Thursday, May 26, 2011

Being Encouraged By Discouragement

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

I haven't checked my photography e-mail account in about a week now so I decided to hop on there really quick and see if I have had any responses to my Craigslist adds for family photography sessions.  I had a lot of junk e-mail, (the usual spam from Craigslist) and one that looked promising like a possible response to my add.  I felt a little flutter of excitement and opened the e-mail only to feel quite crushed after reading it.

In short the e-mail was from someone (albeit another professional photographer better than me), who took a little extra time out of their day (thank you so much...) to critique my photography.  They pointed out the flaws in my work and told me what I should do to get better shots.  Basically, what I read was that what I have put my heart and soul into is not good enough for this particular person.  I stood at my counter looking at the e-mail and unfortunately felt my heart sink with discouragement.  I know my photography is far from perfect.  I know I still have a lot to learn about manual exposures and post processing.  I know that sometimes my lighting is off.  I know that I am not a Photoshop Wizard.  I know that there are a million other photographers out there better than me.  Every day I feel the urge to give up.  I feel the voices of doubt telling me that I am not good enough and that they are so much better....the voices that say that I will never get that good and that I shouldn't post my pictures because they are an embarrassment.  I feel inadequate in so many things but, photography brings me joy regardless of whether or not my pictures are perfect.  It is one of the only hobbies I have ever stuck with in my life and that I have cracked away at despite the enemies constant efforts to rob me of this love and passion. 

I have come so far over the past 3 years since I started aggressively pursuing photography.  I am so proud of how much I have learned and I am fully aware that I will always need to keep growing and learning.  I will never arrive because I always want to keep learning.  I will never be perfect because there is no such thing.  I will never turn my nose up at another aspiring photographer and crush their dreams because dreams are wind beneath our wings.

All this to say that in spite of the fact that the e-mail was discouraging on many levels, I am also encouraged because in some respects the critiques that this person gave me are valid points (though I was already aware of these flaws).  I do need to work on the things mentioned.  I want to prove to this random stranger that I can get better and will! I want to prove to myself that I am not as weak as I once was.  I am not going to let an obstacle like this, in my path hold me back anymore.  The old me would have thrown the towel in a long time ago but, I am not that person anymore. I will fight for this dream!  Dreams don't come easily right.  We have to really chase them down sometimes.  We have to overcome many hurdles, set backs, failures and discouragements.  This is one dream I'm not willing to let go of.  I see my future and I see photography in it all the days of my life.  I see the people I will be able to bless with memories capture through photographs.  I see that even if my name is never written in a fancy book that sits on someones table that I will still love what I do.  I do this for me and to bless others and that is all.  No fame needed, no star, no magazine publications, though all that would be flattering, that is not why I am doing this.  Just being me.  A mom and a wife with a camera and a little dream. 

I shared this today simply to encourage all of you!  Whatever your dream is, great or small, don't let it go.  Don't let the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy, steal your dreams.  Now don't get me wrong, being realistic is something to consider, but nonetheless, GO FOR IT!  You will hear LOTS of voices in your head telling you to give up (not the crazy voices hopefully! haha), obstacles, people who mean well but, say the wrong thing and you may have to TRY TRY TRY to get there.   Don't ever give up.  If you know in your heart that God has promised this to you then don't stop till you get there.  Sometimes there will be forks in the road and we will learn to go a different direction and we need to be okay with that too.  Keep your heart open so that you can receive what God wants you to receive and not just what you think you should receive.

Carpe Diem my friends
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand. Psalm 37:23-24



  1. From one dreamer struggling with the voices in her head to another......thank you. I read this nodding my head at every sentence, as I am right there with you. Our story is different, of course, but just today I was thinking I AM DONE!!! I don't want to keep doing this hobby if I keep experiencing all of this pressure. I just want to take photos and keep get better, because I love it, not because I am trying to BE KNOWN as the GREATEST photographer.

    As I was reading, I began feeling empowered. I have been feeling the nudge to start sewing for some time, but have allowed intimidation to keep me from it, but now that my granny passed I am determined to JUMP IN.

    Thanks friend!

  2. I've only been dabbling in photography for about 7 months now. I desperately needed an outlet, not only for my creativity, but for my overwhelming emotions. I am so encouraged by the constructive feedback of my friends and fellow bloggers like you, but from time to time, someone will devastate me with criticism. I just have to remind myself that I'm doing this first and foremost because it stirs something deep in my soul and brings me sheer joy. Whether others enjoy my photography as I do is of no consequence. Of course, I am like you: I want to continue to grow and learn so that I can share my passion with others and capture memories for them. I always thoroughly enjoy your perspective and your photography. Your love for the Lord, Daisy, and Joey are so evident, and your sweet spirit is contagious! I pray for your continued success and happiness in all that you do!

