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Criticism can be a huge blessing

The title of this article probably sounds cliche, but let me tell you a story.

Criticism can hurt, especially when it comes to art. Art is tricky because it is our way of sharing ourselves with others.

My experience with this was when I first started editing photos. I really enjoyed Lightroom and started offering to edit for other photographers. While I felt confident, I had 3 prospective photo editing clients turn me down without giving me any feedback as to why. Two of them said they were shopping around and I never heard back from them, and then the other one simply said “no thanks” after seeing some samples. 

I had great feedback from other people, but for some reason this had me questioning my talent. We always do that to ourselves, don’t we? I don’t typically feel defeated, but I LOVE editing so it mattered to me. Thinking back now, it was silly because photography is such a subjective art. I’ve learned that photo editing opportunities require consultations with new clients, not just a simple sample based on my guess at what they like!

So I was in a funk for a day, feeling like I had overestimated my abilities in Lightroom. Then I remembered that I had seen another photographer on Facebook talking about how they were going through some self doubt a couple days ago. The person who replied to them said that they should really check out Sue Bryce. I had seen an ad for Sue Bryce Education online and I thought, “Sure!”

Well I binge watched her videos, joined her Facebook group, and read her blog. While I’m not primarily a portrait photographer, I learned SO MUCH about simple light setups, how to know your value, how to offer a better client experience, and even how to make a tulle skirt! I will admit we do completely differ in editing theories, but the things I learned from her website were amazing. While this sounds like an ad for Sue, I’m actually just trying to point out something more valuable.

I wouldn’t have tried to improve myself if it hadn’t been for the rejection from those people. I wouldn’t have discovered how much I LOVE continuing education and fine art photography. 

So don’t let criticism make you quit, let it inspire you to make you better. It’s way more fun anyway!

6 comments on “Criticism can be a huge blessing

  1. Your post has come at a helpful time as I’ve been thinking about a few parts of my life that aren’t going as well as I hoped. Rather than give up, I think I need to work harder, learn more, be more open-minded. You’re right, we need rejection, we need the lows in our life to push us further along 💚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay I know it isn’t photography related, but I definitely needed to read this. I’m defending my master’s thesis on Wednesday and I struggle with criticism, but this is such a wonderful way to look at it! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember the thesis days, it was rough! Criticism is definitely part of it, but you’ll grow so much from that experience! So glad this was helpful!


  3. Something a lot of us creatives can certainly relate to. Sadly, many take it personally and then get defiant and dig their heels in rather than do what you mention here, step back and look at it as a learning opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

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