Screw the (photography) critics, just be you!

Screw the (photography) critics, just be you!

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I’ve always been one of those people who likes to break the rules.  

If there were a group of people in a line walking one way, I’m going to walk in the opposite direction.  I’ve never followed trends or worried about what the “in” thing was at that moment.  

I just don’t care.  

I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing…THAT. IS. BORING!  So, when I started my photography business 3 years ago I struggled with my usual “rebel” antics.  

I wanted to succeed and all I knew about this business was what everyone else was doing and that there were rules to be followed.  Oh, the rules!  

There are so many stinking rules!  So, I spent my first year of business trying to be someone else and I have to say that it sucked, BIG TIME!  

I was doing everything that I was taught and doing it well, but guess what?  

My work looked just like everyone else’s!  I felt myself falling short.  I felt frustrated with my work.  


One day I literally had a “Eureka!” moment.  A moment of clarity I guess.  A wake up call!  Call it what you want, I realized that what was going to make me stand out in this over populated community was ME!  

No one on this planet can do me better than I can.  So, I took a step back and started my business over…from scratch!  

Was it scary?  Yes!  Did I lose most of my clients?  Yes!  But I knew that I had to be okay with that in order to make my business successful.  

I wish I had had someone to give me permission to be myself right from the beginning!  So, that’s what I’m going to do for you!!  I’m giving you permission to:


1. Stop trying to please everyone else!!!  While you are off trying to fit in and be like everyone else, you are slowly, but surely losing your creative voice!  You will NEVER truly love what you do because you aren’t shooting for you, you are shooting for all of those “rock star photographers” who claim to know it all and if I’m being honest…they could care less what you work looks like.  So, go out and find out who you are as an artist!  Find your strengths and let them shine!


2.  Fail!  Yes, I said it.  I’m giving you 100% permission to fail.  Go out and make mistakes, BUT take those mistakes and learn from them.  Figure out what went wrong and don’t give up until you turn that failure into a success!  We have all failed miserably at something one time, if not more, in our lives, but the things that we are most passionate about are the ones we work hard at and take that failure as a challenge. One of my favorite quotes about failure is, “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure”. -Abraham Lincoln.  So, listen to ‘ol honest Abe and do not be content with failing!


3.  Don’t be good…BE GREAT!!  Sure, it’s a nice feeling to know that you are good at something, BUT it feels even better to be great at something!  Hell, strive for brilliance!  Brilliance doesn’t come easy.  You are going to have to put a little extra effort into perfecting your craft, but no one ever did anything amazing by just sitting around.  Get up, go out, and start shooting!


Now, I know that I’ve said it’s cool to break the rules and it totally is, but I want to point out 2 rules that I think you should follow:


Exposure:  You can not have a beautiful image if your exposure is not good.  Learn the exposure triangle and rock on with your bad self!  I highly recommend reading the book “Understanding Exposure” if you need some assistance in this area.  However, if you love the photo and didn’t nail the exposure, DON’T GIVE UP!  Get some extra help from the amazing photo savers such as Everyday Clean which gives you a base clean-up that may fix exposure issues you may have.  Also, photographing in RAW will really elevate many issues you may have in post production.

Composition:  Having great composition can make or break a photo in my opinion.  You don’t have to always use the “Rule of Thirds” by any means, just make sure your photo tells the story you want it to.

The combination of the right exposure and a great composition can make an image breathtaking or it can ruin it, so master these two things and you can be off and running on your new life as a rebel! 


Article by Amie Reinholz

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  • Thank you Dan! You too!

    Stacie Jensen on
  • ROCK ON!! Could not agree more!

    Ken Gehring on
  • It’s nice someone is giving us permission to fail. I tell you what…it’s tough to fail, to do a whole session in 800 ISO because you forgot….tweaking and learning from your mistakes are HUGE!

    Jenn Canfield Photography on
  • Well said. Keep On Clickin’

    Dan Zepeda on
  • great article amie! on

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