Photography and Body Image

nikon-d80-camera_with text

Back in March, I linked to Anna’s post in which she discussed what she learned from taking a photo of herself every day for a month. And even before that, a friend sent me this post about feeling too fat to be photographed. Both women’s perspectives have been rattling around in my brain ever since. Ultimately, both came out in favor of photography as a positive force for preserving memories, self-reflection, and even body positivity.

At my last office job, I was the staff photographer. Whenever a new employee came on board, it was my responsibility to connect with her/him for a headshot that would be used for internal communications. Wanna know how many of these new hires enjoyed being photographed? That’s right: ZERO. It didn’t matter how old, young, fat, skinny, or traditionally attractive they were, they all loathed the process. Looking back, I wish I’d thought to poll them because I’m sure they harbored a variety of reasons for fearing the lens.

For five of the six years this blog has been up and running, Husband Mike has taken near-daily photos of me. Full-body, head-to-toe shots that show my face and figure in all its perfectly imperfect glory. He was a professional photographer long before we met, so I knew going in that I’d be featured in lots of photos. Couldn’t have predicted it would be this many or that I’d be posting them to a website. As you can imagine, I’ve grown used to being photographed myself, and don’t much mind it. Most of the time. But I can see definite pros and cons, learning opportunities and self-image pitfalls inherent in being regularly (or even irregularly) photographed. Such as:

Photographs offer a different perspective

PRO: What looks great/awful in the mirror can look awful/great in a still image. When I do style consults, I photograph all the outfits we create so my clients can see what they look like from a perspective that differs from their own. They are a fabulous teaching tool when it comes to understanding figure, proportion, and flattery.

CON: Photographs are fixed, so it can be hard to determine if they are a “truer” representation of how something/someone looks than the real, living thing. Additionally seeing a photograph that doesn’t align with your internal ideas of how something/someone looks can be incredibly jarring and upsetting.

Photographs capture moments in time

PRO: Well, you want some moments captured. It’s that whole memory-preservation thing. And it can be rewarding and eye-opening to see snapshots of your former self and consider how you felt at the time. Most women I know have shared stories about looking at photos from high school or college and realizing that they were lovely, radiant creatures back then yet still hated their bodies. Also many of us were awkward as youngsters, and it can feel good to know you’ve outgrown some gawk.

CON: Some moments get captured against your will. In fact, “captured” is all too apt in these cases as bad photos can feel like emotional jail cells.

Photographs remind us what humans look like

PRO: I’m assuming that, like me, you don’t have professional hair and makeup before and professional Photoshop retouching afterwards. The photos we take of ourselves and each other are great reminders that magazine and online photos we see of the rich and famous have been altered beyond the humanity threshold. It can be good to see photos of regular people – even ourselves – because they remind us that people have pores, fat rolls, flyaway hairs, and all sorts of other horrifying things that celeb and ad photos make us believe are heinous.

CON: Comparing a photo of yourself to a professionally retouched photo can lead to nasty, comparative thoughts. It all depends on your mood.

My biggest hang-up about being photographed? Total lack of control. I trust HM to take the best possible photos of me, but am much less trusting of other photographers. And if HM approaches me with a camera before I’ve showered or on a day when I’m especially cranky or at a time when I’m just not in the mood to be photographed, I get downright hostile. For me, I see this reaction as being linked to my own utterly false belief that I control how others see me. Minus the camera, I feel in control of my image. Once the shutter starts clicking, I realize that lighting, body position, and countless other uncontrolled factors may affect the finished, permanent image.

Interestingly, I’d say I was less anxious about being photographed before the advent of digital. When someone started snapping photos with a film camera, I knew it’d be ages before I could gauge my photographic fate on a glossy print, so I just went with it. Now, I need to see the shot right away. And, of course, knowing that digital photos get Facebooked, Tweeted, and Instagrammed at lightning speed makes the process all the more perilous.

Despite all this, I do agree with Anna and Teresa. I think that if the average person were to undertake a daily self-portrait project, she would round it out feeling happier and more confident than when she began. We are our own harshest critics, and seeing an alternate presentation of self can quiet that critical voice. Also fear of photography breeds avoidance of photography because so much of what we’re dreading is the act itself. Allowing ourselves to become accustomed to regular photographs makes the process feel less scary and fraught with expectation.

