How to say goodbye to copycat negativity

Hey you,

This week I have been deep into the book “Turning Pro” by Steven Pressfield. I have lost myself in thoughts of what it really means to “go pro” and leave the “amateur” within behind – not only in my business but my personal life as well! I’m so into the concept of the book that I even purchased the audio version so that I could listen while I read! Am I crazy or what? haha. (Next I’ll be sleeping with it on repeat in hopes that I’ll acquire all the habits of a professional through osmosis πŸ˜‰

For today’s Chatty Tuesday question I decided to cover a scenario that I think we have ALL struggled with –

Do you have a “friend” in your industry who you shareΒ everything with, but you soon come to the realisation that you are theΒ only one giving, and that they are “borrowing” all of your ideas, changing them slightly, and calling them their own? It can be frustrating, right?

If so, this post is dedicated toΒ you.

This video contains my secret solution to copycats, and I think you’re going to love it!

“Her copycat ways do not take anything away from you or limit you in any way, shape or form.” @alexbeadon

If youΒ appreciateΒ this video please do the following:

  1. Leave a comment below letting me know YOUR experiences with copycats!
  2. Tweet about it!Β 
  3. Click the β€œlike” button below!Β 
  4. Pin the photo above!Β 
  5. Tell ALL your friends about it!Β 

Big love to you,

P.S. For those of you who are anywhere near Superstorm Sandy, please stay safe!

35 thoughts on “How to say goodbye to copycat negativity”

  1. you hit this one home Alex! BAM! <– this came to mind from your Marie video lol

    I read that email from the daily love and LOVED it, such a healthier way of thinking. You are also right to say "you didn't event the wheel". A lot of times we think people copied us when really there are 5-10 other people doing things similar which they could have pulled that inspiration from!

    Who cares what others are doing, focus on yourself and your business first…that's how you get ahead!

    Keep em' coming XO

    1. Hey Anna!

      Thanks so much for your comment πŸ™‚ I think it’s so easy for all of us to get distracted by the “competition” so my advice has always been to change your mindset about it, know that the world is infinitely abundant and if you can’t – get that person out of your line of sight! πŸ™‚ Glad you are in agreement with me, girl!

      And another great point you mentioned – when I did my autumn shoot with the dress of leaves I thought I was so original until one day I found another girl did something similar. My initial reaction was – OMG SHE COPIED ME! But then I looked at the date and her shoot was done BEFORE mine! haha. I soon realized that it was stupid of me in the first place to even claim a dress made of leaves as “mine” haha. πŸ™‚

      BIG HUGS!

  2. This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear. Thank you so much for sharing how you deal with the insecurities, your success, everything!

    I had a similar instance where I felt like I was being “copied” and it is one of the most challenging things to work through in your own mind because you are trying to deal with feeling like a whiny brat and feeling invaded at the same time. “You didn’t invent the wheel” is something I just wrote down and will refer to mentally when I feel that “copy cat” monster creeping up again.

    Thanks, Alex!

    1. Hey Courtney!

      I’m so glad this resonated with you! I was so scared that the “You didn’t invent the wheel” would be a bit too harsh, but it’s so true isn’t it? Tough love, baby! We always feel the right to say “mine! mine! mine!” when really it was never ours in the first place and we have better things to focus on! haha. A little change in mindset is all we need to pick ourselves out of the “copy cat monster” mode as you called it.

      Thanks so much for your comment, I so appreciate the feedback!
      Big hugs

  3. Alex,
    This was amazing. I really like your viewpoint and I believe it to be very true. I have been photographing for years, but only months ago did I begin shooting weddings. Throughout this process, I have had “so called” friends/family members say/do very unsupportive things. They would critique my work in a way that wasn’t exactly helpful, “you use way too much photoshop” and “wedding photography needs to be more clean, crisp, and traditional.”

    At first, I listened. I was so insecure that I started to change my style, trying to convince myself that I loved this new work I was producing. However, my lies to myself proved unsuccessful. I didn’t LOVE my new work. In fact, I love the exact opposite of what I was producing.

    I love images that often do require a good use of photoshop to give them a painting/vintage/surreal quality. While these may not be the traditional wedding photographs that many photographers produce, I don’t think I should have to sacrifice my style to be appreciated. Because although many people may not like it, there are billions of people in the world…and a niche of beings is bound to be drawn to it in the way I am. And often time, one is more successful targeting a small niche than targeting everyone. No one is particularly drawn to a Jack of all trades because the Jack of all trades isn’t particularly great at any one thing.

