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My Secret to Getting From ‘Wanting to Give Up’ to Where I Am Now | Amanda Diaz

By Amanda Diaz on May 5th 2014

I guess this would be a part II of my previous article, “My Best Piece of Advice for Photographers Who Want to Give Up.” After that last article was written, I received quite a lot of personal emails from others who felt they were in the same boat and on the verge of giving up. Reading some of their stories really hit close to home for me and was basically the main reason why I wrote what I did. I tried my best to answer everyone, but if I missed you, I apologize. I get many emails a day and sometimes some of them slip through the cracks.

Many people wanted to know what it is I did to keep pushing through, not give up and how I got to the point of where I am today. This article should hopefully fill in some of the gaps left behind in the previous article.


So starting from the beginning where I mentioned growing up with a single mom and having to struggle…

This right here was the main reason that kept me going. You see, I did not get into photography to become a “famous photographer.” In fact, I think that if that’s an actual goal in this industry, you should probably give your head a shake….but that’s a whole other article.

My intentions were far from that. I got into photography as a hope and outlet to pay bills and eventually get away from my day jobs that burned me out mentally, physically and emotionally a long time ago. I had no idea that the way I did things would lead me to this point today.

Like I mentioned previously, it was the fear that drove me here. The journey this entire time has been a constant roller coaster of good and bad, encouragement and tear downs, highs and lows. Feeling happy and accomplished to encountering failure time and time again and wanting to just give it all up.


When I first began, I remember sometimes 2-3 months would go by and not one damn email from anyone. I was just so discouraged! I would be upset for days on end, questioning what I was doing wrong. But I didn’t give up…

After the previous article, I read a couple messages that I should not be telling people to just keep going if they don’t have the talent to do so. Well, I really don’t know of anyone that picked up a camera when they first started and just was on point and amazing at all they did instantaneously. It takes years of experience, dedication and HARD WORK!!

My article was meant for people who actually do have that little seed inside of them, waiting and wanting to grow.


You can read inspirational stories until you are blue in the face, but deep down if you don’t think you will ever make it, and keep sulking and pouting and looking at the next person with envy and negativity, well guess what? That’s exactly what you are going to continue to get.

I don’t mean to sound rude or harsh, but those are the facts.

What Kept Me Going

Here are some things that kept me going through the low times.

For one, I would submit work constantly to magazines and blogs. 95% would never even get back to me, but I would say to myself, “Oh well, their loss – whatever,” and move on. Yes, it sucked and hurt and I was rejected many times- but you get used to it. Let me tell you though, once I got published here and there, it was the most amazing feeling and I felt so happy! It was worth the pain of rejection.

Another example, I would be exhausted at the end of the week from my day job, but still would have the energy to do that creative shoot I had planned on the weekend- this is how you will know, that photography is what you want.  When you TRULY believe in yourself, dedicate time, money, passion, long days and nights, study, research, think of creative ways to keep going when you might not have the money or support to do so otherwise, push, sweat, focus, have positive self-talk and just keep that drive, even if you lose it every second day – you will succeed eventually. This doesn’t happen overnight, this is a long, grueling process – blood, sweat and literal tears. I kept reminding myself what I was doing this all for.

There it is, that’s my “secret.” I held on to my dream. I didn’t ever let myself pout for too long. I constantly had to re-focus and keep moving forward.


The whole point of this is that basically, if you believe in yourself, I mean really, truly believe in yourself and do the hard work to get there, you will get to where you want to be. It may take 5 years or 20 – who knows. But when you get there, and you look back, it truly is worth it in the end.


For those of you reading this and you can relate to what I am saying – I would suggest to start taking mental notes of what you think about yourself and your work while you are shooting a subject and so on. Pay attention to your thoughts and realize that they can either lead you to success or the opposite.

