When Your Inner Critic Shows up…You’re doing it Right.

youarenotwrongI think often with taking self-portraits

When our inner critic shows up to try to stop us, we think we’re doing it wrong.

That this doesn’t happen to other people, only us.

So we put our camera down and quit.

Thinking that its easier for everyone else.

That these photos are proof that we aren’t photogenic, that we aren’t enough.


But here’s the thing.  From my perspective, when your inner critic shows up…you’re doing it right.  Not wrong.

You’re doing it right because you are at the precipice of a new story.

You might be only a few photos away from that one that helps you see yourself in a new light.

Your inner critic is a sign that you are stepping out of your comfort zone.

That there is the possibility of a new story.

And your inner critic is scared shitless of change.


So it bounds you, tells you yet again that story that knows will press your buttons.

Repeats the words that unhinge you and make you give up.  Cause it thinks it knows you that well.

It shouts even louder the closer you get to change, to being outside of its comfort zone.

But what it doesn’t see is that it is blind to what is beyond its boundaries.

That when we say no to these old stories and open the door to a new one…

We get to define how we talk to ourselves not our inner critic.

But it can’t see that far and so it holds us in tight.


So in case next time you pick up your camera, you might take a self-portrait and feel like you are doing it wrong

If you see the old story of how you feel about yourself in photos.

You aren’t wrong.

You are just in front of the door of the new story, locked shut by your inner critic.

Press the shutter, take another photo.

Unlock it.

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  • Perfect timing for me as I hold the door open, getting glimpses of what’s on the other side, but so scared to step through into the light. It’s that first step that is the hardest. Always that first step.ReplyCancel

  • Damn! This is good! Got goosebumps all over at the truth of this.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel

    So beautifully written and so very true! I’ve taken a bit of a break from self-portraits and instead focusing on photographing nature (I definitely will return to SPs). However, I distinctly remember the process of pushing my boundaries, doubts sometimes arising, but then there was sometimes an amazing breakthrough : )ReplyCancel

  • […] When You’re Inner Critic Shows Up, You’re Doing it Right – Vivienne McMaster Photography. […]ReplyCancel

The Right Brain Business Summit Recap!


Oh my.  Its Monday morning and I wanted to share that my heart is feeling filled right up from the Right Brain Business Summit.  Last Friday I was interviewed by the awesome Jennifer Lee about things like being visible in our business, authenticity and of course about taking self-portraits!

Jennifer has added on an extra day of the replay of my interview…so if you haven’t seen it, if you join the summit (its free) you’ll be able to view the replay until 8pm tonight!  Or for those folks who upgrade in the summit, you can watch all the videos at your leisure!

Over the weekend, Jennifer and I held a contest for folks who were watching the interview….if they shared a self-portrait on Instagram, they could win a spot in the June session of Be Your Own Beloved (registration is open if you’d like to join us)!

So my weekend was filled with happily checking Instagram and each time I did there was another amazing and brave Summit participant sharing their selfie.  It was really outside of the comfort zone for many folks, so it was such an honour that each and every one of them shared.

I tell ya, I’m LOVING this summit…and what was even better was that today while I was watching it, a package from Amazon arrived with Jennifer’s gorgeous new book Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way: Sustainable Success for the Creative Entrepreneur arrived in my mailbox! Perfect timing, right!

I’m going to share more about the book in a future post but can’t contain my excitement today about this book.  It was such an honour to be asked to be a featured entrepreneur in the book and not only that…but this book itself is going to be a game-changer for so many of us creative entrepreneurs.  Jennifer has such an accessible and inspiring way of sharing what can often be some of the parts of our businesses that stress us out.   Just so proud of you Jennifer Lee & seriously excited to have this book as my go-to resource in my business.

Also, the #RBBIZ Summit is still on for the rest of this week!  I’m getting so much out of each session and I especially encourage you not to miss the rockin’ Alexandra Franzen on Thursday!

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  • thanks for your lovely presentation, Vivienne! I enjoyed the summit, and learned many things. appreciate your encouragement :) ReplyCancel

Where the Magic Happens


Yesterday I headed to the community garden nearby with my tripod, both cameras and all my lenses.  I was on a mission.  I’m working like wild on this brand new class Your Beloved Camera which explores the technical side of taking self-portraits as we explore seeing ourselves with kindness through it (I can’t wait to share this class with you)!

When I arrived at the garden, my inner critic was ready to pounce on me.   As I’ve been on this self-love through self-portraiture journey for a while now, its become much easier to push past my inner critic and take self-portraits (even on their fiercest days) but as I was shooting video for the class, it was like I opened up a whole new door for them to come through.

And they did.

The garden was busy too.  People walking by as I was shooting.  With photos, it can be a bit more subtle, but with my tripod perched high on a picnic table right in the middle of the garden, I felt super exposed and nervous.

So I used my go-to trick with when I’m hitting a wall when taking self-portraits.  Getting silly.  I shook it out with a silly dance.  I took some ridiculous clips that will be fun outtakes and just got back in my own body, my own skin.

Did I get all the clips I hoped to?  Nope.  But I started.

And sometimes thats the hardest part.

After shooting video I decided to shoot some more self-portraits, with camera in hand (as in planning this course I realized I had very few of me shooting photos)!