And because of my own experiences with my own image and its relationship to my self-esteem, I think that photography can be a helpful tool for seeing myself. When I’m feeling awful about my body, I don’t want to look at it. I hide from mirrors, cameras, anything that will shove my own image at me. But looking at myself is vital because – for me – it breeds acceptance, tenderness, motivation, and care. To look at myself is to confront myself. Photos force that. For those of us who struggle to feel good about our physical selves, this can be downright terrifying. But unless we see ourselves, how can we be ourselves?

How do you feel about being photographed? What do you love about it? Hate about it? Would you ever undertake a daily self-portrait project? Do you agree that lack of control is part of what breeds photo fear? Are you more anxious about photography in the age of digital cameras and social media?

Image courtesy Nikon.

Originally posted 2013-05-22 06:35:10.

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33 Responses to “Photography and Body Image”

  1. Jennifer

    I’m struggling with this right now. I’m trying to start a style blog but can’t figure out how to take proper photos. I can take good photos myself but I make a weird face when I’m not the one looking through the lens. Sure I can post photos of me standing in a mirror with the camera over my face but that’s just not nice enough for a blog is it? The blog is up and ready to go, I have a long list of fab outfits but no decent photos.

    • LinB

      Some bloggers decide to only showing themselves from the neck down, headless in every shot. It does force you to focus on the fashions, and once you realize that the decapitation is entirely intentional, you don’t even think about it any more. You would not be alone in your headlessness. You could name it “The Headless Blogger.” “Off with Her Head.” Something like that. Or not (please choose this option).

    • Heidi

      The solution for me is to take *lots* of photos. From many choices, there is usually at least one good one. And now I find it harder to pick just that one.

  2. Rachelle

    This is one of my biggest struggle, when I started blogging my photography skills were slim to none. I had to learn to take better pictures and also learn to love getting photograph. I believe that often how you feel will transpires in your pictures. that’s why now when I’m having a bad day or do not feel my best I do not take outfit pics. Doing this blogging thing for a year now I think have been beneficial to the way I feel about myself, I’m more comfortable in front of a camera. I think it’s about being kind to yourself and accepting yourself as you are RIGHT NOW.

  3. LinB

    I despise being photographed — always have, from childhood. I do not photograph well. (Others have told me that, many times.) My face goes all flat, and weird splotches, that are not visible in person, show up on my skin. On the other hand, I’ve seen my daughter in person and thought to myself, “Oh, dear, she’s having a bad day. I’ll be gentle with her.” Then I’ll see the photo she posts to Facebook later the same day, and have to ask myself when she had time for hair, make-up, and a professional portraitist to snap the shot. Worst of all is when she takes an armslength snap of us both together: it’s like Dorian Gray posing next to his picture. Sigh.

  4. Jackie

    I absolutely hate seeing myself in photographs! However, as the mother of two daughters, I’ve been really thinking about how to be a good body-image role model for my girls, who are fast approaching adolescence. I’m unhappy with my weight/fitness level right now, so I’ve started going to the gym, and talking to my girls about it. However, I have also been thinking about a month-long photo-a-day project, to try and do exactly what you’ve described here: confront myself, and treat myself with more tenderness, care, appreciation, and love.

  5. ModernSauce

    I DESPISE being photographed and won’t even allow other people to post photos of me on Facebook because I’m a control freak (and also not on Facebook so it’s easier to make this request). People say I photograph well but it’s only about 10% of the time when the light hits just right and Jupiter is in a certain position in the sky that they turn out. The rest of the 90% are bad and then people question why I look sooo bad in them when I can take such good photos at other times. It’s just planetary alignment and lucky smizing, friends.

    But to overcome this I’ve started having a LOT of photoshoots alone to really face my fear – my fear of facing ME. Avoiding photographs means every time I am photographed and I see myself it’s a surprise. And no one wants to be surprised by their appearance. It’s been hard but good for me. Now my iPhone is littered with hundreds of selfies. Gawd forbid they are ever discovered.

    But yay for gratuitous selfies and for reminding us what we as humans look like!

  6. Stephanie

    I struggle with this too. I have a sewing blog and have no problem with pics of my kids but when I make myself something its a challenge. My husband tries but he tends to catch me changing poses and from very bad angles. He tries but he is not a photographer or even the one in the family who takes most of the pictures. I’m often tempted to throw garments I’ve made away after a photo shoot even when they look good in the full length mirror. I don’t but it can be a huge ego blow. At the same time I like that this means there are photos of me so my kids will know what I looked like at various points in their lives.

