Why is it Hard to Have Your Portrait Taken?

A few weeks ago I did a presentation for Exclusive Business
Group. EBG consists of so many amazing professionals in a vast array of
businesses. I began by asking three questions.

“Who here is good at their jobs?” Every hand raised.

“Who here would be confident to stand up right now and
present their business?” A few hands dropped, but over half remained up.

“That’s wonderful, who is ready to get their portrait taken
right this second?” Reader, most of the hands dropped.

Briana Gosa of Sollie Studios. Photo: Avon Van Hassel

Briana Gosa of Sollie Studios. Photo: Avon Van Hassel

That was pretty much the exact response I expected, and it
hurts me. Portraiture is one of my favorite genres of photography, and the
responses and disclaimers I’ve heard before session just break my heart.

“I don’t want to break your camera.”

“No one wants a picture of that. “ (Referring to
themselves.)

“I’m too ugly to get my picture taken.”

“Maybe when I lose a few pounds.”

There’s so much negativity! I hear it from professionals
everyday—professionals who kick butt in their career and have the ability to
rattle off information that makes my head spin. I hear it from parents—parents
who are working and going to school and dealing with the logistics of raising a
family. I hear it from everyone—and it breaks my heart. Because do you know
what all of these people have in common?

Smyrna Fire Department

Headshot of Murfreesboro Business owner

Creative headshot

Artist headshot

They are wonderful. They are absolutely spectacular. Even
the ones who joke that they are a mess are absolutely rocking their life. And
they often love their life—sure, they could change some of it, but they have a
confidence or a hope or a plan to make it something they are happy with.

Until someone breaks out a camera, and then all of that is
washed away.

There’s a science behind why you don’t look like yourself in
pictures. It is a fascinating read, and talks about the “mirror self” vs the
“true self”. Here are two articles that discuss it:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/selfies-vs-the-mirror-face_n_5a4faf77e4b01e1a4b14cdf9

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/03/why-selfies-sometimes-look-weird-to-their-subjects/359567/

But I also feel like there’s something else.

Branding photography

Team headshot

outdoor headshot

branding photography

It’s about value. It’s about perception.

A lot of people base their self-worth on how they contribute
to their loved ones, their businesses, or their community. They see themselves
as reflections of their upbringing, their choices, their environment, and their
relationships.

But when they have a lens pointed in their face? They don’t
know what it is going to show. They want to find a way to justify having the
attention on them. They want to add disclaimers because they don’t know what
truth that photograph is going to show.

I can empathize with that. I’ve had low self esteem for as
long as I can remember. I’ve had issues with depression, anxiety, fear, etc.
It’s awful, to feel like you are nothing special, that someone is going to see
through you eventually.

creative senior portrait

outdoor headshot at golden hour

make up artist at work

mother and daughter portrait

I could talk about how Sollie Studios holds your hand
throughout the entire process of photography, from assisting with what to wear,
how to pose, which location is best, how to do your hair, how to make the
entire session fun and comfortable for everyone from kids to pets to grandparents,
but ultimately that’s not the point of this post.


The point of this post is to ask you to get in the picture.
I don’t care if it’s a snapshot or if it is a professional portrait. I don’t
care if it is a selfie or badly lit or is photobombed. Just get in the picture.
I’ll give you two reasons why that is the most important thing to do.


1.      
Get in the picture for yourself.

2.      
Get in the picture for your loved ones.


There’s a lot of reasons to miss out on life. Someone having
a camera shouldn’t be one of them.

(Want to know how I got over my fear of cameras? Check back
next week!)

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