If you are an aspiring photographer hoping to turn pro, or even a hobbyist like myself, you've likely spent hours shooting and processing images, comparing your work to the work of pros, and finally concluding, “man I suck.” That’s how I’ve felt ever since I took up photography as a hobby in 2010. It’s not necessarily a bad way to feel as it keeps me grounded and pushes me to get better. However, it’s nice every once in a while to receive some validation that I don’t quite suck as much as I think. It’s especially nice when that validation comes from a source as prestigious as the Smithsonian. Read on to find out how I was able to get an image published in Air and Space magazine, as well as some tips I learned along the way.