Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bad Fruit Nobody Buys

I recently read this post and I seriously felt like this is exactly what she would tell me if we were chatting over coffee about how I feel about photography.

I try to not express too much of how I feel about photography, since I don't want my clients to get a misunderstanding of me and my business, but in this case, this is me.  Real thoughts from me.

Sometimes I will look at a photographer's work and just feel like I should just give up.  

Right after I read this post, I was on facebook and on my newsfeed, clicked on one of the photogs I follow and read their comment list.  Should never have done that.  He was dropping all the amazing high end lenses he had recently purchased as well as another camera upgrade.  Good for him.  He worked hard.  But for me all I could do was sit and compare. 

I don't own a single pro level lens.  Not one.  And up until now, we were fully surviving off of a Nikon D5000 and a Nikon D40- which are great cameras that now many people can access removing their need for me.  We worked hard to constantly learn and develop our love for photography.  And a lot of times I would be able to just shrug my shoulders and say "well then we must be good if we can use these lower models and still produce."  

But sometimes, just sometimes, I honestly feel like I'm that bad fruit nobody will buy, and just as Missy Higgins sings "I'm a little bit tired of fearing that I'll be the bad fruit nobody buys, tell me did you think we'd all be the same."   Lyrics that I just burst into singing, especially if I'm in the shower.

I know we're good.  Always wanting to learn.  Always accepting that there is room for improvement.  But sometimes I just feel like we'll never get there.  Not to a place of stardom, but to a place were our business could get us into a career we fully enjoy and thrive in.

So what am I learning from this:

1. Stop browsing through photogs who I mostly feel defeated by instead of inspired by.

2. Seek the face of Jesus and not the acceptance of man.  I need to remember that my investment needs to continue to be in Eternity and not in Stark Love Photography.

3. Just press on.

I didn't ramble on for comments of praise.  In fact, I was tempted to turn off comments for this post just so I wouldn't be begging for a "ah Jhen, pick your chin up, you're an amazing photographer."  Although I do love those comments, I decided to keep the comments open because I'm sure there are many of you who might feel the same and want someone to process these thoughts with out loud as I did. 

Often times, something we love and feel very passionate about pursuing is taken down by discontentment, greed, and selfishness, while other times, just plain feeding into insecurities can be the very thing that will destroy the very thing we love to do.


  1. i know exactly how you feel. I get the same feeling with my graphic design. people will praise me, and that makes me feel good, but then when I see another designers work that is absolutely amazing, i turn to myself and think, wow im just a beginner when it comes to this.

    but all in all, we should look at it as inspiration. these "professionals" (for lack of a better term) were once where we are. they worked hard to get where they are, and if we continue then theres a good chance we can be better than them ;)

    [sweet life of a southern wife]

  2. You totally just spoke to my heart. Because I always loved photos, being in photos, but mostly taking pictures! Well, I always dismissed it and said I would never be as good as those I admired. So I even stopped taking pictures for a really long time.

    Until, just recently, I have been inspired. I believe in myself, not because I am great. But because Jesus gave me a skill set and in some way I want to use it to glorify him and bring his name to light. Even if it means if people stop by my photo blog and see I am a christian and I will proclaim it.

    I totally am still a beginner. But everyday I get a little bit better and just keep working toward my goal :)

    Thanks Jhen! You are awesome and your pictures are amazing :)

  3. I know exactly where you're coming from! I'm an aspiring photographer and like you I don't have amazing equipment and when I do visit other photography blogs I often get that feeling like I should just give up. Yeah a lot of people really like my photos but I still feel like I'm not that good.

    And I completely agree with the previous commenter. Those professionals were once in our shoes and they once had entry level equipment too. If I had a few thousand dollars to spend on extra photography equipment I would, but that's just not realistic for my personal situation at the time and my little Canon EOS Rebel T3 is doing just fine along with my $150 50mm 1.8 lens and kit lens.

    Although, not gonna lie, your work is amazing! And that picture of you is beautiful by the way. :)

    Oh Jazmyn

  4. I didn't know you read minds! I'm in the midst of struggling to get my business off the ground and have repeatedly gotten defeated over and over. I constantly receive compliments on my photography but no follow through. I know God gave me this gift and I try to remind myself that if this is His will that I can earn an income from my passion, then it will come to pass. Unfortunately my faith often waivers. Group hug! Thanks for sharing my thoughts. :)

  5. Ashley De La TorreAugust 4, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    I know you don't need a response, but I feel I have a few things to say... First of all, I think no matter how good you, there will always be someone that you think is better. I don't think you ever really "get there", and especially you because I know how much you strive to be better and learn more. Even those who seem like they're there, are really not. With that being said, I can tell you in complete honesty that I think you are amazing!! And more importantly, you make very special moments for others turn out beautifully and bring them lasting joy. You have done that for me. I have only seen a few of the photos, but those photos have made me so happy. And, as in Harry Potter, the wand is only as good as the wizard, and the equipment, no matter how expensive or not, is only as good as the photographer. And you Jen, are good. In fact, you are great!

