How to Cope with Those Who Tear You Down


Dear Jasmine,
So here I am, trying to put on a workshop to help photogs where I live better themselves in the industry. I’m doing what I think is the right thing. And what do I get? TOTAL backlash from the seasoned photographers where I live. Questioning my motives and saying things similar to “we hate the idea of workshops from people who haven’t been in the business but for a hot minute.” I guess 4 years is a hot minute. I’m sad because MY wedding photographer said it. MY inspiration for wanting to be a wedding photographer in the first place…and I had to hear it from another photographer she was telling it to! It hurts my heart. It hurts my heart, because people who know the true me know that I only want the best for people. I have nothing but pure intentions here! I want to serve, I want to do what is right, but I don’t want people mad or looking down on me. It’s a small town Jasmine. It’s not like I can ignore or get away from these people.
HOW do you deal with situations like this? And WHAT IS a hot minute anyway?!
– Troubled in Tennessee

Dear Troubled in Tennessee,
I looked in and “Hot Minute” was defined as: The words meaning is a long time. If you ain’t seen someone in a while or if you ain’t been someplace in a while or done something in a while it will be a hot minute. It can mean in years, months, weeks, or days. Just means awhile.
This is great news because a hot minute basically means anything we want it to be. So, boom. We pretty much cleared up that debacle.

In all seriousness, the situation you’re facing is painful. I’m sure it strikes you in vulnerable parts of your soul because you believe, truly, you’re built to help others. Based on this belief, you must push all negativity out of your mind. This, of course, is extraordinarily difficult, but here’s advice that’s helped me through the years…
When I first started sharing photo tips and tutorials on my blog, I heard through the grapevine that other photographers were talking trash. They were asking questions like whether I was qualified to be teaching and why anyone pay attention to what I said. And here’s the kicker: I couldn’t disagree with them! I didn’t know why people would pay attention.

But people did. Not only did people pay attention, we rallied together to help others who were in the same place we were. If there’s a demand for your help/advice, then you’ll be able to rally photographers around you in the same way…regardless of what others say.

You see, there will be industry giants who are incredibly successful and wildly talented and their lives will appear glamorous on the side of the computer on which you sit. But to the person who just got a camera, that giant? He’s too far along in his career to be relatable and too far advance to teach the basics in a way you can…because what you offer is different. What you offer is YOU.

In light of this, own your role. Embrace who you are. Love where you live. Celebrate those who’ll listen to you. Continue to help, support, and give…those who’ll spew negativity and disbelief will eventually drop their pitchforks and return to the cave in which they reside.

Keep running, and never look back.

Stay Fabulous,

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  1. denise karis

    February 4th, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Oh man. I think the only thing you can do is make you workshop a smashing success … you can’t make those haters stop hating but you can prove that, yep, you can teach despite what anyone else thinks. Power to you! I read this about a month ago in a cracked.Com article and loved it: whatever you try to build or create — be it a poem, or a new skill, or a new relationship — you will find yourself immediately surrounded by non-creators who trash it.Just remember, they’re only expressing their own fear, since trashing other people’s work is another excuse to do nothing.

  2. Liesbeth

    February 4th, 2013 at 12:54 pm


  3. Peter West Photo

    February 4th, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Dear Troubled: I’ve been doing photo workshops for years (and years) for beginners and emerging pros (got a class coming up in Oakville Ont in a couple of weeks) and what you’re dealing with is professional jealousy. Everyone who offers to help others is going to get some sort of kickback or even a kick in the teeth. I even thought Jasmine could have used some improvement (I’ve since changed my mind after reading her blogs.) so ignore the critics. And don’t use the excuse about being in a small town. The size of the town isn’t the issue. It’s the size of your heart my dear and how you control the thoughts in your head. I’m going to post at my site a comment about your situation ( Think you’ll like it πŸ™‚ …and keep teaching. The world needs more teachers. We’ve got enough critics.

