What happens when 9 girls with cameras descend upon a gorgeous coffee and florist shop in the heart of New Hampshire? Silliness. And also a whole lot of creation, collaboration, and even some soul searching. I blame it all on the lattes...
Last week I invited my makeup artist and fellow photographer friend to join me at Apotheca Flower Shoppe in lovely Goffstown, NH. Half coffee shop, half florist shop, it's 100% Pinterest worthy, with a delightful side of caffeine. Once we posted in our Tuesday's Together Facebook Group, a handful of others wanted to join, and we were super excited to have it expand. Some of the girls were makeup artists, bloggers, or models, but most were photographers. Many were ones who's portfolio's I'd admired from afar, even if I'd not met them yet.
The day of the shoot was super fun, if not a bit chaotic. Apotheca was so gracious to allow us to shoot while they were open for business with their other customers in and out. We tried to photograph each other, grabbing behind the scenes shots of each other working, as well as creating photos for our own portfolios. I learned a few things about myself very quickly: a) I make weird faces when I'm photographing and b) shooting in front of other photographers made me NERVOUS. But it was super great to see how others approached different shots, meet some new people, and get the shots I had been envisioning for a while. Simple and done, right?
NOT SIMPLE AND DONE. (is this called a plot twist?)
Except, the next morning, as I lay in bed, scrolling on my phone, I began to see what the other girls were posting, and I quickly began comparing. "Whoa, I never thought to take that shot from that angle." "Holy moly, she captured the perfect expression." And of course, the classic, "Who's muffin top is that?!" (spoiler alert, mine). Instead of celebrating the gorgeous images that were created by these new friends, I instantly created a story about not being good enough. I spiraled down the rabbit hole that we all do, judging myself so harshly, and giving them all the grace and approval in the world.
You guys - WHAT THE FREAK?! Josh pointed out that the whole point was to create gorgeous shots with other people, and that's what happened, so what was the problem. "How are your photos? Have you even looked?" Ummm... no. I was too busy obsessing over how gorgeous their photos were, that I hadn't even bothered to look at mine. Do you think I'm crazy yet?
Once I did look at my photos, I realized a few things. One, I have beautiful friends, who's energy radiates on camera. Love them and so grateful they were for my idea to shoot here. Secondly, I had some gorgeous shots that I am crazy proud of! Stunning images that are going in the portfolio. And thirdly, I was wasting an opportunity to learn, by pouting and letting my ego go all bananas. I think this is called imposter syndrome.
Then, I reach out to a friend that was there and confided in her about my crazy imposter syndrome, and she confessed she felt similar. And then so did another girl at the shoot. And another. And another. We were all so busy comparing ourselves, that we neglected to celebrate and be inspired. Once we let that all out, and realized we were all in the same boat, it seemed a little silly. Further more, we were able to learn from each other. I learned a new composition technique, and was able to share some of my posing expertise. I truly feel like I'm walking into my next shoot with more knowledge to create better photos. Oh, and I was inspired to edit my photos a bit differently this time, just for creatives sake.
We need to stop doing this to ourselves. We need to celebrate each other, without doubting ourselves. Kelly and Chloe creating gorgeous images, that are different than my images, is amazing and awesome. I'm so grateful for this experience, and so grateful to have realized we are all fighting the comparison monster together.
Oh, and don't compare your unedited raw images to someone else's final photos 😉
If you know someone else who needs to hear this message, please share this with them. Share it on Facebook, email them the link, or even just text it to them. We're all in this together, and have to remember to reach out and help.