  7. bubu

    I have never enjoyed being photographed. At some level, it is just aesthetic: I sensed early on that more angular people with darker features, or more contrasts (light skin, dark hair) photographed better — I remember photographing a couple friends in high school with long brown hair and loving how the texture and light effects of their hair, juxtaposed against dark eyes and light skin, came out. As someone with round features, blue eyes, fair skin and light hair, I just felt photos never did me justice, it all sort of blended into a blob. However, becoming a parent has changed my feelings and chiefly made me feel that it’s not about me — I realize now that I absolutely cherish pictures of my own parents at different stages of their lives, at the age I am now, and 10 years ago, and all the funny fashions and haircuts that come and go with the decades. And for that reason, I allow myself to be photographed now, more or less as a gift to my children when they grow up and want to see what mom and dad looked like “back then.” I also look back now at my high school self and can see the pain and unhappiness in her eyes, and realize just how far I have come, and that is a good thing too. Life is imperfect and bumpy and sometimes sad and sometimes happy, and photographs taken over a lifetime can reflect all of that.

  8. Lucy

    I have pretty good self esteem, but nothing destroys it faster than seeing a photo of myself that I haven’t taken. In my head I’m quite slim and smiley and my hair is shiny, but in photographs the people I’m standing next to look exactly how I see them day to day, whereas I look about 15lb heavier, 2 inches shorter, and have an extra chin. It can take me a good few hours to stop feeling upset after seeing a photo of myself and torturing myself over whether I’m deluding myself about my appearance or I’m just not photogenic. I still don’t know.

    • Robin

      I am the same way, Lucy. I worry that I delude myself about how I look. On my own blog, I have tried to steer away from a lot of the apologizing for how I look that I see in other blogs, and carry on photographing myself despite being heavier than I’d like. But I have some photos that I have posted that I have not been happy with at all, but just didn’t say anything.

      • LinB

        There are even mirrors in my daily life that make me look better or worse than the woman inside my head! The big one in my bathroom at home? I look like myself. The big one in the bathroom at work? I look 20 pounds heavier, and my hair looks lighter. There are mirrors along the walls at work that each show a different woman, if you are brave enough to look at yourself as you pass them by.

  9. DEE

    I don’t mind being photographed, maybe because I usually photograph okay. I will say I love digital photography because you can see right away if the picture is any good and take another if its not. (regardless if I am in the shot or not). I am not usually around folks that are snapping candid pics for facebook. etc, but my kids love to catch me in those odd close up freeze frames with their phones – those are NOT flattering!
    I have often wondered about how we see ourselves one way in the mirror, and then in a photo, and the images don’t “match” – I will think “how do others see ME?” Like I do, or like in the photo, or even a different way? Another aspect of photography that I find somewhat fascinating is people that are especially photogenic, or the opposite, quite attractive in “person” but not in photographs. I have seen individuals that were not traditionally attractive but who photograph very well. I have wondered, is it helpful to your self esteem if you look much better in photos than in real life? And what about the opposite? If you always think you look “bad” in photos but not in real life how does it affect your overall self esteem?

  10. Aziraphale

    No, I’m not a fan. I don’t dread the lens, but I avoid being photographed if I can make a reasonably subtle escape. Mostly this is because the camera sees what it sees, and captures everything from the great to the downright ugly. And most people have a few angles that are downright ugly, like if they’re frozen in time mid-sentence, or mid-chew, or something like that. Even bad lighting can do it. I always feel a little sorry for whatever celebrities happen to be the current objects of vilification by the media, because it seems like magazines go out of their way to find and print comically unflattering pictures of these otherwise comely people.

    Anyway. My point is, I don’t love seeing unflattering pictures of myself, and a significant portion of them are. A glance at a bad snapshot makes me feel suddenly self-conscious. Even a good one does, for that matter. I draws my attention to my physical appearance more than anything else does, and I think spending too much time thinking about how I look is, frankly, unproductive and vain. I like how I look when I see myself in the mirror. I’m happy. Why spoil that by taking pictures that might alter my perception of myself?

  11. Mikhaela Reid

    Such perfect timing for you to write this! I’ve been in the midst of the Me Made May blog challenge where you have to photograph yourself wearing garments you sewed or knit every day for a month and I’ve been thinking about this issue a lot.

    It’s been a mixed bag.

    On the one hand, I feel incredibly self-conscious and uncomfortable… I find myself taking 20 or more photos sometimes of the same outfit with slightly different poses and just picking apart my appearance to shreds — (Oh, is my stomach sticking out in that one? Does my neck look funny? Do I look too posed? Ugh, my hemline is tilted, someone will think I sewed that wrong… is there one damn photo where I actually look pretty?)