  4. Todd

    February 4th, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I think you make a good point when you say that someone newer to the industry may be able to help someone else just starting out. If someone chooses to teach others they owe it to everyone including the entire industry to know that what they are teaching is technically right.

  5. Kara

    February 4th, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    I think the problem is that there is a glut of photographers who are out there offering "workshops" who have no idea what it is they’re teaching or even how to teach. Being a good photographer doesn’t mean you’re going to be a good teacher. And when you’re charging people money to teach them something, it’s important that they come away having learned something, not just paid to go to a social event or an event where the workshop leader or teacher got a little ego stroking. (Not saying this is where the photog above is, but I’ve seen it happen often and been to a few workshops where it was obvious it was all about the photographer, and not about the students.)

    My question to the photog above is that when she says she wants to teach people "better themselves in the industry" … what does she mean by that? What is she teaching them? What is her unique qualification for teaching what she’s teaching? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to help people and I have no doubt that the writer has pure intentions – but that doesn’t mean that she’s qualified to hold workshops or teach people.

    Then again, she may have a really unique perspective to share: a great marketing style, an ability to build a fabulous rapport with her clients, a great grasp of the business and financial end. It all just depends on what she’s selling. IMO.

  6. Alexis

    February 4th, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Great advice! πŸ™‚

  7. Lindsey McClennahan

    February 4th, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Keep running and never look back : ) Love that. and Be strong Miss Tenn! You are the kind of person that makes the world go around! If people were crummy all the time, then we would be stopped at the cave ages, never growing or learning from anything! Love this post!

  8. Stuart Little

    February 4th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Hey Jasmine,

    I have been in this business for 20 years, 10 of which I have been teaching other photographers and then I stopped that and went back to portraiture full-time.

    Its not been easy and even though I have been around the block more than once I am have to relearn an awful lot in short space of time.

    I am a Scottish Portrait Photographer and our styles are worlds apart but I still appreciate what you do and I have followed your career for quite some time now.

    Ignore all the negative people in life… All they do is grind you down. You are your husband are talented, beautiful people with a good sense of humour and that goes along way in my book!

    Thank You from me to you for sharing. Whatever your reasons I for one appreciate it.



  9. Kristin

    February 4th, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Words can’t express what this post means to me! I appreciate you so much…thanks for the encouragement! This is EXACTLY what I needed and so much more. You’re the best! xo πŸ˜‰

  10. Jessica Shea Photography

    February 4th, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    It’s so sad that people get ridiculed for trying to help. Honestly, the people talking smack are just putting you down to try and make themselves feel better. No one is perfect, and we ALL have so much to learn, always. Those who can’t accept that are seriously missing out.

  11. Kristin

    February 4th, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Fabulous advice!

  12. Rochelle muellenberg

    February 4th, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    As a new photographer with friends who complain that "anyone with a DSLR camera thinks they’re a professional", I too , have moments of doubt. I’m so grateful to seasoned pros -and think 4 years IS seasoned- who offer information thru workshops and blogs. In the words of Justin Bieber, "this is for all the haters". Do the workshop and knock the socks off of your attendees!

  13. Rochelle muellenberg

    February 4th, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    As a new photographer with friends who complain that "anyone with a DSLR camera thinks they’re a professional", I too , have moments of doubt. I’m so grateful to seasoned pros -and think 4 years IS seasoned- who offer information thru workshops and blogs. In the words of Justin Bieber, "this is for all the haters". Do the workshop and knock the socks off of your attendees!

  14. Heather

    February 4th, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Thank you so much for this post, Jasmine. In a way, I’ve experiencing this myself lately. I finally got into the "inner circle" &….I don’t like it. All these "giants" do is criticize others work & the way they run their businesses. Breaks my heart. I always heard the wedding industry was competitive, but why are people so mean? Didn’t we all start somewhere and work our way up? Disappointing…

  15. Shalyn Nelson

    February 4th, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I needed this more than you know Jasmine! Thank you for always being oh, so fabulous!!! πŸ™‚ XO!

