If you’re a photographer of any level, you definitely don’t need anyone telling you that competition is steep in the industry. Even casual shooters feel the occasional burn as peers pick up new gigs or receive accolades, and for full-time professionals, it can be even worse. But, urges newborn photographer Kelly Brown, it’s not the opinions of other photographers that you should worry about.
After all, your peers don’t pay your rent.
“My business is the most important thing to me, other than my family because it’s what brings money into my family,” she explains. And while, in the past, she’s struggled with comparing herself to others and feeling like she wasn’t good enough to compete in the field.
Portraiture and newborn photography, which Kelly specializes in, is an extremely popular one, and it’s becoming more popular every day. It’s competitive — but it doesn’t necessarily need to be because, as Kelly says, “people have babies every day.”
Realizing that the business is there to make money, and that it’s one with plenty of room for everyone, helped her feel less anxious and afraid.
“I don’t care what other people think of my work,” she says. “My clients love it, and that’s all that matters to me because they’re the ones that pay my bills. I don’t care what other photographers think. I used to. I don’t anymore.”
Sue Bryce agrees. In a Facebook post, the master photographer reminded students and friends that they are “here to create. Not to compete.”
“Repeat after me…There is enough for everybody. My focus is service.”
Competition can, in some cases, be healthy — finding out the rates and services of other photographer in your market can, especially when you’re first starting out, be useful in figuring out the specifics of your own business — but getting bogged down in industry gossip or slamming other photographers to make yourself feel better? That’s both unnecessary and unhelpful.
Instead, focus on your own work. Focus on pleasing your clients. Focus on your passion within the field. Focus on why you’re photographing at all. If you can do that, the chatter (and anxieties) will die down.