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!