  16. Laura Byler

    February 4th, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    AMEN! Thank you Jasmine for this post !! Troubled in Tennesee go for it !!

  17. Bella Hope

    February 4th, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    So well said Jasmine. People need someone they can look up to, but also someone they can relate to.
    We need to realize there will ALWAYS be someone who disagrees somewhere out there with what we are doing, and if we end up listening to every person who disagrees with the way we run our life we’ll get torn down little by little. It’s just not worth that. Hearing rumors or gossip is not worth giving up your dream over.

  18. Alicia

    February 4th, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Such beautiful and spot on advice! Keep your head up. If you have haters then that’s probably a good sign you’re doing something right;)

  19. Shauna

    February 4th, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Jasmine: I was hoping you could forward this message on to Troubled in Tennessee. It’s just been my experience that no matter what part of the country you are and no matter what you do (whether you’re a photographer or a baker, a florist or a wedding planner or even outside of this industry) there will always be people who feel they are superior and therefore more equipped to offer workshops or advice or business tips than you are. Perhaps they are doing that already and are afraid that you’ll steal some of their business. Perhaps they aren’t offering the service and are jealous that you thought of it. Perhaps they’re just bored and like the drama. Whatever their reasons, it is no reflection of who you are or what you can offer. As long as you are truthful and honest, they can’t hurt you. They’ll eventually get over it and move on when they find something else to gripe about. So stay strong in who you are and why you do what you do! I just felt compelled to say this because I see it ALL OF THE TIME. It’s sad but it’s how many people make themselves feel better. For us on the outside hearing what they’re saying, it just looks poorly on them – not you. Good luck and try not to let this get to you. xoxo

  20. Tony Belmont

    February 4th, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Great answer, as always, Jasmine. I would add to that the following: What people say is a reflection of themselves, so when they say something negative about you, that shows you what kind of person they are. Not what kind of person you are (they don’t know your motives, nor probably anything else about you). And that is from their own past experiences, not yours. It can be difficult to not take it personally, but keeping in mind that it is them, and not you, hopefully will help.

  21. Ingrid Urena

    February 4th, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Go and keep doing it! Those who try to put you down are buried in pure jealousy! Because in my opinion, it doesn’t matter how big you are in your industry, let your work speak for itself. What do they care if you are giving workshops? They are jealous people are putting attention on you intead of them. That tells you the horrible people they are on the inside, I don’t care how good of a photographer they are.

  22. Steve P

    February 4th, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    I think it’s great the seasoned photogs are taking notice of you, the only reason they are talking trash is because they think your taking business away from them or you’re giving away secrets. You will grow so much from teaching others, don’t listen to the trash, move forward helping others. We all started new at some point and were givin help so boo to the haters and yeah to you!

    Love and happiness,

  23. Ben Sandberg

    February 4th, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    I have found that when haters start hating, it means you’re doing something right because you’re becoming a threat. My wife is a health and fitness blogger and I am a photographer. We have had very similar experiences even though our intentions are to help others and be positive. To battle the negativity we have come up with a mantra to live by. It is "you are only accountable for what you actually do, not for how someone perceives you." Haters are always going to hate, and there’s nothing you can do to change that. Keep doing good work and you’ll change people’s lives.

  24. Jennifer DeLaurentis

    February 4th, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Inspirational no matter what industry we’re in. Thanks for sharing, I needed to see this today πŸ™‚

  25. Nikki Closser

    February 4th, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Well said, Jasmine!! Man, I <3 you!

  26. Alex

    February 4th, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Jasmine, brilliant response to Troubled in Tennessee! Thank you for sharing your wisdom, I needed to hear this!

