Can I tell you something that can make this new year so much better for you? More fun? Liberating even? Listen closely. Stop hiding from the camera (cell phone cameras too)! This tendency to shy away from getting your picture taken comes from that feeling, that misconception, that lie from the devil that you’re not pretty enough or handsome enough or thin enough or cool enough! No good, my friend! Read on to see if this is you. Honestly, you probably already know if it is, but read on anyway for some encouragement towards changing your ways.
When someone wants to take a picture of you, do you take cover behind your spouse or your kids? Do you make excuses about your appearance? How about statements about your weight? My last family session of 2020 was supposed to be for a mother, her kids, and her grandkids–or so I thought. But, her words to me when she arrived–“I’m just not happy with the way I look.” Because she was putting herself down, she missed it. She missed an opportunity to have professional photos done of the four of them–at Christmas time.
Every picture opportunity is just that–an opportunity. It’s the chance to capture a moment that will never come again. I wrote about this concept in my blog post, You’ve Had a Birthday! Book a Portrait Session. In it I describe how we change and grow and how we’re valuable at every stage and in every season of our lives. If you keep waiting to look different or to change in some way, you’ll miss a chance to celebrate and highlight you!
Are you usually the one snapping all the pictures of your friends and family? Instead of being in the photo, do you insist on taking it? My brother-in-law used this sly maneuver all the time. And, when he died, we didn’t have any photos of him from the last 35 years of his life. All we had were the photos of him in his early 20s–mind you, he looked like a young Clint Eastwood, but still. The man he evolved into was undocumented.
I was in danger of being one such person when I became a photographer. There I was asking other people to relax, to move their shoulders just a tad to the right, to bend one knee and send their hips back, and to smile with just their eyes while I photographed them. Yet, the idea of switching places with them terrified me. Then, I learned that most photographers and other business owners have to include photos of themselves on their sites and social media. When customers can see the entrepreneur, as I wrote about in the post, If You’re an Entrepreneur in 2020, Book a Portrait Session!, they feel like they know you. Getting over myself was necessary for my personal brand. But, what could I do to fight my fear? Well–
I went for it and started having my picture taken. But, before I was really comfortable on the other side of the camera, I took a few pictures like the one below. It was a really windy day, and I was having trouble keeping that curtain from covering my face. However, when I looked at the pictures I got, I realized that my hair having a little movement wasn’t a bad thing. So, I posted it on Instagram and didn’t hate it. Now, if I’m having my picture taken, I don’t wait for the wind to stop blowing. I tell the photographer to press that shutter–quickly. That little bit of confidence gave me another idea. I started to pose myself as though I was one of my clients. And, guess what? Those poses were flattering for me too. Halleluiah! I never would have known it because I was hiding from the camera! If you can have a couple of “go to” poses or preferred conditions for yourself, you’ll feel more comfortable with the camera–I promise. Stay tuned for my next post that’ll include three poses that work well for me.
It’s a new year! Embrace being you and smile big for the camera. Or don’t smile at all–whatever you prefer (once you choose your poses and your best look). Just stop hiding from the camera. And, while you’re at it, let someone else shoot those cell phone pictures and stop putting yourself down. If you hope to move forward in your life, it’s time to get comfortable with yourself. A great way to do that is to get comfortable seeing yourself digitally or on film or even better, in print! So, the one thing you absolutely have to say goodbye to this year is making excuses for why you’re not on the other side of a photographer’s lens–professional or otherwise. The world wants to see you! Accept it.