know why?

Because you're being honest with who you are and what you're about. That's what people want to see. That's what being an artist is.