  6. it's just called raw natural talent. God Given! and you are pretty awesome!

  7. I've been doing the same thing! ugh, I have a nice camera, doesn't matter if its the newest model out there, but I love it. I have 2 lenses but have been itching for another one..that costs sooo much money, but the moment I see that someone else has just bought a new fancy lens, I google it see how much it cost (hundreds!) and get envious and wish I could get it. But I've literally had to tell myself that my 2 lenses are wonderful, I take good pictures with them and one day, I'll be able to get another.

    Learning to appreciate what I have now is what I'm doing. The talent, the equipment and ability. God gave those to me..just like He gave them to you.

    And by the way..I really do love looking at the pictures you take. :)

  8. Don't we all know that feeling - I think that's why I don't really "follow" too many professionals...just makes me feel defeated. But you are good...and your passion for Jesus and photography is what attracts anyone to hire you. Don't forget that!

  9. Oh girl, I totally know that feeling and I'm betting that everyone does...except for the occasional uber snobby photographer. I am constantly avoiding photography blogs and websites because I find that they get me down on myself far to quickly instead of encouraging me. I find that the less I look around all the happier I am and the less I care. I just enjoy being me...whatever that might be. lol. You got it right. Eyes on Jesus is the key. And for the record even if you don't want to hear it...girl you are freaking talented!! You capture so many creative shots that I would never ever think of!!

  10. This is an amazing post and so true. When I feel like that I just have to drop down and pray. Pray for the Lord to get my pride out of the way. Loved reading this, thank you!

  11. i have felt the same way sooo many times! i've learned to not look at too many other photographer's work. there are only a few that i check now! i was looking at TONS of people's work and at the end of the day, i felt so discouraged. totally know what you mean!! you photos are beautiful, btw ;)

  12. I know exactly how you feel and it doesn't just translate to photography. Heck, I know NOTHING really but a few basics of photography and I get people commenting all the time on my pictures of food on my blog and how great they are. Sometimes I just feel like a fraud because I really don't know what I'm doing. I flip dials and change numbers and shoot in manual without really knowing what it will do to the picture. But you know what? I love doing it. And I can tell in your pictures that you love it too. You are so talented, Jhen!

  13. I feel the exact same way! You posted this at a great, this week I've been feeling a little more insecure about my photography. I've been thinking a lot about how my photography represents me and how I want to find my own voice through my photos. I don't want to use the latest 'action' set or look through other photographers work and feel they are superior. I often struggle with comparisons and start to lose hope. I am so glad I read your blog!

  14. The most fantastic thing about photography is the ability to create and learn from here to long as we are pouring our heart into the art attempting to learn and using it to glorify God then WE ARE SUCCESSFUL!

    That is a hard thing to accept, but I always remember the best didn't end up there over night.

    Casey didn't share this, but she wrote a post about this very thing a month or so ago that was very encouraging .........However, I can't find the link........BUMMER!!

  15. I just discovered your blog today and I think your photos are fantastic! I use a Nikon D5000 and am in the very early stages with my photography business so I find your blog to be both an encouragement and a source of inspiration. Keep doing what you're doing!

  16. I feel this way about writing a lot. I have gotten many compliments on how well I write and accolades for the fact that I've written two novels. But, partially because I am my own worst critic, and partially because I know it's not my best, I try to explain that I may have written two novels, but they're not good.

    I think I'm further troubled by that, knowing that so much great literature has already been written. I ask myself, What do I have to contribute to the canon? What can I write that will be different, that will endure?

    The problem is, if I don't write, we have lost a voice. I won't presume to place a value on my own voice, but I think every voice is important. If I quit writing, who writes for me? Who communicates my voice?

    If I quit writing, the canon loses whatever I might have written had I not chosen to quit.

    I love your photography. I do. But the reason for you to continue taking photographs is not because a college girl in Michigan - or anyone else in anywhere else - said she loved it.

    It is because if you stop taking photographs, we lose your voice. We lose the stories you might have told had you not stepped out from behind the camera.

    If you stop taking photographs, no one takes them for you.

    Don't abandon your voice.

  17. Oh can I ever relate...
    I find that looking at other photograher's work can be inspirational and discouraging all at the same time.

    I do have to say...
    I've been amazed at your growth as a photographer this past year. It seemed to happen so quickly with you...
    which only means, that good things are coming your way, I'm sure of it :)

    Thanks for being my photog friend :) I love getting to talk to another photographer!

  18. No matter what it is that we do, I'm pretty sure most of us have felt or feel the way you do right now. Your honesty is liberating though and you are not alone in this.

  19. thank you for posting that and for letting it be ok to not look at others pictures (even though they are amazing!) It is awful how we as women compare ourselves. I have struggled lately with finding worth in worldly things, which obviously I won't find any worth in them at all...only in the Lord. Be blessed!