  3. thanks for the good encouragement :) so hard not to give up though when everything seems to be going wrong and there isn't an end in sight.

    for what it's worth, i think you're a great photographer. don't let other people get you down. we live for an audience of one. do keep blogging cos i wanna keep updated with your life :) xx

  4. Just the right post at just the right time. I've been feeling discouraged about my photography - not a good enough camera, or lenses, not knowing the first thing about Elements, not having a PC to put Elements on! I know now that I must ignore the voices of doubt that say I'll never be as good as the others with their gorgeous light and composition and balance, and pursue this for myself.
    It's hard to stay in that place some days. It'd be much, much easier to give-up, and let it go. But you remind me that I can keep going.
    Thank you, Casey!!

  5. you are so right! thank you for this encouraging post. I so badly want to get into photography as one of my hobbies, but Im so scared because I knwo im not the best and there are plenty of people out there way better than me. you post made me realize that as long as i keep working at it, and as long as i know im trying my best, then i will be living my dream!

    [sweet life of a southern wife]

  6. Oh wow... I think you do such a great job! I'm always thinking I'm not good enough and you are one that I believe to be waaaaay better than me!!! :)

    You are doing great! Keep up the good work. I love seeing your pics!

  7. I'm so sorry that someone out there had the nerve to send you an email like that. I'm sure that if we were to take a look at her (or his) photography with a critical eye, someone could find a million tiny things wrong with their work too. Hats off to you for choosing NOT to allow this person to drag you down. Any kind of creative passion or hobby takes a lot of time and a lot of effort and continual growth. Keep at it, mama because I think you're fantastic!

  8. I think that you take absolutely amazing pictures!! And I'm not just saying that because I have to. You are SUPER talented and also have such a beautiful heart...and that makes you an even better photographer!!

  9. my dear casey... (big hug inserted). REEEE diculous! Crazy people out there! LEave it up to you, a wonderful and AMAZING photographer to take that with grace and to motivate you you and LOVE your photos!

  10. I remember when I was in the forum world that some people get off on criticizing others as they're learning. I don't think it's fair to go that route. The only way anyone gets better is through practice and I have to commend you for putting yourself out there. Keep it up girl - I believe in you!

  11. Oh that's very my opinion...because noone can say he/she is perfect and critizise someone else. I think this woman was just a bored in her boring life and thought it would be a wonderful idea to ruine your day. I love your pictures and i think you're doing a great job. I can turn my camera on and off..that's my talent..not much but ok for me. I don't want to be perfect i just want to capture perfect moments...and if the pic is blurry it's blurry..who cares?????

  12. Okay- first- I have to say that I have been there. I can only think that one who would have so much negativity inside them that they had to take the time to go out of their way to make another feel bad is sad & pathetic in my view. They are probably a bit threatened by your ability & wanted to crush your spirit because you are the competition.

    That being said- I love your work. It inspires me to pick up my camera & keep trying. I am in the infancy stages of learning & you have taught me so much & I am so grateful for that. No one can ever know it all & no photographer is ever perfect. We all capture what is in our vision. I had a gal take the time to tell me that she thought I needed to work on my focus & the noise in my shots. Well- many times that is true & mostly because of my equipment. I'm still learning. But in this particular instance- I added it into the photo after for a certain feel. But she wanted to be sure to tell me that I wasn't so great & discourage me. Interestingly enough- when I went to her blog- she had the same issues with her photos & I didn't like her "style" either. I didn't say anything. I was brought up to think whatever you like- but you just don't say certain things to people. You respect their feelings.

    Bottom line- we all have a different style. Each photograph will be different just like the person taking the photograph. What one person loves- someone else would have done different. There is no changing that. We capture what we want & how we want it & that is what is so freeing about the whole thing.

    You keep going- You have a GIFT!

  13. If the enemy can get you to abort your God dream before it's birthed he knows he won't have to deal with fruit it produces -DON'T GIVE UP -Christine Caine

    Just a quote I saw a couple weeks ago and after reading your post I thought I'd share. I think your are very talented with your glad you are not going to give up.

  14. oh casey you are so amazing! keep it up girl, i think you're pictures are great, and i would love to be able to take pictures as good as yours! now we really need to see if we can meet up sometime, i would love to see you!


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