    Anyways, I ended deleting this person from FB, which is awkward being that it was a family member. But you know what, my life has been way better ever since! I have been able to focus more on ME and my the future of my business, without all this negative noise.

    Although someone has yet to copy me…I have to say that I think it is a huge compliment. My style has been inspired by several photographers out there- W. Scott Chester, Rosie Hardy, Brooke Shaden, and many many many more. Before them, I was producing something completely different. I didn’t know this type of photography (the kind that leaves me in awe) even existed because I hadn’t done the research. Since I didn’t know, I thought I loved images that I NOW find to be bland. I guess this goes to show how much other people can influence your style.

    So…in conclusion to my seriously long post: I would not be offende if anyone copied my work because although my work isn’t really a product of my idea; It is a product of several ideas inspired by countless photographers out there.

    Hope to hear from you Alex. I really love your videos and you really inspire me. I think you are about my age (early 20s?)…which I find to be SUPER inspiring. I keep thinking “if she can do it and she is my age…so can I!” …haha.

    <3 Elyana

    1. Hi Elyana! (I love your name)

      Thank you so much for your amazing comment! I love it so much because you are SO RIGHT about everything you said!

      Not only is it important to stay true to your artistic style, but this is what makes you UNIQUE and helps you to stand out in the crowded marketplace! Good for you that you realise that and have decided to create the kinds of photos that YOU love to create, and not necessarily what everyone else wants you to create!

      I, too, have been in a similar situation with family members who think my work is “too this” or “too that”. The truth is – you will NEVER be able to please everyone, so the number one person you should make sure is happy with your work is YOU. Your opinion of it is just as valid and important as anyone else’s! So happy that you know that πŸ™‚

      Keep creating from your heart, girl!
      Big hugs!
      P.S. Yay for the power of early 20s! πŸ™‚

  4. Thank you!! I have been going through this myself. After about a year of letting it bother me, I did what you said and I deleted her from my Facebook so I didnt have to see her work pop up in my newsfeed. (She then in turn blocked me completely).

    I like how you said ” You didnt invent the wheel.” That is exactly what I have been telling myself when I start to feel bummed out about the situation, especially when she would repin 90% of my inspiration photos on Pinterest. I know we both have similar styles but lately it seemed to go a little father than that, even copying my editing style once I said I wanted to changes things up. But I have learned to leave the negativity behind and I feel really relieved!

    β€œHer copycat ways do not take anything away from you or limit you in any way, shape or form.” My favorite quote from the video! πŸ™‚

    Thank you so much for all your inspiration!


    1. Hi Cindy!

      Thanks so much for your comment πŸ™‚

      It is soooo difficult when someone is definitely copying you, following your every move and then making similar ones. That’s why I sympathise so much with the girl in the video. Because even if she didn’t invent the wheel, it doesn’t feel good when you’re working super hard to learn and do what you do, and someone is just stealing your every move. However we have to realise that wasting time worrying about it is doing us no good, we HAVE to learn to look the other way, be the bigger person and (as you sooo rightly said) leave the negativity behind! πŸ™‚

      You rock!
      Big hugs

  5. So true… there are lots of other work that inspires me and I take away a method here and there, maybe some colour inspiration, or follow instructions on how to make something. Unless you really ARE the first person to invent something profitable, then it’s kind of silly to refuse to share your secrets, because they’re not even secrets!

    I guess the truth is, a person who copies will always be a step behind and his/her stuff is always going to be old news.

    1. Melissa – you are 100% right!

      “I guess the truth is, a person who copies will always be a step behind and his/her stuff is always going to be old news.”

      LOVE that you said that, the person that copies will never live up to her true potential and truly be herself – which is what brings us all to true happiness and success. Love it!

      Thanks for the inspiration!
      xoxo <3

  6. I always say I am not the original artist…I am the copy artist. LOL Sometimes I try to copy other artists, not to copy their style, but to learn from their technique, wheter it be lighting or posing, props to bring to a shoot..photoshop is full of copying technique, especially HDR,

    1. Hey Marie πŸ™‚

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      I think you are most certainly right that sometimes trying to stretch your creativity by borrowing ideas and techniques really does help us learn, but it’s always important to give credit where credit is due and to add our own spin on things! πŸ™‚

      Rock on

  7. So I have this girl that is ‘stalking’ me on the internet. I see her subscribed to me everywhere, visiting my gallery, tracing (I mean literally tracing lines of my illustrations), copying ideas etc.
    One day I visited her blog and she writes that she just had received A+ on her illustration course… And I laughed so loud!! Yeah, it’s my A+ and I’m proud of being so good that people want to copy what I do.

