How I've been dealing with creative jealousy

A little while ago I watched a YouTube video entitled "How to deal with creative jealousy...and get back to work". It was uploaded by Sean Tucker, whose videos I recommend to everyone - not just photographers. 

And now, a few months later, I've found the need to go back over what Sean said and put it into practice. 

I went full-time freelance around a year ago, and since then I've had to cope with all that brings: solitude, feelings of inferiority and, of course, creative jealousy. (There's also a bunch of good stuff, but that's for another blog post.)

Creative jealousy, as Sean says, is a result of feeling inadequate and projecting those feelings onto other people. Whether it's the clients your "competitors" are getting, cool work they've made, or the branding they've created for themselves. Everything is a potential source of creative jealousy.

Since I've been getting more jobs - and missing out on some jobs - I've found myself feeling more jealous of other photographers.

Why getting more jobs made me feel more jealous

That might seem strange, but I think it's because I've started seeing myself as a legitimate photographer. (Don't assume I've overcome those feelings of inferiority just yet - I haven't.)

When I just started out, perhaps I thought of myself as a bit of an imposter. Now, I'm serious about holding myself as a real-life, actual, professional photographer. And maybe a bit less of an imposter.

That's not to say I'm now much better than I was back then. I've still got a hell of a lot to learn. But now I appreciate that what I do is valuable, and definitely not easy. I've dedicated hundreds, maybe thousands of hours to improving and learning over the years. It's not just a case of turning up with a camera in hand and pressing the shutter.

What I tell myself when I feel jealous

But the jealousy is never truly overcome. Now, when I hear that another photographer has landed a job, I try to tell myself a few things:

One. This is not the only job in the world. There will be others. 

Two. They earned this job. Don't underestimate what they've done to get it.

Three. Them being creative/successful does not take away from my ability to be creative/successful.

Being a freelancer will always be a tough gig in so many ways. On top of all these internal conflicts, there's plenty of admin and unpleasant stuff to keep me busy. I'm still finding my feet with all of those things. But now, with a little conscious thinking now and then, I'm hoping that jealousy will fade into the distance.

And for those interested in Sean Tucker, take a look at the video above. He's great to listen to, whether he's talking about specific photography tips or musing on life in general. And beyond that, he's a top photographer with some beautiful work. Check him out.


Tiny plants and a friendly dog

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of shooting with a great little independent plant shop in Nottingham - The Watered Garden. They're based in Sneinton Market, a hub of cool, creative businesses.

Here are some of the shots I took on the day. If you can't guess, the last one is my favourite. I imagine it will be yours, too.

That last one is of Ezra, a top class shop dog. He licked my face, but I didn't even mind. 

If you're in Nottingham and you're after some plants (or want to spend some time with a friendly and very photogenic dog), get down to Sneinton Market and pay The Watered Garden a visit. 

Check out my portfolio for some more commercial and portrait work.

What's in store for me in 2018?

Christmas has passed, the year is new and I'm back on the blog. It's only taken three months, but here I am. Back with two posts in one day.

So what's going on? And what are my plans for the 2018?

Blogger shoots and my first presentation

2017 was the year I took the plunge and went full-time freelance. I quit my job without any real safety net and jumped right into taking photos for a living. 

It was also the year I started photographing people. Before then, I contented myself with subjects I didn't have to direct or speak to. Needless to say, I soon found that it was a whole new ball park.


This year, I'll continue shooting the bloggers that kickstarted my fondness of portrait photography. I've met some really cool people through these shoots, and it'd be great to keep that up. 

A few weeks ago I was asked to speak at a Bumble Bizz event for those who want to generate a buzz around their blog. I was pretty nervous, but I accepted. After some overhead projector troubles (a real throwback to my schooldays), I spoke about the methods behind some of my photos and gave some tips on blog photography. I think it went pretty well. Either way, it was good to meet some more local bloggers and learn some SEO tips from the event's other speaker - A Branch of Holly.

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Getting more creative

I've found myself getting frustrated in the past few months when it comes to the creative standard of my work. It's not that I don't care about being more experimental, it's just that the grind can get me down. As a result, a couple of my recent projects and shoots have been pretty average by my own standards.

With the help of my ultra-creative girlfriend, however, I'm getting back on the horse. We recently crafted a red themed shoot, complete with moody lighting, that I'm really proud of. Check out one of the shots below, and see some more of the photos over at Daisily.


Meeting new people and collaborating

Moving to Nottingham after uni was a tough transition. I went from having a close group of friends to knowing virtually no one. On top of that, I was working from home for the first year or so, which made it even harder to get social.

Being a freelancer means combatting loneliness, but I've found that it's better for my social life than having a full-time, working from home position. I've met up with a few local creatives, and 2018 is the year when I make an effort to really engross myself in the local community. Just having my camera around my neck has started a few conversations with strangers, so maybe that's my "in". 

Shooting for fun and finding a project

The creative rut that I've been speaking about has one major cause: working for the sake of work. When that seeps into my photography, it's a problem. I want to take photos because it's what I love, not just because it's what is paying the bills now. 

I've been shooting more film lately, and that always helps me to refocus on why I enjoy photography. I'm currently toying with a few different project ideas - maybe a mixture of short and long term projects to keep me occupied.  

I've also been approaching personal projects in a different way, of late. I used to think that I needed an idea to be fully-formed before I could commit to it. Now, I'm much more open to letting things evolve naturally. I've been reading more widely, looking at other art forms, and generally opening up to more cool stuff.

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I'm hopeful that the coming year will be a fruitful and creative one. I'm serious about making this career work, but I need to remind myself that if it becomes a chore, it's finished. As long as I can find the motivation that brought me to photography in the first place, I think this could be a great year.

If you're a blogger, small business owner or anyone else in the world, drop me an email and we can talk about creating some cool photos together.


My Favourite Images of 2017

As I sat down to write my blog post about what's in store for me in 2018, I realised that I hadn't done a wrap up of the previous year. If I cared at all about closure - and I do - I wouldn't neglect a classic "2017 favs" post. Here goes.

I did a lot of shooting in my first year as a full-time freelance photographer. I photographed people, food, small businesses, and even a live art installation. Each shoot posed its own challenges, and, I'd say, in 75% of the shoots I had at least one eureka moment. That feeling of being really excited about an image, even when viewed on the back of a 2.5 inch screen, is hard to beat.

So here are a few of my favourite images from 2017. Each one is here for a different reason, and these aren't necessarily my most technically accomplished shots. Let me know what you think.

If you want to see what's in store for me in 2018, check out my new blog post. And if you want to see more photos, take a look at my portfolio.