    On the other hand I have been letting go and reminding myself it is OK to not look “pretty” in every photo, and that there is nothing wrong with any part of my body… I really love when other bloggers post photos of themselves where they don’t look 100% done or made up or “pretty”, so I’m forcing myself to do the same.

    I also find that it has inspired me to really appreciate my me-made clothes more, and pick out outfits that are more flattering, more put-together and more colorful—and make me feel more self-confident overall during the day (except for during those moments I am actually looking at the photos themselves). I’ve definitely been wearing lipstick and heels more, too.

    And I’ve gotten some really nice compliments on some of the outfits (I don’t usually do outfit posts since I’m a sewing/knitting blogger) and have been feeling good about my style.

    We’ll see how I feel when the month is up!

  12. Olga Christensen

    I can totally relate to this as I hate being photographed! It’s because I am a fat person and I hate exposing my love handles. However, sometimes I like the results of my photos especially when they don’t show my large arms and my huge tummy! Sometimes, there are nice photos of me. It all boils down to angles. If you know which angle works for you, you can keep using it to make sure you look good in photos. It’s a good idea to take pictures of yourself on a daily basis. This can not only develop your self-confidence but it also helps you become aware of your weight problems and lead you to decide to make improvements or changes in your lifestyle to achieve your ideal weight thus look better in photos.

  13. Versatile Style by Tracey

    I have been struggling with the fact that the mirror isn’t acccurate, the camera isn’t eighter. I am trying to determine my goal weight based on photos and recently went to lunch with a friend who hadn’t seen me over the past year of my weight loss but does read my blog daily… She herself is a photography student and was in awe that I looked thinner in person… So how am I ever suppose to find that happy place in my weight loss journey if what I see on my blog isn’t accurate??
    Since I don’t like photos in shorts… I think I am going to use that as my guage and of course a measuring tape…

  14. Bernice

    I was just thinking about this the other day because I have a friend who looks great in every single picture taken of her and she poses in the exact same way every single time. I have no idea how she does it but she tilts her head toward the camera in precisely the same flattering angle every single time. Not so, me: pictures at all angles, flattering and not, abound! I could never garner the discipline to pose for every picture that way and hence have jillions of pics out there that I would never use for my FB profile!!!!

  15. D

    I’ve never really had a problem with photos, and now that I take outfit photos fairly regularly, I generally like posing for the camera. I can understand people fearing the lack of control, but I like it when photographers that are not myself take pictures. Not to say that I always look good in pictures- far from it- but I usually find it kind of funny when I look terrible. Seeing pictures of me and my friends playing roller derby has really contributed to the “I look so horrible it is funny” thought. We make faces, we get hit and fall, we express some pretty strong emotions. In the end, it is a picture of me enjoying my life, so I’m okay with it.

  16. Gracey at Fashion for Giants

    I actually hate being photographed. If it’s for the blog and I have my same friend taking the pictures day after day, then I’m okay. But, new people taking my blog photos or anyone else taking a photo not for my blog? I don’t like it at all. Mostly because people don’t give me time to collect myself; it’s like they want to take a picture of me where I look jowly and/or wall-eyed. I know that’s considered a “candid” shot, but why would you want to take that picture of someone if it’s going to stress them out.

    Body-wise, some pictures are better than others depending on the angles and I know that and don’t sweat it too much. I also think I probably look better in motion, but I’m not going to do a video of me running around for my daily outfits, so I accept the photos as is. They really don’t make me feel bad about my body; my face is where I get sort of shrieky.

  17. Ashe

    One of the best things that happened to me during college was going through “My Cindy Sherman” phase. I was constantly experimenting with club fashions and make-up, so would spend many nights creating characters of myself and photographing it. It also coincided with extreme weight loss, so it was a great way to explore and understand “how I looked.” I’ve often thought about revisiting it, if only for myself, because of the clarity and insight it brought to me about the faces I make, the way my body looks and moves.

    I think because of that phase, I kind of just suck it up and grin when someone is photographing me. I don’t always like having my photo taken (oddly, I hate having to take outfit photos; I don’t mind candid, fun shots), but it’s kind of inevitable that it will happen. Bad photos happen too– I can’t always control that (or people sharing them!), but at least we’re sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly (but real)?

  18. Nadine

    I used to be much more self conscious of having any photos taken of me, but after time, and lots and lots of photographs I am much more comfortable. I have noticed as well that my pictures are turning out much better the more relaxed I am becoming with being photographed. It has taken about 4 to 5 years though.

