Photo Contest Insider Blog


Dealing with Creative Envy as a Photographer

December 18, 2017

Even though many of us don’t like to admit it, we all suffer from creative envy from time-to-time. With social media constantly reminding us of other people’s accomplishments, it’s not uncommon to find yourself asking “why not me?”.

While experiencing those pangs of jealousy can seem like an innocent part of any career, we believe it simply doesn’t have to be so. After all, wouldn’t you prefer to celebrate the achievements of your peers and cheer them on, rather than finding yourself resenting what they’ve worked so hard for?

Today we’ll be looking at the simple yet effective ways you can not just deal with creative envy as a photographer, but tackle those unwanted feelings head-on!

Compliment, Don’t Criticize

When it seems as though every other photographer you follow on Instagram are achieving your dreams, take a second to remember the following quote: “one person’s success is not your failure”.

When we’re feeling particularly self-conscious about our own work, our first reaction may be to question why another photographer is deserving of such success, or even to focus on the aspects of their work that you don’t like. Instead, try to reverse this thinking pattern and think about the things you love about their work. Then, leave them a comment or message offering your compliment.

Not only will you feel a lot better, but some believe the universe has a way of thanking those who constantly send out such positivity!

Look Inward

Often, we experience creativity envy when we are insecure or unconfident about our own work. Because of this, it’s a great idea to look inward when you start to feel jealous about the accomplishments of others. Ask yourself why you might be feeling this way, as well as what areas of your own photography career you are unhappy about.

By taking some time to reflect on the bigger picture, you might just unlock some really important discoveries about your own work, plus you may even brainstorm how to overcome any obstacles that are stopping you from considering yourself to be successful too. It’s a win-win!

Focus on Gratitude

When we’re feeling lost, confused, or even hurt by the success of other photographers, it can also be a great idea to focus on the things you’re grateful for in your own career. It’s recommended that you go somewhere quiet with a notebook or piece of paper and a pen. Start making a list of all of your own accomplishments over the past few years, as well as the areas of your career that you feel most grateful. Suddenly, you’ll find that green-eyed monster has disappeared, and you may even feel guilty for experiencing that bout of creative envy in the first place!

If this is the case, don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, use this proven method to deal with those pangs of jealousy next time they rear their head again.

Seek Education

Everyone can always benefit from further education in their field, and one of the best times to pursue this is when you find yourself feeling creative envy. Rather than wallowing in those dreaded questions (why not me? What do they have that I don’t? Why can’t I be as talented as they are?), instead use your time to be proactive and banish the self-doubt.

There are numerous online courses aimed at photographers (including free ones), along with plenty of eBooks, podcasts, and TED talks on related subjects. What will you learn today? The opportunities really are endless!

Create Your Own Opportunities

Lastly, one of the best ways to kick your creative envy to the curb is through spending more time creating your own opportunities and less time worrying about others. The truth is, many of these hugely-successful and popular photographers probably work tirelessly behind the scenes trying to open new doors for their career, whether it be cold-emailing companies, pitching their work to publications, and spending countless hours on their online marketing.

While good things might come to those who wait, better things come to those who actively seek out new opportunities and accomplishments. Here are just some things you can do right now to take your own photography career to the heights you dream of:

  • Look at photography job boards or do a job search related to your field
  • Ask your previous clients to supply you with a testimonial about your work if they haven’t already done so
  • Find a photography group in your area or organize one yourself
  • Join a Facebook group for photographers and introduce yourself to its members
  • Pitch your best work to a publication that accepts submissions in your niche / aesthetic
  • Start your own online photography course and begin helping others
  • Cold pitch a company or brand within your city and tell them why they will benefit from your photographic services

We hope you find our tips about dealing with creative envy as a photographer to be incredibly helpful and actionable. Here’s to tackling career-related jealousy head-on and focusing on your own success and achievements instead!


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