Every good and perfect gift::on keeping my motives pure......


{Every now and then someone will ask me about using one of my photos, or question why I don't apply a watermark to them. How I answer depends on who that person is, but usually I refer them to this post or others like it that explains my response. Yes, I am paid for the use of some of my photos, and for that I am most appreciative -- especially at this very moment, when I'm saving my pennies for a new laptop. My husband's computer, where most of my photos are stored, crashed, and I stepped on my laptop. I'm typing and editing photos through a screen that is criss-crossed with purple lines of various width. But most people who ask to use one of my photos either want them for their personal use or to share with others - and to that I say, "To God be the Glory." In light of a recent request, I thought I'd re-post my usual response.}

When Louis bought an inexpensive digital point and shoot camera, the end of my twenty-three years of homeschooling our children was on the horizon, and the empty nest years were in view. It was Louis' hope that a camera would help me fill the empty places that were sure to come in the days ahead.

Ten years and two cameras later, it seems that Louis' hopes have become a reality. Many of my photos have been used by both print magazines and online websites. My friend Robbi and I are working with a designer to prepare our book* with over two dozen of my photos for publication. And just this week, I've been ordering prints and considering frame options for four of my photographs that will hang in the hallway of the Hendry County Courthouse.

When an image of a tassel flower {captured with that inexpensive point and shoot camera} opened up on my computer screen and piqued my interest in nature photography those years ago, I had no clue or aspirations for where photography would take me. Clearly an amateur and without photoshop, I never considered a watermark on my photos, and that has not changed.  

Please hear my heart in this. The reasons for my decision to not watermark my photos are a reflection of my relationship with the Father who knows my heart and my needs. They are NOT an indictment against photographers who do, but an example of how God works in our individual lives to conform us to the image of Christ.

This is what the Holy Spirit says to me about my photos:

God is the creator of all that is good and beautiful. I might have an eye for uncovering and framing beauty, but even that is a gift from His hand. A watermark is used to claim ownership, and rightfully so, but I am only a steward of the gift. I'll carry nothing with me into eternity. I'm simply capturing what belongs to the Father.  
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1.17
God is glorified and I'm most satisfied when my needs are met in Him alone. One of the prayers I can count on God answering with a yes every time comes from Psalm 139: 
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 
God knows my heart and prompts me to check my motives. He knows my longing to be affirmed and noticed by others - to be loved and esteemed for what I do, and a watermark on my photos can be a way for me to say, look at me and what I can do. It isn't that God doesn't want us to encourage and recognize the gifts in others, but that He wants me to not look to and rely on others for that affirmation. He wants me to be completely satisfied by my relationship with Him and affirmed by knowing that I am fully loved - not for what I do, but for who I am in Christ.  

A watermark doesn't add anything of beauty to my photos. In fact, a watermark can be a distraction. If my motives are pure, I don't want those who see my photos to think, oh look - it's Pollywog Creek. I want others to be inspired to worship and be filled with awe and wonder at the power and beauty of our Creator God. 

What about you? Has God ever prevented you from doing something that is perfectly acceptable for others, but not for you?

*That book was printed last spring and is available to purchase here.