So you hate having your picture taken...
Are you the person who tends to melt into the background when someone pulls a camera out? Or maybe you have a professional take your kids' photos every year but avoid family photos like the plague? Don't worry - you are not alone. As a matter of fact, most of the adults I photograph have some serious anxiety and worries prior to their session.
I wanted to take some time to explore WHY so many of us fear being photographed and then shed some light on how you can overcome those fears and start documenting your existence and memories with the people you love most in this world.
1 - Your Mirror
Surprised? It's true. Your mirror has created an unrealistic expectation of how you actually look! Let me explain.
According to study done by psychologists Theodore H. Mita, Marshall Dermer and Jeffrey Knight in 1977, people have a certain expectation of what they look like based on one very inaccurate source: the mirror.
You see - we’re used to seeing ourselves in the mirror and a mirror reverses our image. When that image is reversed (how you see yourself in a photograph), it isn't what you are used to seeing and just doesn’t look quite right.
This also explains the love and popularity of the selfie. Unlike a photograph taken from someone else at a distance, selfies are just mirrors that you can access at any time with the touch of a button on a mobile device.
It is important to understand that your mirror (or selfie) may not be the best representation of yourself.
2 - Previous Photographic Experiences
Chances are you've had some pretty horrific pictures taken of you throughout your life. Ones you would prefer to rip up into pieces, delete and forget that they ever existed. Trust me - every single person out there does.
Most of the photos we have taken are candids and while candids are great, they often lead to unflattering poses and weird expressions. Even photos that we know are being taken can lead to odd, fake smiles. Add to that someone who isn't trained on the art of photographing people and it can lead to some very uncomplimentary images.
Without going into all the technical details, there is a whole lot that goes into creating a flattering portrait - things like lens distortion, distance, angle, clothing, light, composition, posing and understanding concerns all play a part. Chances are the folks who have taken your photograph in the past had no idea. And not ALL professional photographers have the ability to create a flattering portraits.
When hiring your photographer, make sure you view their portfolio. Find someone who other people recommend and bring up any concerns or experiences you may have had in the past. You need to be comfortable and satisfied with their answers before you hire them.
3 - Wardrobe, Hair & Makeup
Your style and wardrobe reflect and affect your mood and overall confidence, all in which affect your portrait! So being candidly photographed while wearing a pair of sweat pants and a ponytail and being knowingly photographed wearing a put-together outfit with styled hair and makeup will create two very different photographs. Confidence plays a very large part in the outcome in any portrait. Confidence is beauty, beauty is confidence. Don't underestimate this power!
It is important to find a photographer who provides guidance when it comes to wardrobe, hair and makeup - this shows that they know and understand this concept. Many photographers even provide these professional services as part of their session.
4 - Lack of Direction
Have you been to modeling school? No? Ahhh, that's alright - most of us haven't. But guess what - modeling is no easy task. It's actually a whole lot of work and most people don't realize it until after spending some time in front of a camera! Models not only know a lot about posing and expression, but they are deeply intimate with their bodies and know how to work them to look ridiculously amazing when a shutter is clicking away in front of them.
But here's the thing - you don't need to be a model to have amazing photographs taken - but what you do need is a photographer who can confidently and clearly direct you into flattering poses and elicit genuine expressions from you.
5 - Insecurities & Anxiety
This one is a big one. We all have things about ourselves that we don't like. Whether it's our nose, our profile, our knees. Trust me, even the most beautiful people in the world have something that they wish they could change. It's also probably the thing you focus on whenever you see a photograph of yourself.
The best way to address this is to actually inform your photographer. A good portrait photographer will listen to your concerns and find ways to camouflage or disguise them.
One of the biggest worries of women clients is that they always have a "double chin" in photographs. But you know what - once you let your photographer know that you are worried about it they should be able to provide you with some simple tips that will reduce or eliminate it! Another top insecurity is belly bulge and there are a bunch of other trick to address that.
But in order for your photographer to address these things you need to be upfront and honest. You need to TELL them, because no matter how great the photographer, they are not mind-readers. (This is actually one of the reasons I require a consultation.) It's a great opportunity to share all the concerns you may have not only about the session, but about YOU!
Once those concerns are voiced and your photographer can share their techniques for addressing them your anxiety will diminish and you will be able to actually enjoy your session!
Don't fear the camera! If you are hesitant, chances are you just haven't had a great experience in the past. At Fotoplicity every single one of these concerns are addressed. Fotoplicity provides detailed consultations, offers additional professional services (wardrobe, hair and makeup) and provides directed, yet fun photo sessions that are memorable and laid back.
Want to learn more? Click the button below to schedule a phone or in-person consultation.