How to love yourself in photos – taking the first step
Let’s chat about how to love yourself in photos. I strongly belief it is a learnt skill and not something reserved for the supermodels out there. Working as a female business photographer I hear from nearly 100% of my clients that they hate themselves in photos and I think it’s time that us women can do a bit better than that…
Firstly, do me a quick favour… get your phone out or scroll through social media and find a photo you’re in. Don’t deliberately look for one where you look incredible. Just stop at one of the first ones you find. Now, scribble down a couple of words or phrases about how you look or the way you feel when you look at that photo.
I’ll wait (cue the elevator music…)
As a photographer, maybe you’re expecting handy photo tips about how to look fab in photos? Sure – skip the contouring, highlighter is the bane of photographers’ lives, it reflects light to leave bright white streaks on your face in photos! Try to put your shoulders roughly 45 degrees to the camera for the most flattering angle. But, while I hate to disappoint you, this isn’t that post! Those things can be taught to anyone plus I’ll be there to gently direct you on our shoot.
The art of loving yourself in photos is so much more difficult to learn.
Reframing your thinking about yourself
We live in a world where it’s brutal to be a woman. Magazines show us already slim women photoshopped to unattainable stick-insect “perfection”. There is never a stray hair (let alone a growing hair) out of place, a blemish or spot, uneven skin tone, eye bag or a wrinkle to be seen. And while I’m sure most of us KNOW advertisers do this, being endlessly bombarded by this type of imagery leaves us feeling like we don’t measure up. Articles like this terrify me when I see how much young women would alter their faces, just because the photoshopped media is shaping their view of themselves.
Moreover, as women the easiest conversation to have with our friends seems to be bashing on ourselves (with a side of one-up(wo)manship!):
“How are you, Jo?”
“Urgh, I’ve put on so much weight, my jeans are so tight. I look terrible.”
“YOU look terrible?! No, I look disgusting! I ate so much over Christmas and these bags under my eyes could hold the weekly shop!”
It seems to just be what women ‘do’. I asked my husband if men chat like this, he laughed and said “not in a million years”. So why are we willingly talking about ourselves like this if men successfully navigate friendship without this negativity?
Similarly, if we don’t take part, we get frowned upon by other women.
“How are you, Jo?”
“Amazing! I feel incredible! I’m so happy, deeply in love, satisfied at work. Even if I won the lottery I couldn’t imagine being happier. You?”
Later: “…Yikes, Jen, you wouldn’t believe Jo. She’s so full of herself at the moment…”
But I challenge you to curb this chatter. It’s time for community over competition. And for building each other up. But that all starts with building ourselves up.
So, where does that begin? With loving yourself a little more each day!
And I hear you asking how on earth photography ties into that…
GET IN THE PHOTO!
You can’t love yourself in a photo if you aren’t in it!
A little over a year ago I wrote this post about existing in photos for my son – I felt gross about the way I looked; carrying extra weight and sluggish, starting to go grey etc. I’m happy to say I’m feeling totally different about photos of myself now. I haven’t dropped a pound (in fact I think I’ve put a few on!) and I’ve proudly gained a few more grey hairs!
I’ve done this by making an effort to see myself in photos every single day. While I’ve not quite printed my face on wallpaper, I have plastered pictures all over our home. And not the picture perfect photos of special occasions but the every day moments that make up my life.
Seeing yourself day in and day out does something funny after a while. You actually start becoming comfortable with how you look.
I appreciate it’s hard to fall in love with photos of yourself, especially if you avoid the camera all year and then suddenly you’re asked to show up with confidence for your branding shoot. On the flipside, if you embrace the real you and get comfortable with your kick-ass self then photos of yourself become just another daily affirmation of how fantastic you are.
If you don’t have any photos of yourself then I challenge you to take a photo of yourself out walking the dogs (yes in muddy wellies, messy bun and no makeup!) or playing Lego with the kids. Take a photo while you’re curled up with a cup of tea and good book or having lunch with friends. Yes, they may all be the dreaded selfies, but they are all you and they all deserve to be taken.
You may wonder what these have to do with showing up for your business, but learning to love yourself starts with your everyday self, before you can show up and rock it for your business.
After you’re comfortable with how you look, you actually start to like the way you look. Can you imagine…?! And you stop grimacing when you see yourself and stop criticising yourself for your flaws. You start looking at the general photos and seeing what everyone else sees; a gorgeous woman having fun with friends; being a kick-ass business woman; wearing the invisible Supermum cape; designing your dream life.
So that’s all I need to do to start loving photos of me?
It really is that straightforward. The secret to loving yourself in photos is getting in them in the first place. Stop avoiding the camera because of your perceived flaws. The same way that your eyes go to you in the photo first, everyone else looks at themselves first too. They aren’t noticing all the things you’re worrying about.
Then step two is seeing yourself, and getting comfortable with what you see. If anyone else spoke to you the way your inner critique did you’d probably punch them, so just start quieting that chatter. See yourself daily and refrain from saying anything mean to yourself. Relish looking at photos you’ve printed and appreciate the photo as a whole; see yourself enjoying your life with people you love rather than focusing in on how awful your bingo wings look in that photo. I guarantee you nobody else has even noticed.
The final step is making sure that your photos for your business represent the real you and who you are for your business. Have the confidence to be bold and show up as yourself for your photos. This enables your ideal client to know, like and trust you; to fall in love with you before they’ve even met you and to know why it has to be you, AND ONLY YOU, that they want do the job for them.
I’d be delighted to help you figure out how to love yourself in photos and help you show up and shine for your business. It never hurts that I make having your photo taken a genuinely enjoyable experience! Drop me a line and let’s get both of those boxes ticked or not quite ready for that? Take a look at some other women that have stepped in front of the camera and had their branding photoshoots done.