|, Uncategorized|Don’t Let Them Crush You

Don’t Let Them Crush You

By | 2016-12-18T17:00:47+00:00 June 29th, 2015|14 Comments

Photographers are a fickle bunch. In many ways, we can be supportive, kind, and well-intentioned towards other photographers. I like to think that we all want to help others succeed and enjoy themselves, but unfortunately, not everyone has the same approach. Photographers are competitive. I totally get it. And very few will say what they really are thinking to your face.

Have you ever become discouraged after seeing something posted by another photographer? I know I have. It’s tough to feel accomplished when you see your counterparts out in the field, traveling the world, making beautiful photographs and having even more amazing adventures. I do my fair share of travel, and I post the photos I create on my journeys as well. Many of us are just sharing our fun experiences with our family and friends, with no tidbits of boastfulness about it.

However, there is still a lot of arrogance in this field (I’m not sure why, all we’re doing is making pretty pictures). But pride (and the creation of envy) may still be there. It may be subtle, it may not be intentional, but it still exists. Sometimes it can be as simple as a post on social media, something outwardly neutral but filled with hidden subtleties. Or an educator who teaches for fame or acknowledgement, filled with arrogance and disrespect for the people they are serving. The good news is that most photographers are not like this, but the few that are out there are very loud.

There is also another possibility, one that is even more likely, that our perceptions of others’ success negatively shapes how we feel about ourselves. We may look at a person’s travels, book sales, or workshop attendance and wish that we could do the same. Or maybe you look at what others are doing and feel that they don’t deserve it (but you do). We see all of the wonderful things posted by other photographers (who do, in fact, have well intentions) and their success and happiness brings to light the fact that we are sitting at home, and our camera has collected dust for weeks.

For this I have five simple words: Don’t let them crush you.

Don’t let anyone, whether they are malicious or supportive, well-intentioned or arrogant, find their way into your bones, draining you of your will to create. It is easy to look at others’ success and think that you could be doing more, or will never amount to that level of success.

Social media doesn’t make it easy, especially when you follow those of us who only post the happy stuff. Doing this makes our lives look gold-plated with lollipops and rainbows at every turn. But I assure you, things are not always as they seem. What we share online does not always reflect what is really happening behind that curtain.

What I’m trying to articulate with this long rant is to take everything with a grain of salt. So what if so-and-so photographer is making tens of thousands of dollars doing something you wish you could do, too. It’s likely that they have been at it for years, if not decades, and have made (or are making) many sacrifices to accomplish their goal. We don’t all write best-sellers with our first publication. We don’t grow organic social media followings overnight. And every career starts at year one. Maybe this is your year.

About the Author:

My name is Nicole and I'm a photographer, author, & educator living in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. When I'm not making photos I'm writing books and tutorials for my online store, Learn more about me and my story here.

14 Comments

  1. Lisa Robinson June 29, 2015 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    Yeah girl! Sing it!

  2. Flo Burney June 29, 2015 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    That is oh so true!! Thanks for the lift!?

  3. Don Bromberg June 29, 2015 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    Great post, and oh so true. Thanks!

  4. Rene Marzuk July 7, 2015 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    Nice post. I’m reminded of something I read online about social media, and I don’t remember exactly where, but it went something like you can’t and shouldn’t measure your evolution against other’s results. Most of the time, people post where they are now, but not how they got there, and it can be intimidating and create an skewed perception of reality. Thanks for articulating this!

    • Nicole S. Young July 8, 2015 at 8:10 am - Reply

      So true … everyone has a starting point, and we don’t always see where people came from. Sometimes people hide it, that they don’t want people to know that they were “normal” or new. But we all were :) None of us were born knowing how to use a camera :)

  5. Riley Shiery July 7, 2015 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    I just bookmarked this, and I will be returning to read it frequently. I have spent too many years feeling crushed, and let my camera collect too much dust.

    This year I have FINALLY found the courage to go for it, I am steeling myself for the long haul. I love nature, I love photography, and I AM going to keep at it until I ‘make it’.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings, they speak to my own perfectly.

    -Riley @ http://www.rileyshiery.com

  6. Yngvar Johnsen July 13, 2015 at 10:11 am - Reply

    I think Kacey Musgraves says it best: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nGIUtLO_x8g

  7. Tammy Soto July 14, 2015 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Amen sister!!!

  8. Linda Petersen July 14, 2015 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Thank you, I really needed this.

  9. Mary Anne Harris July 15, 2015 at 6:22 am - Reply

    Nicole you are just the BEST! I love your videos, books and blog posts and ….. Thanks, like others have said, I needed to hear this.

  10. Marissa vasquez July 17, 2015 at 5:04 am - Reply

    Thank you :) this really encouraged me not to give up.

  11. Kent Johnson August 14, 2015 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    Always a tricky business photography and now more so than ever! Good words of advice, thank you.

  12. Thomas Dittmer September 30, 2015 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your comments. Articles of this nature reinforce what I am doing with my special needs daughter. We both love to travel and will do so whenever we can. Most of our travels involve day trips to and from airshows. She gets a minimum two hour ride in the car, spend ALL day in the sunshine, and the ride back home. I get to drive, stay connected to aviation, and drive home. We both enjoy it. We do other things as well, but we live to travel during airshow season. (By the way, I take pictures also). And no, it isn’t always roses, but to enjoy the flowers, sometimes you have to endure the temporary pain. To the highway! And beyond……………….

  13. Jim August 16, 2016 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    As usual I’m a day late and a dollar short, since it is now August, 2016 and I just read the excellent advice that you posted around July, 2015. It is a darned shame that some people need to belittle others before s/he feels they accomplished something. Fight the good fight–know what is important–and only fight the battle that is important to you. Thank you for the lessons you have other photographers like me.

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