  19. Sarah

    I’ve always hated being photographed! I can remember dreading picture day ever since I was in kindergarten getting teased about my overbite.

    For me, I just don’t think photos capture what I like about myself. I see photos of myself and I look like a stranger. I don’t look like the person I see in the mirror every day. I don’t think I have ever looked attractive or beautiful in a photograph, because physically I am not particularly attractive or beautiful. I am those things on the inside, I hope, but I don’t think a static image of me smiling reflects what I actually convey and feel when I smile. Does that make sense?

    I do try to step outside of myself and just bear it when I have to be photographed, or when refusing a photo would make me look like an ass. I actually just got a new driver’s licence on Friday, and I have to say, it is so bad I could not even believe it was me. I look like a deranged serial killer with a really fat face. First time ever I didn’t smile for one, and I will regret it for the next 6 years. Oh well!

  20. Kaisa

    I don’t mind if people take photos of me. Of course I look silly on some and all that. Maybe I am okay with it ‘cos in my late teens I hanged out with friends who took photos of everything. So I just adapted to be being the subject at random times. However, I am a hobby photographer and I struggle ever so often with people who are super-critical about how they appear on photos. The confusing part is that I am unable to tell how they tell the difference – they can loathe one gorgeous photo and love another one (which might in my eyes even not be such a great photo after all). It pretty much shows that you can never guess how other people perceive themselves and others. Also, I think there would be a lot less bad photos if people stopped trying to hide when someone wants to snap a photo. More trust should be put on those with camera. Like I would never post photos of other people without their consent. It’s almost like a fake humble pose at events: oh, no-no, not me. (which actually draws a whole lot more attention to the person).

  21. Grace

    I recently tried to start blogging some of my outfits, not as a fashion blog, but because I want to start dressing better. I saw it as a way for me to see what I wear every day and start to pick out what does and doesn’t work for me. Unfortunately, I gave it up rather quickly because the pictures were just so bad. Terrible lighting and inaccurate colors along with my posture being entirely directed toward what I was doing rather than standing straight or posing for the photograph made everything look unattractive. I hope to take it up again once I’ve found a way around these hurdles.

    All that aside, it was very interesting to look at the pictures later. The things which stood out in each outfit were sometimes very different from what I had noticed in the mirror that morning.

  22. Nomi

    I hate hate HATE not only being photographed, but also when someone starts photographing a gathering whether they catch me or not (and I’ll do my best to see they don’t!). In my mind, it ruins the moment by intruding on the natural flow of the goings-on/celebration/enjoyment, turns everyone self-conscious, destroys people’s own internal memory of the event by superimposing the posed/photographed version. It’s horrible at something that’s meaningful or sacred to someone (like a church service: baptism, wedding, what have you) and suddenly there’s someone hung with equipment clicking away, flashing bright lights, taking everyone’s focus away from the main event. I loathe photography except of artsy, inanimate subjects. As for me personally, yup, I’m one of those unphotogenic people. Loads of times I’ve been told “You look so much better than I expected from your photo!” and when I see a (rare; see above) photo of myself, I get very depressed: am I really that homely creature? I’d rather never have been shown the damn photo. I’d prefer to go by my inner concept of myself, which while not delusionally gorgeous, is at least not a shriveled babushka either.

  23. hajen

    I hate being photographed… I’ve always hated it. My face is just not a good face for the camera – photos really magnify how asymmetrical my face is (especially my eyes) and it’s very hard for me to “smile & look natural” on cue; some people know how to pose for the best look but I just don’t have that talent. I’ve realized lately that many people look in the mirror and see themselves as less attractive than they actually are, but often I look in the mirror and think I look pretty good – until I’m like “okay, I’m feeling fine about myself, let’s try taking a photo” and then I look way, way different in the photo than I thought I looked and almost always worse. Then I feel crappy – like, am I deluding myself that I look fine?

    Digital photography is actually the best thing that ever happened to me for taking pictures – because I can see immediately if it was a good picture or not, and I can take twenty photos if that’s necessary to get one decent photo that I’m okay with – and then I can delete all the rest right away! Before digital photography, I *dreaded* cameras because I had no control over the result and no idea if the picture looked good until it was printed. Grrr. “Bad photo as emotional jail cell” is pretty dead-on, because of all those years of horrible school & family portraits that I look awful in, but hey, we paid for those prints so there they are where I have to look at them all the time. Horrible.

