Look, we all know it feels great when people comment and tell us they like our photography. It feels good.
I get it.
Truly, I really do.
If I’m being honest, I believe that ALL of us hope that our photos will connect with viewers somewhere.
We crave that feeling we get from knowing someone else GETS what we are doing.
There is NOTHING WRONG with that.
But, we can’t EXPECT it.
Worse, we only create stress for ourselves when we start expecting people to like our work.
Your work WILL NOT connect with everyone
The simple fact is that when you create photographs that speak to YOU, there is a real strong chance that it may not speak to others.
Let me tell you a brief story about myself.
Over the years I have photographed all sorts of different genres and subject matter. I’m too scatter brained to be willing to focus on ONLY one thing.
I like to experiment. I like to learn. I need to constantly push myself.
Most importantly, I need to follow my creative gut instincts and let that voice inside of me say what it is needing to say.
A large portion of my time over the years has been spent making beautiful landscape photos from our amazing forests here in Northern Minnesota.
I still love being in the woods, still love creating photos there. It’s my sanctuary.
But in the last year or two, I’ve had a shift in my photographic voice. I’m finding I’m not satisfied with just another pretty photo of the Autumn forest. I need it to speak to me in some way.
The problem is that so many of the people that have been following my work for the last 10 or 12 years have grown accustomed to seeing the landscapes. They are not experiencing the shift in photographic voice with me.
They are just seeing me post work that is different from what they considered my “normal”.
To be honest… I don’t know if that many of them LIKE my new direction.
I can’t expect them to
Trust me, I get it.
It sucks watching your friends and family all of a sudden stop liking, sharing, or seemingly even caring what you are doing.
Seeing them comment and share the work of other photographers they see online while suddenly it seems like they have blinders on when it comes to your work… it hurts.
Worse, it starts to make you question yourself and your creative voice.
Don’t do it. Don’t give in.
The real problem is that you’ve begun to EXPECT everyone to like your work.
I had failed to realize that just because my art was taking me in a new exciting direction that I was in love with, no one else was on that journey with me.
I still hope that my work will find an audience. But I had to let go of getting annoyed at seeing friends and family, both online and in person, completely ignore that new work I was so excited about.
The truth is that they just might not be the audience anymore.
And that’s ok.
If everyone liked everything that everyone did the world of photography, the world in general, would be a very boring place.
Besides, if you know me, you’ll know I like to be efficient whenever I can with my creative energy. So why WASTE all of that energy focusing, stressing out, on why it seems like people suddenly don’t like my work.
I’d rather use that energy to keep creating new work that has me excited and let that work find it’s new audience.
When you stop expecting everyone to like your work you will feel your stress levels drop, your creative energy boosted, and your mood and mindset will be in a much better space to foster further creativity.
Not everyone is going to like your work. Face it. Own it. Deal with it.
Because that is OKAY.