Are you ever afraid to interact or even correspond with the competition out of fear that they would somehow steal your ideas or clients? Do you get super offended when someone critics your work, especially when you didn't ask for it?
We all go through highs and lows and mixed feelings when it comes to competition and criticism.
This is how I handle it.
As a photographer, I literally have hundreds of photographers in my tiny little area. It's a pretty saturated profession. The mindset tends to be 'they are the enemy. Don't fraternize with the enemy!'. But I always had a hard time with that. I've never met a lot of those people and I have nothing against them.
It is my job to stand out in this saturated market and if someone else is doing better then me then that is awesome because that scares me into trying to be even better!
Instead of being upset with the competition, befriend them. You can actually learn a lot from each other and help each other out.
I've found this to be much more beneficial then hating the on them.
Criticism can be tough, especially when you didn't ask for it. Absolutely everyone has an opinion and most are not afraid to share it.
Here's the deal. You will never, I repeat, NEVER make everyone happy! Photography is an art and art stares up a lot of controversy and criticism.
Everyone knows what they like and don't like. And as awesome as you think your work is, not everyone will like it.
The important thing is, do you like it? Do what you like and don't care what anyone else thinks about it. Don't be rude about it, I usually just completely ignore the darn right nasty comments.
Criticism can be very helpful if you can get past thinking that everyone is just hating on your work. I take what I find helpful and ignore the rest.
If the criticism is online I try to find some of that person's own work. If the person's work is really good, then I will really consider and think about what the person said. If their work is crap or I can't even find anything of theirs than I don't even think about it and I move on.
It's hard to let something go when someone says something completely rotten about your work and just let it go. Believe me, I've had my fair share of nasty comments and criticisms! But it is a learning process like anything else and you will become stronger for it. Don't let the competition and criticism crush you. Be in control.
I have a saying that I apply to most everything I do. "Be bold, be confident, be dominant"!
Have a great day!