    I prefer to laugh (because it is funny!!) than being angry and thinking over and over that she’s stealing πŸ™‚ she’ll never be me and I’ll never be her

    1. Hi Anna!

      Thanks so much for your comment πŸ™‚ I love that you “prefer to laugh than be angry”! Great outlook πŸ™‚ The first time someone stole from me I was FURIOUS. But then I realised that there was absolutely NOTHING I could do but move on with my life and focus on the positive things that matter in my business instead of the negative! πŸ™‚ Seems to me that you’ve got that down! πŸ™‚

      Big hugs!

  8. Great Post!
    Similar experience happened to me…a fellow photographer and friend of mine sat down for coffee with me and asked me all the specific details of how I set up a photography event I was holding – of course I shared everything. Two days later he had a promo posted on his facebook advertising the same thing I had just finished doing a week ago. I was disappointed. I haven’t really spoken to him since.

    Your statement of us ‘not inventing the wheel’ is what got me through the situation…I still feel used πŸ™

    Love listening and reading your blog! Keep it up!

    1. Hey Stephanie!

      It TOTALLY sucks, I know the feeling all too well. I’m the kind of person who LOVES credit for the things I do, the ideas I come up with etc.. but sometimes I need to remind myself to get off my high horse and that the world does not revolve around me even though sometimes I think it does πŸ˜‰ The ego is such an interesting thing, and sometimes our worst downfall for this precise reason, so I try not to take myself too seriously.

      Try not to feel used, just feel good and relish in the fact that you inspired an event πŸ™‚ YOU are an inspiration.

      Big hugs

  9. Thank you thank you thank you Alex for this video!

    While I don’t think I’ve really had any major issue with a copycat, your advice was still exactly what I needed to hear. My problem in the recent past is that I was guilty of continually bumming myself out by “keeping tabs” on the “competition”. I kept checking the blog posts of another photographer in my local area and comparing myself to her. I wondered why she seemed so much more successful and it was driving me crazy! Eventually I made myself stop when I realized that her business had nothing to do with mine. Our styles were completely different, so I should never have compared them!
    Your words of advice were so perfect for driving the point home again for me! I needed to change my mindset and accept that there are clients out there looking for exactly me and my style and others who will seek hers. I should stop feeding the beast of jealousy by removing her from my awareness! Stop wasting time and focus on the positive and on bettering myself! Words to live by!
    Thank you so much Alex for not pulling punches on this one. Sometimes we need to be shaken awake!

    XOXO Jenna

  10. Alex, I can’t tell you how much I needed this!
    A couple of close friends just recently decided to start a photography business after originally asking to work with me. When I proposed they sign a contract to prevent conflict of interest, they flipped out and our relationship changed. After that I could feel it brewing and sure enough, within a week of my move (I guess thinking I wouldn’t notice all the FB posts) they were launching a website and undercutting my prices.
    I felt like everything I taught them or shared about my business was used against me and I will admit it hurt.

    To hear you talk about how now one can be “me”, was exactly what I needed. I’ve created my own style over time and no matter how much I want to be unique, I will always have imitators or my style will reflect the work of other artists. This was a shot to my ego from both sides and frankly, just what I needed to get back on track and focusing on what I love.

    Thank you so much!

  11. It has been interesting stumbling across your work and videos Alex…You have a humility that shines through your videos and you seem very logical about the way you ascertain situations.
    I think the you hit the nail on the head when you stated that we as photographers are not reinventing the wheel. Everything to some degree or another has already been done. Recently you asked whether ‘photoshopping’ is cheating and I have always felt that those purists who believe it is omit the fact that in traditional photography the dark room still allowed the artist to dictate the feeling of a photograph, which is effectively what PS allows photographers to achieve in the digital age. My point is that you are totally correct that things have been done before and in one way or another, a person is either looking up to another artist or merely attempting to learn or find their own style along the way.
    A few years ago I was accused of copying someone’s style on flickr. The problem was, I had been accused of copying someone who used strobes. This was during a ‘365’ year where I was trying so many different techniques that their accusation seemed completely superfluous. I had followed a certain individuals tutorials and in the process of the ‘365 project’ achieved a few studio lighting shots which were similar in lighting to said individual. Along the following years I have developed all my techniques but had I never followed someone’s recommendations on how to use strobes, I would not be the photographer I am today…
    Sometimes we simply stumble across stuff that we like. Recently I finished a blog post of an engagement session I had done. Coincidentally that night was when I stumbled across your blog. I used similar bubbles on the image which states the couple’s name to what you use. I didn’t see it as copying, I really liked these cute bubbles and don’t think i’ll necessarily use them again but wanted to give it a go. Copying, perhaps..? But I like to think I was just inspired to try something different, plus I credited you πŸ™‚
    Anyway, just my two cents worth which has become a very long comment.

