Surviving social media comparison as a photographer

San Antonio Family Photographer

Last weekend, I decided to take a break from social media for the first time ever. I’ve heard of many people going unplugged, but I always convince myself I didn’t need to.

But this break was desperately needed.

Let’s just call it, a social media overload.

I think we all know that social media can be dangerous because it can sometimes give a false representation of life. Most of the time, we post the good things, and as photographers, we post one to two photos from the hundreds of photos we actually take. Also as a photographer, we post for marketing purposes, which means we choose the best images that will get the most engagement and/or showcase our best work.

Of course we got a good picture, but let’s be real, this is how it is all the time! 😂

But this became dangerous for me.

Insert me: Doer, enneagram type 1, strength finder: belief and responsibility. My whole being is fixated on performance. As a Christian, my intentions are good — I want to do my best for God — but it can cross a fine line into working for salvation or love from God and others.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

Doers

This weekend, I listened to a podcast by Abi Stumvoll that talked about doers and be-ers. Doers tend to struggle with comparison. Her husband, who is also a doer, talked about how these types of people do, do, do, and much of the time, push aside their emotions so they can keep doing. They are driven by productivity.

Although this is great because we can get things done efficiently, it can become unsafe if you don’t confront your true feelings. Like for me over the last couple of weeks, I had been feeling the weight of comparison, yet I ignored it.

Enneagram Type 1

On top of this, I’m also a type 1 enneagram.

Ones are gifted with a strong sense of purpose and have high ideals. They not only like to follow protocol, policies, and procedures, but they find that it brings a sense of comfort and ease when they do this. They are sincere, honest, and diligent. They like to excel in everything they are responsible for and take pride in doing things well. Above all else, they value honesty, integrity, and objectivity. Conscientious and methodical, they are exceptionally skilled at paying close attention to detail. They are particularly serious people who are constantly striving to improve themselves, others, and the world.

YourEnneagramCoach.com

The not-so-good things about ones includes being perfectionist, judge, and critic of self and others.

Type Ones have an extremely strong and loud ‘inner critic’ that is relentlessly and constantly telling them what they did wrong and how to improve.”

Your EnneagramCoach.com

Add the constant feed of social media of seemingly perfect photographers who I admire — lets just say it resulted in an anxiety attack.

I continued to do, do, do, without confronting my emotions of comparison and insufficiency, and it was social media overload.

The funny thing is that during the week that led up to this overload, I heard two other amazing photographers talking about this same issue. One posted about not feeling good enough and questioning their work (I can’t seem to find the post anymore.)

Another amazing photographer who I’ve always admired, Sara K Blanco Photography, spoke on this topic too in her Instastories. She said not to compare yourself to other photographers who have been in the business for 10+ years. It got me thinking that I just decided to truly do this last year, and I was the one looking at photographers who have been doing this for 10+ years, wanting to have a consistently flawless Instagram feed like them and be on the first page of Google.

But that is not realistic and it is unhealthy.

I know God was using others to tell me to stop comparing myself and start focusing on the gift God gave me. I know this doesn’t just happen to photographers, so I wanted to offer some tips, some of my own and some I’ve researched:

1. Unplug

A local lifestyle blogger, Lily Michaud, recently talked about doing unplugged weekends, and I thought it was a great idea.

While unplugged, I took Ethan outside and just spent more time with him overall.

For her and I and so many others, social media has become our job, and for me, I justify being on my phone all the time because I’m answering student emails, replying to a client, or simply posting and learning.

But we owe it to our mental health and our families to unplug. I’ve started leaving my phone in the car when I’m out with my husband and son. I’ve also pushed my social apps to the third screen on my iPhone so they’re not in my face. I’ve turned off most notifications. Lastly, I deleted YouTube, which for me was just taking up my headspace.

Do what works for you.

2. Don’t ignore it.

Social media and comparison is unavoidable. Eventually, I had to get back on. We can’t just ignore the underlying issue. We have to confront our emotions and our heart.

Ask yourself, what am I feeling? Why am I feeling this?

I love SOZO by authors from Bethel church in Redding. It prompts you with questions to encourage inner healing.

Mainly, I want to say don’t ignore your feelings. Talk with someone. Confess your feelings.

Confess your sins to one another and you will be healed.

James 5:16

There’s something about confessing that helps us heal or start to heal.

Your feelings are sometimes and usually a result of your own heart. Sometimes we try to blame it on others, but they’re a reflection on what’s inside. For me, God has been revealing to me that since childhood I’ve believed this lie that my performance earns me love. I know in this season God is teaching me that His love is unconditional, and what I do has nothing to do with that.

3. Seek connection, not comparison

I got this last one from a blog I read, and I love it because this is something I’ve been trying even though it’s out of my comfort zone.

Rather than sitting in a pool of emotions and comparison, reach out to those people you compare yourself with. They’re usually people you admire or can learn something from.

Recently, I became friends with my nail tech from Haus of Polish. She’s actually am amazing business women who encouraged me to get out there (on social media). From my connection with her, I was exposed to the Babes Supporting Babes group.

I also recently connected with my family photographer Emily Ann Photography, who’s been in business for 10 years!! We recently had a play date with our boys and talked about business and family. This was so beneficial.

Then, I also recently attended Tuesday’s Together with other local businesspeople and connected with a few really good social media friends.

I learned that I’m not alone and we’re all just trying to figure this all out! Lol And what I realized is that I was already doing great things, and I just need to focus on serving God and my clients well.

Published by melrod

I seek to please God above all and use my life to display The grace that He has shown me.

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