  27. Francesca Caputo

    February 4th, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    i hate to admit to this, but i’ve been a "hater". in the early stages of a business, it’s hard not to be jealous of people you feel are your peers but are accomplishing more. of course, i don’t go around bad mouthing other photographers because i realize it is pure jealousy. jealousy of others’ commitment to their craft. when people stop comparing themselves to others and stop focusing on what they don’t have or what they aren’t doing, they’ll realize how much better the industry and their business can be if they take a supportive stance. until then, it’s important to make sure that those who support your dreams and goals know how much you appreciate them.

  28. Belinda

    February 4th, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Question to everyone that talked smack about this photographer who’s trying to help others: How does how long she’s been in the business have any relation to whether or not what she’s teaching is accurate? if she’s right, she’s right. And if she helps someone then she has accomplished her goal in teaching. I’ve listened to enough instuctors to know that many times there isn’t a "right way" rather many ways of getting the job done effectively.

    I hope the writer. learns and grows from this experience and is successful!

  29. Ken Topham

    February 4th, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    I wouldn’t give to much thought to those people, the way it looks to me is a) you have a frightening work ethic which probably intimidates them
    b) your blog and site look amazing and inspiring… More intimidation for the ‘haters’
    c) most importantly your images are stunning and that has no bearing on time served! You are very good at what you do, of this there can be no argument!

  30. LEOLAK

    February 4th, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Great advice Jasmine! The thing that stood out to me in this is that Miss Tenn’s wedding photographer just lost a referral source – any that she may have sent for ones out her price range or any of her students that she would have surely raved about who she admires etc. When people show you who they really are – believe them. If it doesn’t being the positive in your life (and yes not all things are roses, but who wants to keep thorns around?), then goodbye to them. I wish you much success in your business and workshop! It takes much courage to do both or any of it. Do YOU lady!

  31. Monica Justesen Photography

    February 4th, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Solid advice, as always. How sad the pettiness we experience in our industry. People seem more concerned with tearing each other down than helping to build each other up.

  32. Michelle Drewes

    February 4th, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Jasmine! I love your response. This is really something that hits home with me right now.
    Now that I have a sweet baby boy I am transitioning from a commercial photography dream to being a family portrait photographer. I am finally admitting to myself that my family is absolutely number one, and I will never put my career first. I also want to make pictures that will make the lives of others richer : )


  33. tina smith

    February 4th, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    There are always going to be "haters" in the world. Just be the best you can be and always treat others the way you want to be treated. You will reep what you sow.

  34. Le Monsieur de le Coin Bureau

    February 5th, 2013 at 3:04 am

    Those who would tear you down probably are not worth approaching for this project in the first place. They are reacting out of insecurity of their own capabilities and any insight they might provide would be shallow at best. The most gracious responses for assistance I ever received were from two different graduates of the Rochester Institute of Technology, one of whom responded to an eMail posted to her web site address. She could not have been more kind and helpful if I was actually paying for the consultation. There is a reason you go for the gold: because it’s worth it.

  35. Abigail K

    February 5th, 2013 at 3:36 am

    Dear Jasmine,
    I swear this post was meant for me. This is a topic that has been on my mind for a while.
    I have given workshops before related to social media as a business tool, but never have I given a workshop related to photography. The reason for this is the photography industry. I know how brutal photographers can be and it’s fear of that backlash that has kept me from teaching the things I’ve learnt over the years. This is one of my goals for 2013. I’m bookmarking this post and will read it whenever those nasties rear their uglies.

  36. Karlee

    February 5th, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Jasmine, you are wonderful! Don’t stop doing what you’re doing. You are an inspiration and I’m glad I chose to follow your blog.

