Courage to Grow: dare to compare

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are” –e.e. Cummings

Each week we share a piece of us on our photographic journey. We have titled this series, “Courage to Grow”. We hope that our own soul searching will inspire similar introspection in our readers and that together we can make our best art and live our best lives.

There is a quote by Theodore Roosevelt that is often offered as inspiration for photographers, and artists. It says; “Comparison is the thief of joy”.  I agree that we should not compare, that we will feel only sadness if we compare  with the  lady down the road who sells 200 images for $200 or with the  photographer who needs a trolley for all of their fancy equipment. Yes, there is no joy in that.

Your journey as an artist, all the highs and lows, is different to mine.

When we compare our work to others, we compare apples with oranges. I know this has been said before, but it needs repeating. You are your biggest competition. Your voice is unique and you create images that only you can create. They are your story, created from  events in your life that have lead you to this point. Your journey as an artist, all the highs and lows, is different to mine.

If I see it myself, I will never forget it. It is a lesson learnt forever.

I remind myself of this all of the time. Anytime, I compare myself to another photographer. I don’t want to beat them in their race. I want to run my own race. I want to learn all I need to learn when I am ready to learn it. Very rarely, do I offer my images up for critique. It is not that I don’t value the opinion of other photographer, but I want to see the errors that I am making myself. I want to see it for myself, and rejoice in my errors. If someone points it out, I will see it. If I see it myself, I will never forget it. It is a lesson learnt forever.

This is the only comparison we should invest with our time and energy.

This month on the 30 minutes in the life page, we celebrated 2 years of blogging our life every month. Two years of documenting our life in small amounts of time. We decided to look back at our creations from 2 years ago and compare them to what we are creating now. This is the only comparison we should invest with our time and energy. Our growth as an artist can be documented when we look back. Like an athlete who charts their run times, we can see our growth.  It is the inspiration we may need to keep moving forward.

Whenever those days of self-doubt happen, take out the collage

and remind yourself  of your beautiful journey

We invited the photographers on our page to share their {Now and Then} images. I approached five of the submissions to share their work in this post. I asked them to write about their growth and what they feel made the difference in their style and voice. Of course, this is their story. But the words and the images may resonate with you.  I dare you to compare, to look back and see the difference in your style and voice. Whenever those days of self-doubt happen, take out the collage and remind yourself  of your beautiful journey

Cindy of Cindy Cavanagh Photographer

One of my personal goals has been to step back. I love to fill my frame, and I love the connection you see in a close-up shot. But there is a story, a different point of view, when we step back. After looking at my portfolio, I knew I needed to add this image to my must have shots in a session. So imagine my joy when I went back to look at my first blog for 30 minutes in the life. It was filled with close-up shots. However, a session taken during July of this year was filled with a variety of images. It was balanced, and the story was stronger.  By making personal goals, we can move forward. We can grow. 



Anita of My Three Son Images:

I love the title of this post. It really does take courage to grow. When I finally gave myself permission to be different artistically and not worry about what every one else would think, I grew as a photographer and artist. Freelensing gave me that voice and helped my vision become a reality.



Angie of Angie Marie Photographer

Looking back on my work two years ago when I first started shooting still life, I see how much I have opened up and grown – first as a photographer and second as an artist. As a photographer first starting out, I wasn’t at all too familiar with a camera, how to use it creatively, or how to make it my own and a part of my life. The transitioning of shooting in auto with jpeg format, to shooting in manual with raw format was my biggest step forward. During my learning process, I noticed a different side to myself that was only revealed when the camera was in my hands; an unveiling of my artistic creative soul in a whole new way. I have transformed into an artist with the ability to capture my inward world and transform it to the outer world for all to see the deeper parts of me. From then till now, my artistic perspectives and creative connections have shifted with such an impact that’s made a huge difference in both my style and voice. I love being a photographer, but I love being an artist most.




Holly of Holly Nicole Photography

Finding my style and voice didn’t happen over night. It was a long journey, and to be honest, I still feel like I’m evolving and polishing my style to this day. I noticed the biggest leap in my growth when I started my first 365 project. Committing to picking up my camera every day helped me not only learn my gear inside and out, but also helped me look at the world with new eyes. It forces you to see the beauty and potential all around you.



Charlotte  of Three Flowers Photography

“It’s certainly a cliche, but I honestly do feel that photography is a journey and it evolves in a natural progression alongside your life.  My daughters have always been my muses but the style in which I’ve captured them has changed over time from wanting each image to look more like a portrait, with a beautiful location and the perfect light, to wanting to create beauty from our everyday life. I find this more challenging, looking for interesting light and angles to create an interesting image.  Somewhere along the way my editing style has changed, quite dramatically, to better fit these ‘lifestyle’ images, and I now create what I think, are photographs with more depth, detail and emotion.”



Elise of Elise Meader Photography

One year of shooting. One year of soul searching. I found my voice mostly through shooting every single day. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and tested my limits. I wasn’t afraid of failing, I just wanted to get better. Through my project 365 I was able to track where I started and how far I had come. Within that time I evolved, found a groove, and found my voice. Ultimately I think my growth is attributed to persistency and pushing boundaries. If you keep pushing everything else falls into place and your style will take on a voice of its own!




CindyBioPicCindy Cavanagh lives in Sydney. She is a  Lifestyle photographer of real moments who chases light and bursts of colour.  She is a storyteller, an artist and a photographer.   Cindy is an adventurous person who takes her camera with her everywhere. She enjoys baking, a good coffee, and escaping with a good historical fiction novel.

Website | Facebook

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: