Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Desire to Write

My hope, my fear in writing is to find love. Not a romantic kind of love, but more of an acceptance kind of love. Yes, I do not feel like I belong anywhere, to anyone - not even to my current family, and definitely not to my own mother. I fear that if I write about my life, my childhood, my mother would disown me for the second time.  I fear that people would think I was too damaged to be worthy of love. I fear my world would be lonely; lonelier than when my mother called me a disgrace because I didn’t understand about sex. But there is still that desire to write, to share the world of me, to show that I am not invisible and that I do have something worth writing, worth telling, worth reading.


Dreams don’t come true for me. Though I pray and wish and hope that they do, they don’t.  How cool would it be if they did? How wonderful would it be to be happy for a moment, to be happy to the point of fear – the fear of losing that feeling of ecstatic joy, the fear of waking up and knowing that it was just a dream.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kick Fear to the Curb –DAY 5

My boyfriend has to work late tonight and won’t be able to take me out for dinner. He won’t even be able to get to his home until past 11PM. Ding. Ding. Ding. Red Flag. Red Flag. 

My fear of being cheated on was screaming, “What? Are you sure you are working?”  

Don’t get me wrong. He has never cheated on me, but my fears put negative thoughts in my head.  He is a great boyfriend and treats me very well.

What I did the minute I heard the news that he will be “working late”, I turned on the radio to KLOVE and soaked in the worship music to drown out the bad thoughts.

This piece shows a little girl screaming, “forget about it”! Forget about the bad thoughts because Apostle Paul tells us to think of good thoughts.  

Philippians 4:8  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.”

I thought of photography, I thought of erasing the bad thoughts and thought of all the good things my boyfriend has done for me. He’s a great guy and I am happy to be with him.

Next time you have negative thoughts, ask yourself if this is true and think of only good and noble things.

Written to bless you by Linh Dang {Photographer, Artist, Writer}
Founder of FreedomCollage

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Kick Fear to the Curb –DAY 4

Today, I am stumped.  I saw a film called “2012 Obama’s America”. I fear for our Nation. I did not create a collage today, instead, I prayed for God to bring the right President who cares about America.

If you have seen this film, please comment what you think. Whether good or bad, I want to hear from both sides.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Kick Fear to the Curb –DAY 3

I have this fear of Rejection. When it comes to relationships, I am afraid of being hurt, so instead of kicking my fear to the curb, I kick the guy, the friend, the colleague to the curb and not face the obstacle head-on.

What does that mean to me? It means that I am afraid to share what I really think. What I really want. I’m afraid the person won’t like me for who I am if he/she knew how I really think. I have random thoughts from my childhood that are dark and soul-sucking. If people knew my childhood, they would be astonished that I didn’t grow up to become a drug addict or a prostitute. I was the lucky few, because I discovered Jesus.

Today, during my kickboxing class, I imagined myself kicking fear in the face. Punch. Punch. Punch. Left hook, right hook. Kick. Kick. It felt so good. I began to laugh hysterically.

How did I get to this point? This Sunday, at church, we learned about Flagging.  Caleb Brundidge taught us on worship and flagging for the Lord. My heart, mine and body were filled with God’s love that I had no worries, no fear of being rejected by anyone. 1 John 4:18, There is no fear in love. But perfect love drive out fear. God’s perfect love drove out my fear of rejection.

When I learned how to flag, I sweated, I felt free, I felt I was giving myself up to God as a sacrifice.  Once I gave over to God, there was nothing left to fear, because my life is no longer my own. So when I went into the kickboxing studio, I had the courage to visualize my fear of rejection and punched it until I had nothing left.  I know, it sounds like of violent, but FEAR is not from God. It’s from the enemy and our job is to kick the enemy down before he takes us down.

This collage has the fire of hell flowing through darkness. If we keep ourselves in fear, we will stay in the dark. But because of Jesus, I turned into a butterfly, a symbol for hope. There is hope in my life as long as I have God.

Written to bless you by Linh Dang {Photographer, Artist, Writer}
Founder of FreedomCollage

Friday, October 5, 2012

Kick Fear to the Curb –DAY 2

Another way of facing your fear is by putting yourself where you can practice overcoming it.  One of my fears is being vulnerable.  I am afraid to let people in because they will see my dysfunction and all the baggage –even if they are packed colorfully and neatly.

I face my fear of vulnerability by allowing people to open the suitcase. But I do it one at a time, small suitcase first – of course. When you open one baggage and the person doesn’t run away, you feel a little safer to give them another to open. Then next thing you’ll know, all the suitcases are open and the truth of your past, who you are, it is out in the open and you have nothing to hide. Fears live in the dark, when you bring it to the light, it can’t survive.

Work on your next collage and let go of the fear. It’s like peeling one layer of an onion at a time until it’s all gone.

With this collage below, I cut up a perfect picture of a young girl into smaller pieces. This represents my inner self- a little girl.  The World can be curl and will cut you down to pieces. If you noticed the face below, the nose is missing, the hair and ears are missing. This is me putting myself back together the best I can. I am not completely whole, but I am not hideous either. The lamppost represents the light I carry - the Bible and my love for God. Notice how colorful the background and luggage are? Though life can through you curve-balls, you can still make that home run with joy in your heart.

Written to bless you by Linh Dang {Photographer, Artist, Writer}
Founder of FreedomCollage

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Kick Fear to the Curb -DAY 1

Using FreedomCollage to build courage and confidence.

FreedomCollage is simple. It’s a process using found images in magazines and old books that call to your soul and spirit.  There is healing putting the images together to tell a story or to show you your fears.  Once you know your fears, you can face it and kick it to the curb. A new sense of freedom will surely fall on you. Part of overcoming fear, you need to put your focus on things that are good and positive.

The worse kinds of fear is not fear from without, but fear from within. FreedomCollage is to help overcome the fear from within. It was created for inner healing.

Start by making a list of what you are afraid of. Some people have the fear of being alone, being without a boyfriend. Some are afraid of disappointing their parents. Some are afraid of failure. What are you afraid of? Make a list and pick the one fear you would like to work on first. I have the fear of rejection, of failure, of public speaking.

The FreedomCollage I worked on today was a simple one. I want to kick my fear of public speaking. When it comes to public speaking, I am afraid people will think I am stupid because I might not stand tall, or say the right thing at the right time.

Everyday, I will create a FreedomCollage on fears I want to kick or dreams I want to come true.  I will share my process and my discovery.  I hope you will leave comments with your self-discovery, too.

Supplies Needed:
Images from magazines
Encouraging words or verses from Bible

I am a visual person, so besides praying, seeing the words and pictures help me as well.

Below is my FreedomCollage for kicking my fear of public speaking.  I found words of encouragement from magazines and other images I thought suit my needs. Let you spirit guide you as to where you should place the images and words. It is healing when you allow yourself to be in control and free to let go of your fear.


2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Written to bless you by Linh Dang {Photographer, Artist, Writer}
Founder of FreedomCollage

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tricks to Making Your Clients Look Thinner in Photos

I spent almost a week asking other photographers how they make their clients look thinner in photos. I typed it up at my website:  http://www.danggoodphotography.com/blog.html

Please visit it and let me know if you have anything to add or any comments.

Thanks for stopping by.

Written by Linh Dang

Monday, July 2, 2012

Five "Musts" for Stunning Portraits

Must #1: Know the fundamental concept of “Exposure Triangle”. 

Must #2: Know that it’s NOT the camera that takes great photos; it’s YOU, the photographer. 

Must #3: Know the correct poses for each body type.  

Must #4: Understand Lighting and Shadows.

Must #5: Keep a Photography Journal.

I wrote in detail of the five "MUSTS" for stunning portraits on my website blog: www.DangGoodPhotography.com 

Please feel free to leave a comment. Thanks for visiting!

Written to bless you by Linh Dang {Photographer, Artist, Writer}
Founder of Freedom Collage

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Finding Your Niche

As artists, we are always trying to find something that will make us different from the rest. Once we claim that Jesus is our God, His Blood makes us holy and clean again. Holy means to be set apart; which means we are already different from the rest. All we really need to do is follow the passion God has already placed in us and we will create that niche. 

In the meantime, below are a few ideas to get the creative juice flowing. When I plan on painting, making a collage, creating a monoprint or preparing for a photo shoot, I do the following:
  1.  I pray and ask God to guide me, guide my hands and my eyes. I want to see what He sees.
  2.  I study other people’s work for the technical side of it. Why does this piece appeal to me? What is     different about it compared to the others? If I don’t know, I ask God to help me understand.
  3. I visit sites like Pinterest, ShutterStock, istockphoto to see what people like and what is considered good.  There are a lot out there; you just need to see which site suits your style best.
  4. On days I don’t have a photo shoot scheduled; I take my camera with me and force myself to stick with a theme. The theme can be anything: taking photos of walls, doors or windows.  I love shadows, so I had a day where I only took photos of shadows.  I shoot what I love; it is more fun and less stressful that way. And I don’t worry about messing up; it’s part of the learning process.
  5.        I shoot with my heart, eyes and ears open to/for anything.
      Written to bless you by Linh Dang {Photographer, Artist, Writer}
Founder of FreedomCollage

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ways of a Secure Woman

With this new business, I got a little insecure and worried that people won’t like my work. So, I got a book by Beth Moore, “So Long Insecurity”. 

 Below is what I learned. I hope this blesses you.

The Grace of God forms us completely so there shouldn’t be any insecurity in us. God won’t force security on us. It’s up to us and God to be set free of insecurity. Insecurity does not improve or help us with anything. Insecurity is unbelief. We don’t believe God is who He says He is and that we are not who He says we are. In Ephesians 4:1, Paul urges us to live a life worthy of all calling. We have a calling on our lives! We are supposed to be set aside from the others. We are meant to be free and secured. Grace is to form us completely new.

Victory or Defeat resides in the mind. (Isaiah 43:18-19) We need to memorize scriptures so we can be free. (Ephesians 4:22)

There are five statements that describe a secure woman. To be secure:
  1. We are saved from ourselves. Insecurity is narcissistic. The word insecurity itself means = A human being curved in upon self. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, It’ll go up and out instead of curving back to ourselves. Insecurity is a form of pride. And God hates a prideful person. We are loved and valued by god. Security will make us think less often of ourselves and more about how we can reach out and help others.
  2. We get to know Truth and walk out Truth. Truth is Jesus. The more we live withdrawn from God, our hearts become darker and we come addicted to things (i.e. alcohol, gambling, bad relationships) many try to manage strong hold instead of just being free. We desire bad things because we believe in the lie (If I can have this, be this, obtain this, then I will be… ) This is a lie. The truth is that when we are in Christ, we are set free of all this. We are able to walk knowing that we are already valued. Jesus values us with a value we can’t even fathom. The One who thinks we are valuable is not only the most powerful, but is also the most generous in the Universe. With God, nothing is impossible. We have nothing to fear, and we should not be insecure.
  3. We are clothed with intention. Proverbs 31:25, clothed with dignity and strength. Every day of our lives, we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. We are made new every day. We have to be intentional that we will walk as a new person in Christ every morning. When we are filled with God’s Presence, insecurity has no room to stay. Once we have a strong focused mind, we will be dangerous for God. Christ is the greatest adventure of life. Once we give our life completely to God, we will have the greatest outcome. We will have a security we can’t even imagine. There is no high like the Most High.
  4. We are rebound by Love (Ephesians 4:32 - Eph. 5:2). Living a life of love as the dear beloved child of God. We need to be imitators of God, then we will be able to love others even when they don’t love us back. Luke tells us to “love even our enemies”. Everything we do always come back to love.
  5. We are exceptional in life because we are created by God. We matter and we are significant, because we belong to God. As His daughters, when the secular world looks at us, they need to say, “Wow! No one can handle that, except you, [put your name here] ! Every woman is threaten by others, except you, [put your name here]. No woman was nice to me, except you, [put your name here] . No woman handle aging well, expect you, [put your name here].” Now that’s what it means to be exceptional!
Go memorize Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Every time I feel insecure about my work, I read the 5 statements above, then I pray for God to fill me up and use me as His vessel. We do our best work when we are free to be us and to show the love and truth that God has given us.

Written to bless you by Linh Dang {Photographer, Artist, Writer}
Founder of FreedomCollage

The Last Time I Saw Your Face

I believe I have always been spiritual. Most Asians are. Spirits and superstitions were engrained in my DNA since the day I was born.

On the morning I arrived to earth, my grandmother spat in my face, “Pah, a girl. She is so ugly! Look at that pale skin, not even a mother could love that. Who will want to take her off our hands?” Grandmother asked the servants in the room with a fa├žade of disbelief.

“A girl; is it worth sending words to my husband? Should we call him from the war so he can come look at her? It’s not a boy. I don’t want to waste his time.” My mother said in her weak nineteen-year-old voice.

My father, a soldier on the American side, was fighting his own people for freedom in Vietnam. 

Four days after my birth, my father snuck back from the shooting and blown bodies to hold a new life in his arms. Through the night, he held me as he stared at my face until it was twilight. To increase his chance of survival, he left when the sky was pitch black, when it was hard to see the silhouette of a person walking into the jungle. 

That was the last time he held me, the last time he saw my face, the last time he called my name.

Written by Linh Dang

Thursday, June 21, 2012

FREE Organizing Template for the Business Woman

I created an organizing template for women who have a job, but also want to start their own business.  If you want the pdf version, please write to linh@danggoodphotography.com and I will send it to you.

I hope this blesses you.

Created by Linh Dang {Photographer, Artist, Writer}
Founder of FreedomCollage

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Passion is Beauty

'The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy’ by Yves Saint Laurent.  I couldn’t agree more. Jesus wants us to be passionate for life and for the things we do. Either be hot or cold, but don’t be lukewarm. When you come up with an idea, make that decision to give it your all.

Besides, loving Jesus, part of my passion is photography.  I give my photography business a good chunk of my time. It is still at the beginning stage, but I need to make it a success and the only way to do that, I have to be passionate about what I do. Part of that means taking workshop from the photographers I admire. 

Recently, I took a workshop on producing magazine quality photos with striking poses and Photoshop. Then, I took another workshop on special effects to make the photos look extremely interesting.

Yesterday, I met with one of the models and she told me a modeling agency likes my work. They want to print the photos I took of her and asked if I would consider working with their models. I am really excited! 

Today, I want to share what not to wear in a photo shoot:

  • Busy patterns. It can make you look like you weigh more and it’s distracting to the eyes.
  • No pure white: This causes glare and can make you look washed out.
  • Avoid BIG logos, shirts with wordings, BIG numbers: These are all distracting. Modeling agencies want to notice you, so you shouldn’t compete with your shirt for their attention.
  • In group photos, make sure everyone color coordinates, so the focus is on the family instead of the one person who has the odd color out of the whole group.
  • Bring props, your favorite hat, jewelry, shoes, umbrella, etc.  It makes the photo interesting and fun.

Okay, leave a comment if you have anything to add or if you just wanted to say hi!

Written by Linh Dang {Photographer, Artist, Writer}
Founder of FreedomCollage

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Big WHY

Most business students know what I am about to share already, but since I was an art student, I did not know.  When you design your business, you want to keep the end result in mind. You want to know what you want from the business before you start anything. Your business needs to give you freedom to have more time and more money.  

As children of God, He wants us to use our brain and talents to be a blessing to others.  Part of that is creating a business that will do the following:

  •         You need a business that needs less of your involvement, not more. You need a business that can run on its own, so you can have more time to do ministry, spend it with friends/family, preach the gospel.

  •           You need a business that will benefit everyone who comes into contact with your business, so people would want you to be a success. Say you own a coffee shop; when your business is in high demand, you will need to buy more coffee, use more electricity, etc. This will help the economy growing. If you provide other people business, they will continue to cheer you on. Simple as that.
How do you do that?

You need to be completely clear on why you got into the business in the first place. Who is going to benefit from you having this business? If you are the only person benefiting from it, then I wouldn’t recommend you start it.

God wants us to be a blessing and having a business will help bless others by creating more jobs or help the economy to keep flowing. Maybe you have a great passion for coffee and this is your way of helping others express their passion as well. Whatever the reason, make sure that your number one reason isn’t to make money. If that is your only reason, forget it. You are setting yourself up to fail. Your motivation has to have a better purpose than that in order for others to want to support you and for you to want to continue during those days that seem to never end.

Okay, so your homework is to figure out your “why”. Why do you want to start that business? 

The “why” for my photography is because I want to help capture the true beauty in you, the beauty that Jesus sees.

Written to bless you by Linh Dang  {Photographer, Artist, Writer}
Founder of FreedomCollage