As most of you reading this would agree, we are often more critical of our own work than we are of anyone else's. That is definitely true for myself. It's hard to measure how much I've grown as a photographer. In all honesty, I want every single wedding, engagement, anniversary session, and family session to be better than my last. I try my hardest to look at my own work with a critical eye, because I never want to get comfortable. I always want to keep growing and getting better so I never get stagnant.
Sometimes, though, it's hard to commend yourself for the good work you're doing when you're always looking to be better. There's a healthy element to recognizing your growth and achievements, rather than always picking out the most negative side of your work. At times I've realized that if I had a boss as hard as me as I am to myself, I probably would have quit a long time ago!
Each year, there is a huge photography contest hosted by the folks over at Shoot and Share. I first heard about it last year, my first year in business, and was eager to enter a few of my pictures from the year. I remember being so disheartened when it came to voting time, however. It seemed that EVERYONE had better pictures than I did, and mine didn't even stand a chance of making it past the first round, let alone winning any sort of prize. It was all very discouraging, and it brought me down for a little bit of time.
This year, I was determined to enter again, and not let other's work get me down. When I began to look through my pictures, I was blown away. There are still so many things I want to improve, and so much I want to work on, but I was proud to enter pictures this year. I don't expect to win the grand prize (since it's as much about the style of the weddings as it is your pictures), but I felt like mine stood up to so many others in the same category as mine. There are so many photographers who are without a doubt better than I am, who can master light more, and who can see things that I am still training myself to see, but I've made a giant leap from where I was last year.
I'm proud of what I did in 2014. I'm proud of so many family sessions, engagements, and weddings that I shot. I hope to be even better in 2015, but today, I'm choosing to take pride in how far I've come, instead of looking at how much farther I want to go.
Take pride in your work, friends. Sometimes, you're the only one who will on any given day. And that's more than enough for me.
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