It’s not about the fucking likes

There’s a recurring theme I see with many photographers, time and time again. It’s this obsession with how many ‘likes’ they have. How many people liked their photo they posted ten minutes ago. How many people follow them on whatever social media platform they use. How many comments? How much interaction? Well, I’m here to tell you something you may not like… it’s not all about the fucking likes, guys!

Don’t get me wrong, I was one of them once.

I became obsessed with the number of people I had following my page. I hated it when I posted an image and it would only get one or two likes or no comments. I started looking at other photographers and wondering why they had so much more than me. And then I realised… it really doesn’t matter!

Just because someone likes one of my photographs, it doesn’t make it a better photograph. Just because they commented saying how amazing the shot was, it doesn’t mean that person is ever going to be my client in the future.

The only thing that this obsession does give you is…

A sense of approval.

But think about it, who is “approving” you? It’s not generally clients or potential clients is it? It’s most likely friends and family and fellow photographers. Are any of those people your clients? No. Are they ever likely to be your clients? Probably not.

It drives me absolutely crazy that people are in the business for this, just for the rush of a few likes. But, in truth, people may ‘like’ your shot, but they probably won’t remember it a week from now. If they saw it again, they might not necessarily know who the photographer is. So really, is it worth anything at all?

Last year I realised enough was enough.

I was tired of the endless chase for this elusive approval. All it succeeded in doing was making me feel pretty rotten about myself. I came to realise that if I wanted to keep going with my business, I would need to forget about all that shit and just do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it.

So I stopped following all the hundreds of photographers I had in my feeds (I still ‘like’ their pages but I don’t have to pressurise myself looking at all their beautiful work and feeling worthless anymore – I have stopped comparing myself…). I stopped getting hung up on the number of likes one of my images might get. Now I post something because I want to post it. Sure, it’s always lovely if someone comments or hits the like button but it isn’t the be-all and end-all anymore.

I’ve basically taken the pressure off myself.

And it is so liberating you guys! I’ve stopped second-guessing myself, I’ve stopped wondering what anyone thinks. Now I am just me and that’s that.

And you know what? Since I stopped all the madness… I haven’t died, my business hasn’t broken down entirely. If anything, it has been more successful this year than ever before. Yeah, I think it’s pretty ironic too…

But seriously, I had to say something.

Because it upsets me to see other amazing photographers getting totally hung up on trivial things. There are so many more things out to be enjoying instead of getting obsessed with one silly little part of your business. Just keep creating. Keep doing. Keep being you and guess what? The followers will come.