It’s that time of year again, when we make promises to ourselves to be better, different, stronger, braver, more organized, more on time, kinder, more respectful…the list of things we want to improve is miles long. But this year, I want to challenge you to do something else that just might make you feel happier.
Stop avoiding the camera.
It seems like at every event I photograph, I am one of the least popular people. I show up at a company for portraits and am greeted with groans. Again and again, I am told, “I hate having my picture taken,” or, “I look terrible in photos,” or “Please don’t take my picture.” And again and again I think to myself, “Why?”
My theory is that there is a cycle of bad-picture-taking out there that prevents individuals from showing up in front of the camera ready to be themselves and be their best. The cycle is easy to create: all it takes is one bad picture (and we all have them) to convince a person that he or she is incapable of taking a good picture, therefore labeling themselves as “un-photogenic.” Then they avoid cameras, shy away from having their picture taken, hide in the back of big groups, don’t invest in family portraits, have that weird outline of a person as their photo on LinkedIn. And before too long, they just don’t show up anymore.
But we can break the cycle! We can break the cycle of bad pictures! You, too, can look and feel good in front of the camera. Helping my clients break their cycle of bad pictures is one of my favorite things. To witness the transformation from “I hate how I look,” to “Wow, look at me!” doesn’t take Photoshop or a professional makeup artist or a personal stylist (although yes, all of those things help). It just takes you showing up and being yourself.
I dare you to try it. I dare you to seek out opportunities to be photographed this year. Get in the pictures with your kids, have a portrait made, take more selfies, stand in front of group pictures instead of hiding in the back. There is no such thing as being “un-photogenic,” no genetic anomaly that prevents you from looking good in a photo.
The more you are photographed, the more comfortable you’ll feel in front of the camera, and the more you’ll enjoy the resulting photos. Breaking this cycle is what I do for my clients all the time, and you can do it, too!
In 2018, resolve to stop avoiding the camera, and start being yourself instead.
And as inspiration, a photo of me that I don’t love (why does my neck look like that?) but that exists because I showed up.