Landscape photography is a very competitive field. As photography becomes more accessible it will only become more so. I am part of this boom of the medium over the last several years, and I welcome everyone else to join in on creating landscape images! However, one of the things that can make landscape photography a challenge is the more people creating images and publishing them every day the more it can make us self-conscious about our own work.
Insecurity with my own images and work ethic is something I have struggled with. I do believe that most have felt this at some point because of how easy it is to see the wonderful content others are publishing every hour of every day. I regularly get caught up in consuming other photographer’s phenomenal work on sites like 500px and Instagram. It is easy to make it seem like with all of the new work someone else has put out that you are either being lazy or just aren’t that good.
The problem with this mindset is that I am just one person. I am consuming the content of hundreds of photographers that I follow in comparison! There are only so many hours in a day and not all of them can be spent on photography. In order to have a healthy life, we need to have a balance between all of the important parts. Also, balancing out the amount of time spent creating vs consuming content will help with the mindset issue. If I spend less time consuming other’s work I will essentially be putting the blinders on and focusing on what is important to me.
The problem with insecurity is that it is usually unwarranted. I feel most insecure about my work after hitting a major milestone. It is a feeling of “have I peaked?” and a fear of not capturing another image of the same quality. Flipping this on its head, once I realize my insecurity I like to see it as an opportunity to refocus on something else. Every good hike up a mountain has a descent, and every new accomplishment requires making the ascent first.
Looking at insecurity in my own photography I can see how it is an easy feeling to slip into. I can also get out of the loop by doing a couple of important things. Balancing out my schedule and limiting the amount of time I spend consuming other’s work helps. Keeping the blinders on and focusing on the content I have created is also important in understanding what makes me happy. Lastly, letting the valleys be just that. Understanding that once we hit a peak in something it is time to re-focus on a new goal, location, skill, etc… Insecurity is a natural piece of being a landscape photographer, but it ought to not be what we are always dwelling on.