ASK THE PHOTOGRAPHER - WHEN CAN YOU COPY?
Dear Sarah, I recently started a blog for my pet grooming business. A really good friend of mine that lives in a different state has done a really good job with her grooming blog and so I decided to model mine after hers. I figure it couldn't hurt her, she is in a different state. Even though I'm blogging almost identical to her I don't get nearly as many comments or followers. I don't understand. She is so successful, what am I doing wrong?
- Crappy Copy Cat
Hello CCC, I want to start by applauding you for thinking of your friend's feelings first. If she were in the same city as you, copying her might really tick her off. So big CLAP for you! I can tell you a lot of people that see others become successful don't often stop to think about how mimicking them can actually hinder the friendship, they just crave the level their friend has achieved.
That being said, I can tell you a few reasons your copy cat ways are actually holding you back, not pushing you forward. Let's all be honest for a second, nothing is original. We all borrow from each other on a very basic level. It is the way that you borrow that can make you sink or swim.
Before a photo shoot with a theme I've never done before I often pull up pictures that other photographers have taken with the same feel. I study them, get some ideas.... but that is where I stop. I never take what someone else has done and 100% try to recreate it. NEVER.
Because that takes Sarah Venema out of Sarah Venema Photography. It is great to let other people inspire you, but if you don't let those ideas bloom into something greater in your own head, spin it into your own creative endeavors, then you become simply a Fake, a forger.... and people can tell the difference. Whether they know they can tell the difference, or not, they can.
What we love about art truly is the passion that existed behind the scenes to create it. We love the artist more often than we love the subject. It is one of the great reasons I wanted to be the photographer and not the model... I wanted to create the magic.
I would suggest, CCC, that you look at her blog carefully. If you really view it with a critical eye you will be able to see elements that are fully your friend. It is those elements that probably really work well for her because she is being open, vulnerable, and honest.
It is great to still see things she does as ways to help your own business, but now take those ideas and put your own spin on them. How can you change them to be more YOU?
It might be slow at first, but putting you back in your business will only grow your support.
Hope that helps!