One day at a time,
Amanda Diaz


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Amanda Diaz has worked as a freelance Photographer in Canada since Mid 2008. – Her focus in photography ranges from Fashion, Conceptual, Beauty and Portraiture. Her work has been featured in multiple blogs, magazines and websites from around the world. She was nominated as one of the top ten fashion/ editorial photographers of 2012 with the Framed Network.

She has shot in different cities across Canada and began teaching Fashion & Beauty workshops in 2013. Amanda is also planning on upcoming workshops in the states as well as international soon!

You can view more of her work here :

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Thanks for sharing

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  2. Calvin Wallace

    Congrats Amanda, you’ve worked hard from where you started :P

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  3. Scott Villalobos

    Amanda, you hit it right on the head. Mountain climbers call this the size of the rat. It is what enables one mountain climber to succeed where another mountain climber of equal ability will fail. My entire life I wanted to be a photographer, I pursued it for many years with little success but always believed that one day the hard work, sacrafice, finances, and determination would pay off. It wasn’t easy as I was raising a family, my wife didn’t work as she was busy with our six children, but I never gave up on the dream and now I’ve been making a decent living for the last 6 years. The key for me was burning my ships, just like Henry Jones Sr. says in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. “When Cortez came to the new world he burned his ships. This motivated the crew to make a go of it with out the distraction of going back to the old world.” Or something like that. Anyways, excellent article and well said!

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  4. barb

    Yes yes and yes. I just kept nodding my head. I had some major lows and I “lost” a year when I became pregnant and too sick to do anything. Then I gave birth and I thought for sure that was it, I will never have my photography back. Then I moved past the baby blues and into Omg I can’t believe I have this tiny model to play with!! I have learned so much just from shooting her constantly. I also realized that photography is in me now, it will never let go, and I have to succeed. I have to. There is no longer a question. I will go to workshops, read, watch, and learn until I’m too old to do it anymore. I will constantly shoot and I will put my best foot forward and I will get the clients and I will have an amazing personal project completed in a year and it will all come together. Because there is no choice. This is my life now and I love it. All the highs and even the lows. I love it all and embrace it all and you nailed it right on the head. I love your work, it’s amazing. If just one person one day can say that my work has inspired them, as your work inspires me…that to me will be my success :D Glad you are finding more highs than lows lately and I hope you much continued success of your own.

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  5. Kenna Klosterman

    It takes courage to share your story and connect to people around the globe who are struggling too. I cannot wait to host your DIY Fashion & Editorial Photography workshop on CreativeLive in June and ask you even more questions!!! xoxoxo ~kenna

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  6. Jamie Coburn

    Your secret to becoming a successful photographer is universal to alll businesses…There are no shortcuts, no easy ways, no equipment you can buy, and no person you can hire to make you successful.

    I am at the other end of my career (semi retired) and now enjoy photography full time. I have also been with my wife for 30 years.

    What Amanda says about photography can also be applied to your life, wife, or soul mate.
    There are not shortcuts here either.

    Very inspirational Amanda!
    May your success follow you everywhere in your life

    Roll up your sleeves and get dirty…Hear and Soul deep!
    Or get the Fuck out of here! :)


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  7. Bree

    I am going through almost the same situation. I’ve never been so close to giving up before. I live in a small town in New Mexico…not exactly the fashion capital of the world ;) But, my dreams of being published never fade. I also have put my work out there in hopes of being in a magazine, but I know I just have to be persistent and keep trying. I pay the bills by doing family sessions, couples, seniors, etc… but I know my heart is with stylized, concept, themed type shoots. I love thinking of something and creating it in my own brain and then capturing it. I don’t quite know where to go from here, and bills are piling up, but I won’t stop. Even though the past few months the thought has crossed my mind. This article is awesome and I look up to you so much! Thank you for your inspiration!!

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  8. Steven

    Amanda is a big inspiration, her work and creativity never cease to astound.

    And after hearing that she went through exactly what i’m going through right now, makes it even better.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this Amanda.


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  9. Sandip Das

    I am going through similar phase and I do believe in myself.I know I will achieve my dreams..thanks for the article!

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