Indianapolis Family Photographer | For Photographers Fridays: Rejection, & Disappointment

Indianapolis Family Photographer | casey and her camera: For Photographers Fridays

Being an Indianapolis Family Photographer and small business owner means being emotionally invested. It means giving it everything you’ve got… literally. You literally live and breath this job… no, this life.

My husband and I went out to dinner the other night and I noticed a couple at another table who were wrapping up, paying the bill, getting their coats on. Well, the girl was… and the guy? He was on his phone. I felt a little sad for the girl.

Then, after ordering our food, I found myself doing the same thing.

Checking out is hard… or maybe it’s learning when to ‘check in’ that’s hard. I check emails frequently, am active on Facebook and Instagram, and enjoy editing at night… which means working late hours several nights a week.

So when something happens in the business, MY business, you can bet that I take it personally. I have experienced the most high highs in my work. The extreme elation and ecstasy living my dream brings is unmatchable.

Indianapolis Wedding Photographer | casey and her camera

However, equally so can be the feelings of rejection and disappointment.

After arriving here in Indy, I started to put a lot of time and effort into putting myself out there. And I was met with more rejection and disappointment than I had felt in a long, long time. For every 20 times I put myself out there, I would get 19 ‘NO!’s and 1 ‘maybe…’. As an emotionally-invested human being, I’ll admit, it really got me down in the beginning. I would allow myself a 15-second pity-party, and then get back at it.

But then those ‘maybe’s started turning into ‘YES!’s and I would fuel myself off that spark of inspiration and motivation for another few rounds. I never gave up. I continued to meet each rejection and disappointment with poise, politeness, and graciousness, because if it weren’t for these folks, I would just have silence ((insert cricket noises here)) and that would be even more terrifying.

You see, rejection is still a response. It’s one more individual or company or organization who has checked out your work and has considered you and that’s something to be proud of! Not everyone is going to be the perfect match – not for you and you, not for them. Choosing and finding a photographer is as much about finding a personality match as a dating game. You have to find someone you wholeheartedly trust with your memories, someone that meshes well with your kids, your pets, your disgruntled uncle who HATES having his picture taken. Then, if they meet these requirements, they have to have the style of imagery you crave – soft, light, bold, clean, matte, posed, with or without props, lifestyle, candid, natural light, studio… the list is infinite. And finally, if you make it past this elimination round, you now have to fit the budget.

I have learned not to get down on myself. I have coached myself not to let disappointment be the overwhelming emotion when something doesn’t work out. Instead, I have trained myself to regroup – to focus on what is next and how I can improve. I have found a way to turn rejection into self-critique and as reassurance that I am constantly growing, learning, and changing in my work, and that each ‘next time’ will always be incrementally better than the ‘last time’.

And never, ever, EVER do I want this to change.

Indianapolis Family Photographer | casey and her camera

I have learned so much about myself and my work, and I would never trade that for anything. Learning NOT to let rejection and disappointment run my business…or run me out of business… has been a lesson I’m sure causes some to leave this industry. On the flip side, not being rejected and disappointed means not taking


As Jefferson taught us, ‘With great risk comes great reward.’ It also comes with great disappointment and it’s up to you to choose your direction from there. Sometimes you just have to give yourself a pep talk, pick yourself up, and shoot farther than you did the first time. 

So what have I learned about rejection and disappointment on this journey into turning my love into my life? I’ve learned to welcome it, because without it, I would be stagnant, unchanging, and that (to me) is the ultimate failure.

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” – Gail Sheehy

casey and her camera is an Indianapolis Family Photographer specializing in family, couple, lifestyle, senior, and wedding photography for Indianapolis and the surrounding areas.

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