Giving Up

Photography has taught me so many things – things I never expected it would! For instance this lesson: know when to give up. Now I’m a fighter by nature (not physical, of course!) and am stubborn and hate to give up. I watched a photography seminar once where the amazing photographer was talking about trying to force a shot. It’s when you want to get a specific shot extremely badly and you do everything in your power to do it, wasting a huge chunk of time that you could be spending on a different shot.

So I started shooting with that in mind.

During one senior shoot there were these older-style stairs with a wooden railing that looks fairly pieced together. I had an idea of a shot that I wanted to get and after I got the senior into position, I shot a few frames and realized that it wasn’t working. A year ago I would have moved the senior, tried again, adjusted this or that and wasted tons of time.

That day? I gave up. I realized that the shot wasn’t going to happen and instead got this:


This is going down as one of my newest favorite senior shots. It’s not one that would likely make the yearbook (no smiling) but the flawless skin, the beautiful hair, the angle of the shot with the DOF (depth of field) – I’m in love with all of it. If I hadn’t given up on the previous shot, I would never have seen or snagged this shot.

I was at a wedding and was attempting to get a shot of the bride hugging her friends. Then angle wasn’t working and the sun was blasting over her head – it was not the right setup nor was there anything I could do, aside from going to her and either physically moving her into the shade or getting someone to hold something over her head, and that would have messed with the composition and the natural emotion that I’m always trying to get.

Once I realized that there was no way to get the shot, that by the time I did fix everything the moment would be over, I glanced around to see if there was anything else to shoot – and I got this:


This is, hands down and without a doubt, one of my favorite candid wedding shots I’ve gotten this year – and definitely in the top 5 favorite candid wedding shots I’ve ever taken.

I realized not too long ago that the whole “know when to give up” adage could be true for not only photography, but also for my life. There is a time to fight, and a time to realize that the fight that you’re waging is taking up more of your energy, and your time, than it’s worth.

For most of my life I’ve struggled with being accepted. With fitting in. I’ve never felt as though I fit in with most of my family, and when I got married it was my hope that I would fit in with my in-laws, but, unfortunately, I do not. I struggled and fought and did everything I could to try to fix the situation – to try to fit in.

Then? I gave up.

The weight that was lifted off of me was huge, and my heart has been lightened in a huge way because of it! I still feel remorse that things are the way that they are, but I’m accepting that it is the way that it is and I’m not fighting against it.

There are times when you should fight. Times when you should attack the issue, problem, disease, condition, situation, with everything that you have in you. But there are also times when you should give up in order to make your life the best life it can possibly be.

Giving up doesn’t mean that you’re a quitter. It simply means that you’re smart enough to realize what your priorities are, and where your energies should truly be directed.


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