  37. Teresa

    February 5th, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.
    Zig Ziglar

  38. Cole Joseph

    February 5th, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    I totally know where you are coming from! When I first picked up a camera 4 yrs ago – I set out to learn anything and everything I could…and I did a decent job, but I was always afraid to ask for advice or share my imagery on public forums because of how much backlash and harsh things were often said to "newbies", especially trying to get into shooting Weddings. Since then I am no longer a newbie at all and have a strong love and passion for photography, weddings in particular and I decided to make a site that could help new photographers out and let them in on some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned to get to where I am. All of the content on Cole’s Classroom is entirely free but yet I still feared what "other" photographers would think…but you know what, as Jasmine and many others have said, you have to stay focused on what YOU are doing and WHY your doing it and not let the haters get ya down. Jealousy and envy is rampant in the industry amongst some photogs but don’t let that slow you down – and get out there and kick some butt! You owe it to yourself and also your students. Best of luck.

  39. Anna

    February 5th, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    Just thought I should let you know. Someone has stolen your blog design and are using it as their own

  40. Carla Hoosier

    February 7th, 2013 at 1:06 am

    I live in a small town and struggle with a similar situation. I’ve had several people ask me to have a class on basic photography to just help them learn how to use their camera. I hesitate because I know when I do this what the talk will be. I have such a passion for photography but can’t get past the comments from other’s. But I know in my heart I will never give up on my dream! I love it to much.

  41. Emma

    February 7th, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    While its not nice to be criticised, the fact is that the rise in high quality digital cameras has meant that more peoole are calling themselves pros when they’re not. I think all "real" pros have a responsibility to ensure that any education they offer is not a repeat of info that can be found easily on the web (some pros are intentionally taking advantage of aspiring newbies), is technically sound (people are setting up facebook pro photography pages without being able to shoot in manual), and doesn’t sell the dream of becoming a pro with minimal work. There is real and growing tension between self-taught and formally trained photographers. There’s some nasty stuff going on which is just mean and childish but it highlights that in some areas quality and customer service is going down and amazing pros are being priced out by ammatures who can’t produce pro level products.

  42. Jasmine*

    February 7th, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    @Emma: I don’t disagree with you necessarily, but I take issue with HOW "real pros" (as you referred to them) take the responsibility. I’m not against ensuring quality education abounds, but what I am against are established photographers short-changing newbies. It really bothers me. In this case, the prospective teacher has worked four years in our business…we can assumed she’s doing something right since she’s still in demand for her work. If her quality and customer service lacked, do you not think she would have a lackluster or non-existent business. I choose to function on the assumption that she does have great components to her career and can teach others. And here’s the realness of what I’m talking about: Troubled can choose to host a workshop and only get 3-4 people to signup. That alone should reveal the demand for her teaching. If this happens, the market–not snarky photographers talking behind her back–dictated the demand. If the photographers were actually concerned about what she’s teaching, they’d reach out and see if she needed help or someone to help give insight/critique her presentation. If people are just complaining about what someone else is going, they’re part of the problem…not part of the solution.

  43. asianspec

    February 9th, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Thank you jasmine for also answering my question for the email. You have hit it on the nail. I feel that some "pro" wedding photographers are threaten by some family member who has a dslr setup @weddings. I had even one pull out stating that he had a contract. It took every inch of energy to not shove his camera where the light doesn’t shine, but I am not going to ruin somebody’s big day.

  44. K.P.

    February 19th, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    oh my God this is why i read your blog. In this industry (I’ve only been in a year) sometimes the BIG photogs can be the meanest!! I’m experiencing that as we speak and it can be so discouraging (if thats a word)….im teaching myself and thats already hard to begin with…but when you have the BIG WIGS being so negative and saying hurtful things it makes you question yourself…sometimes I look at my work and think "is it good enough"…"am i that bad"….how do you stay encouraged through things like this? Its so tough

  45. Kristen Nicole Photography

    February 8th, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    I think most negativity from other photographers stems from jealousy or competitiveness. I’ve experienced some hurtful remarks from another photographer directed to me in an email, and although it initially was a blow to my confidence, I found the best way to recover from it was ignore the email. Nothing shuts a bully up faster than silence!