Oh my…it might have been the most magical half hour of my life.  The light, the cherry blossoms, the sudden space from people walking by.  I felt so in the creative magic and came home feeling so energized.

I wanted to share with you as this kind of magical creative adventure is available to us all.  And our inner critic or ‘gremlins’ are likely to be awaiting us if we try to access it.  But thats where the magic happens….when we push past the NO that they tell us and choose YES for ourselves.


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  • Alison Miyake

    yes, yes, yes and YES!!! Screaming it from the rooftops. Trying something new lets those demons in. But stepping past the No to say a great big Yes to your creative self…. oh, that is so beautiful, Vivienne! And you didn’t get it all done but you got started. I so need to hear that often. I liked the presenter in the Right Brain Business talk who said that we have to invest in the process. We have to keep challenging ourselves by trying new things and not get frustrated when they don’t turn out the way we want, we have to “do the work” which means working through the process, getting feedback and trying, trying again. We can’t know how our creative self is going to want to show up, we have to just keep inviting it in and then listening to whether it likes the pathway we are offering it. I’m really looking forward to this class, by the way…ReplyCancel

  • Alanna Jane

    If Alison is shouting her “YES! YES! YES!” from the rooftops in Japan, I am here to echo my own from the atop rooftops located across a different pond *wink*. This article is amazing, inspirational and so much fun. I just love that you have the courage to let us into your creative process and show what really happens when you head out to make your magic, and what it takes to get there. BRAVO! and many, many thanks for being exactly who you are. PS> GORGEOUS tunic! Golly, someday I want to go shopping with you :) ReplyCancel

Its not about the Photo

Its not about-3

I’ve gotta tell you.

Its not about the photo.

Not really.

Its about everything that happens in the process of taking it.

Its about coming face to face with our inner critic and choosing to take it anyways.

Its about being in the present moment when we’re taking it, about being in our bodies.

Its about finding moments of quiet from external voices of what we should act like, look like.

Its about choosing to prioritize our own perceptions of our body over others.

Its about finding breadcrumbs that lead us back to ourselves.

Its about self-compassion.

Its about letting go.

The photo?  Its an awesome bonus.

But its not about only the photo.

The photo is the doorway to all of this.

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  • Rachel Krebs

    I so agree! There are definitely times when I’m not feeling very great when I begin the self-portraiture process, but many times this changes after I’ve taken a few photos and looked into the camera : ) It can certainly be a transformative process.ReplyCancel

  • So love this post! It is sometimes hard to push past the negative self-talk to take the picture in the first place. I will think of that time before the button is pressed differently now.ReplyCancel

  • I’ve been trying to explain this to a photographer friend (who actually took my wedding photos) but she doesn’t get it. Is pretty hostile to it and actually mocks those who take and post self portraits.ReplyCancel

  • So true! Beautifully written, Viv!ReplyCancel

I’m Speaking at The Right Brainers in Business Summit!


I’m a BIG fan of all things Jennifer Lee creates, especially her Right Brainers in Business Summit.  Every year it feels like a spark that helps shift my year into gear and I try to watch as many of the interviews as I can.

So I wanted to share this with you and invite you to come on over to the f*ree 4th annual Right-Brainers in Business Video Summit April 7th through April 18th.  There is no cost to sign up for the summit and the interviews are free to watch live (or you can watch a replay of it anytime later that day).  The interviews run from 10-11am PST. 

Jennifer is launching her second book this year during the summit…Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way and she’s inviting us to celebrate with her during the event.

I’m excited to share that I’ll be one of the speakers at the summit!

Join me live in the chat room on Friday, April 11th!  While the interview is running I’ll be hanging out in the chat and watching it alongside ya’ll!  I can’t wait to interact with you and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Grab your Free pass here!

Some of the things you’ll learn from this fabulous line-up include:

  • The power of thinking BIG, and leveraging your creativity and experience
  • How to make art that sells
  • How to create a highly profitable business, and work part-time
  • Advice on how to manage multiple moola-making methods
  • Using Pinterest effectively to grow your creative business
  • Why branding can get in your way – and why positioning is way more important

And the line-up of speakers is amazing:

  • Michael Port, New York Times Bestselling author of five books, and referred to as “an uncommonly honest author” by the Boston Globe and a “marketing guru” by The Wall Street Journal
  • Alexandra Franzen, writer, mentor, and founder of Alexandra Franzen.com
  • Alicia Forest, founder of Alicia Forest.com
  • Christine Kane, founder and president of Uplevel YOU™
  • Cory Huff, founder & Chief Monster Hunter at TheAbundantArtist.com
  • Lilla Rogers, founder of Lilla Rogers Studio, an international art agency
  • Marney Makridakis, founder of Artella Land
  • Megan Auman, jewelry and textile designer and founder of Designing an MBA
  • Melanie Duncan, founder of Melanie Duncan and Entrepreneuress Academy
  • Eeek….and me…Vivienne McMaster, photographer and founder of Be Your Own Beloved

Plus right when you sign-up you’ll get instant exclusive access to a special bonus interview that Jenn did with Andrea J. Lee, founder and owner of Wealthy Thought Leader. It’ll whet your entrepreneurial appetite as we gear up for the full-on creative feast during the live summit!

I can’t wait to “see” you there!

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