  12. Do you think you’d ever be able to post transcriptions of your videos for the deaf and hard of hearing? Youtube does an alright job of closed captioning their videos but I feel sometimes it may miss a few things.

  13. This was great! I think it’s really important to just focus on your own work and better your business. People will continue to use ideas or even the same details as you, but they will never be you.

  14. I agree that if you get your work copied, it is a compliment. I used to copy people’s work when I was just starting out because I genuinely didn’t know what else to do. I was insecure in my own abilities and just needed something to work with. I didn’t publish it as my own though, I guess that’s the kicker for most people, when they don’t get credit – but it was a great learning curve for me. A challenge to see if I can do it too. To be honest, I actually became so frustrated trying to do things someone else’s way, that I just said “screw it” and did it my own way and in my opinion, my best work came from my own ideas. I truly believe that there’s no use in being angry at copycats. They still need to discover who they are as a person, and being kind to them is the best thing you can ever do to help them come into their own. I think if someone is copying you, and they are still trying to put their own spin on it, it’s a cry for help, because they are trying to figure out who they are and testing things out. They will realize it’s not working for them sooner or later. No one person will do anything exactly the same as another if they are being true to themselves.

  15. Hey Alex,

    Great points in your video. You are so right that it is so much about your mindset and how you view the world. We can either turn our experiences into positives or let them eat away at us leaving us with negative thoughts and damaging our business because we are spending too much time focusing on the copycats rather than exploring our own creativity and servicing our own clients.

    A positive perspective in life is so important and Alex you are always there to help us along the way by bringing the positive out of any situation.


  16. I love this!! I’ve had times where I felt copied and times where I unintentionally copied.

    I think as artists at one point or another we’ve all been on Google for inspiration. However I’ve had incidences where I’ve had a couple of people copy my website or a special I’ve done word for word! At first I got mad, because I had that mindset of “Oh they’re going to ruin my business because they’re copying me” But You’re so right when you say, You are you, no one else can be you! There was one girl who just wouldn’t let up, so I personally messaged her and then deleted and blocked her.

    It’s important that we keep a positive mindset because what you think about is what you bring about! If you constantly think oh this person is copying me, this is going to effect my business then that is exactly what you’re going to get. Only you would have done it to yourself because only you can let yourself be defeated!

    – Tina

  17. You are amazing and thank you for actually thinking this way, because otherwise you wouldn’t be helping us out so much by sharing all your wisdom! This is great advice that came at the right moment for me because this girl i have to hang out with at college is driving me mad, she’s always taking what i say and the things i come up with and make them sound as if it was hers, and people actually think she is the one that comes up with it, stealing all my credit, she is always competing with me trying to make herself bigger by making me look small, and it is very annoying, she likes to diminish people a lot, but now i know what mindset to adopt, so thanks again. About copying people you admire, i think that as long as you add some (a lot) of your own to it, its ok!
    Keep being awesome it helps a lot.

  18. I want to respond for the people that are being declared, “Copycats”, by this post and the people that black ball future photographers. Its very poisonous. I’ve seen photographers lose their creativity and purpose to work because other photographers that had said, “my style was copied by him/her. Why can’t they just stop it”. If your a photographer and you have friends that are photographers then expect to see some of your work to be showing on their work because of this.

    Blocking them on multiple websites isn’t going to make them go away but telling all your photography buddies that they are not to be trusted and don’t talk to them is taking it to the extreme.

    I’m mostly here wanting to defend those that are called “copycats” and are hurt by those people that are framed to be “not original”.

    Your video is great to mend those that feel that they are dealing with copycats but it somewhat gives those that are still trying to find their own style of photography a loss of chance. It also makes them to be afraid of making photography friends so that they just be called a copycat and lose all chance of making it somewhere in the field.

  19. Great video, thank you! And I can’t believe nobody has asked you this yet: Where the heck did you get that FABULOUS NECKLACE! Love it!

  20. Maybe so. I just remember in the 5th grade when I told my best friend what I wanted to be for Halloween. She liked the idea and wanted to be it too. I agreed that it might be fun to be twins. When it came to the Halloween contest, guess who was one of the winners? That’s right – she was. I thought, “How could that be? We had identical costumes.” The answer was simple – the judge saw her first.

    Now we all are copying from each other but if you have someone who’s doing almost exactly what you do in the same markets and does her marketing better than you do – you’re going to lose business. When customers do finally come across your work (if they do), people may suspect that you are copying from her.

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