    I don’t know if a self-portrait a day would make me feel better about myself or worse. Recently I put some funky color in my hair and I wanted a picture of it to share on Facebook. It took me three days and more than fifty attempts to end up with ONE selfie I thought was okay. That was really demoralizing… I can’t imagine going through that anxiety every day. On the other hand, when I do manage to get a good shot of myself, it does give me a boost, but maybe that’s just because the whole thing is so damn fraught for me. I’ve been to events where documenting what’s going on seems to be more important to many people there than actually enjoying it and participating in it. I can’t enjoy doing projects & socializing if I feel like I’ve got to be worrying about managing my image like that, and I wish more people understood that feeling because it’s bad enough to feel that way but it’s worse when everyone’s like “oh you’re making too big a deal out of this”.

    • ThirtiesLdy

      Your last paragraph, particularly, fits my feelings too! If I know I’m going to be photographed, then I feel like I have to be ‘on’ all. the. time. It can be draining, especially since I don’t feel like I know how to pose in a typically flattering way. I look in the mirror and think I look good…and then I see a photo. Unless everything happened to align perfectly, I’m unlikely to exactly adore the picture.

      Personally, I don’t mind if family and friends take photos to mark special occasions, as long as they’re not in my face every minute. I may not look great, but the memories are worth keeping, and I don’t mind if they have them for their personal albums. But posting to Facebook, etc.? I am NOT okay with that, and it adds an entirely new level of anxiety for me. Now I don’t just have to look good for the family album, but for the whole world? No thanks, and I tell people so.

      I suspect that a photo a day (or, more likely, twenty photos a day) would probably make the photograph-ee more aware of poses, lighting, expressions, etc. – which would eventually result in photos that they thought were more flattering.

      So much depends on the photographer and the environment, too. I’ve had photos taken that look good (or as good as I think it’s going to get). But some people, including myself, are poor photographers, and others are fond of all the weird candids, which show people in expressions and poses they’d rarely be seen in, in normal life. (Like when your TV freezes and the anchorperson’s face freezes mid-speech. They look ridiculous in that freeze-frame, but you never see them that way when they’re actually speaking.) There’s a reason George Hurrell was so popular – all of those glamorous old movie stars’ photos didn’t just take themselves!

  24. Kate

    I do not photograph well, never have, so unless everything from the lighting to to the makeup and clothing to the angles is rigidly controlled, photos of me turn out awful. For this reason it makes me extremely uncomfortable at the level to which we’re expected to have photos of ourselves posted everywhere now, especially on Facebook and on LinkedIn, where it’s a professional drawback to *not* have a portrait on your profile. I’ll admit that it causes me a lot of anxiety and frustration.

  25. Jo

    What a relief to read some of these comments! I have never liked being photographed, and although I occasionally take an ok photo, more often than not, I do not photograph well. My father and sister are very photogenic, my mom and brother are somewhat photogenic, and then there’s me — 8 years after my brother and apparently that bit of genetic good luck skipped me.

    It does not help that for several years now, my sister has gotten very pushy about taking photos of everyone. I wound up finally sitting her down and telling her that if she was going to continue to photograph me against my wishes, that I wasn’t going to hang out with her anymore. I think she was surprised by how angry I was ….. but she’s gotten much better about not making such a big deal out of it.

  26. Heidi

    Ooh, so many thoughts about this.

    I used to hate it, too, especially when I was younger. First realization: refusing to cooperate when your photo is being taken just makes the photo worse.

    When I started my style blog, I didn’t post any photos of myself at all. When I began having photos shot, I was stiff, unsure how to stand and not always happy with the results.

    But I kept taking photos and what I found is that the more often you do it, the less of a big deal it becomes. Another picture is just another picture. My hubby also shoots a lot of photos each time so I have options to choose from. The very process of looking through that many pictures of myself every time has taken a lot of the scary out of it. I’ve become much more familiar with myself–and much more comfortable. There I am, as I am.

    It’s also a valuable tool for figuring out what clothes look good. Many times outfits that seemed OK in the mirror clearly don’t work so well when I review the photographic evidence. Somehow it’s more objective to look at them in photos, too.

    And for what it’s worth, you also learn flattering ways to pose which can make those instant candids taken by other people a little less intimidating, too.

    (But none of my comment touches on the theme I see in what some of the other commenters are saying: that they don’t like being photographed because they don’t like what they see. I don’t even know where to begin on such an important and even difficult topic. Perhaps another blog post for Sally or one of her body image guest posters?)