Reasons Not to Have Your Photo Taken
Today I was thinking about all the reasons not to have your photo taken. Initially, that may sound a little strange coming from a Portrait & Wedding Photographer, but these are reasons I hear every so often, so it got me thinking. 99% of these are valid 'reasons'. Firstly, let’s take a quick look at the definition of the word 'reason' from our good friend Google (you'll see why in a sec!)
(noun) a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event. "she asked him to return, but didn't give a reason"
So are these reasons or excuses?
(verb) seek to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offence); try to justify. "he did nothing to hide or excuse Jacob's cruelty"
The truth is: they are neither! You may think of several reasons not to have your photo taken that are personal to you, but that's not the truth, it's your truth.
It's the story you've told yourself time after time, day after day, year after year. You may have heard your Mother or friend saying one of these 'reasons' and it's ingrained deep in your subconscious.
Much of our everyday lives in run on autopilot. That's your subconscious mind remembering how to walk, talk, tie your laces and drive to work. Your mind is an intricate and incredible thing but it can also be detrimental to you if you're not aware of how it works, and therefore how it controls you. Your mind causes you to hang on to past beliefs, old habits, old ways of thinking and the 'this is the way it has always been so this is the way it will continue to be' mindset.
One of the 'reasons' not to have your photo taken that comes up is "Oh, I'm so not photogenic!" - usually said with a laugh to dispel any comments from others that may come up (self-deprecation is a defensive tactic we use to pre-empt our fear of other people pointing out our insecurities). Already, just by reading this, your subconscious mind is telling you what 'photogenic' means and bringing up all the instances and negative thoughts that are in your memory. All those doubts and fears are starting to creep in. I felt it when I wrote down the word 'photogenic'. Eek.
Take a moment now and allow yourself to peel back the layers to expose when, where and by whom that fear originated. When did you decide you weren't photogenic? You weren't born that way, you became that way. How old were you? Aged 5? 10? 15? 20? Perhaps it was later in life, when you reached 40 or 50? Maybe it was after you had your first baby or after a bad break-up? Where did that fear come from, what happened and who told you that?
The truth is that you didn't just decide one day to not be 'photogenic' anymore. Somebody, at some point did or said something to you or you felt a certain way when you looked a photograph of yourself.
You made 'I'm not photogenic' your truth.
That's not the truth, it's your truth. Your story, your fear.
Realising that most fear is a feeling and not a fact is a huge step. It allows you to change your response. It probably won't happen overnight - you've had years and years of your subconscious telling you this lie and feeding you those negative feelings that you've held on to in order to protect yourself. But each time those voices creep in, take a breathe... Open up... Ouch. Breathe again... Confront them... Wow, that hurts. But it's okay, fear only lasts for 60 seconds and you can manage 60 seconds. Breathe... See those negative voices for what they really are. Understand where they came from. And let them go... 60 seconds is up. You did it.
Do this every time you feel those niggling voices coming to the forefront of your mind. It doesn't have to be about being photogenic or not. It doesn't need to be related to one of the reasons not to have your photo taken that we'll be discussing. You can do this about anything that scares you. Meeting new people, being in a crowd, being embarrassed in front of people or anything out of your comfort zone. This process will work. Trust me, I'm living proof.
So, how does this relate to all the reasons not to have your photo taken?
Let me explain.
As I was thinking about all the reasons not to have your photo taken, I did some research. I asked friends and family, remembered conversations with past clients and read articles online and comments from people all over the world. A huge sense of sadness overcame me.
I realised that there are so many reasons not to have your photo taken or stories that we have told ourselves over the years.
You can blame social media, celebrities, movies, tv, pop stars and essentially the media in general for making us feel self conscious or body conscious. But in truth, those celebrities are just like you and me. They are Mothers, Fathers, Sons & Daughters, Grandparents, Friends, Business Owners & Employees. So is your 'skinny/beautiful/I love her but hate her' friend. (We all have one...) Ask her a question right now: "If I was to put you in front of a camera right now, how would you feel?" She'll tell you several things straight away that she doesn't like about herself - without even thinking about it. It's not a size, weight or a 'prettiness' factor.
It's all about confidence.
So, as I was writing down all these reasons not to have your photo taken, I decided to address them individually and give you simple action steps to help combat them. After all, nobody wants to feel that way. We all want to live, love, laugh and be happy. Dance in the rain and sing at the top of your voice, loud and proud, without judgement or fear.
Want to find out all the 'reasons' not to have your photo taken?
The blog series 'Problems Solved' has been born. Each week, starting tomorrow, I'll look at one of the reasons not to have your photo taken and help you to see the real truth behind it as well as how to overcome your fears about being photographed for your wedding or photoshoot.
I'd love to know if you have any other 'reasons not to have your photo taken' so I can help you personally too. Leave me a comment below and you may end up helping many more people with the same fears or problems!
Much love, Lesley x