A 3-Step Guide to Loving Yourself through Photography
by Cory Powell
As a portrait photographer, I hear so many people say:
“I hate being photographed,” or
“I’m not photogenic,” or
“I’m too fat,” or
“Who would even want a photo of me?”
And many photographers say, “just relax and smile,” which does NOT help. Why? Because there’s something deeper causing the anxiety around being photographed.
So, how do I help people feel better about getting pictures made of themselves? Here are three techniques I suggest to my clients to boost their confidence in front of the camera and improve their self-worth overall.
1. Shush the Peanut Gallery
Those voices in the back of your head, saying, You’re too fat. You’re not attractive enough, etc… I call those the Peanut Gallery. Everyone has those voices creeping in and bringing them down. And we must combat them if we want to change how we feel being photographed. Try this exercise:
Write down those negative thoughts and then flip them upside-down.
For example, if you think you’re too old for photos, then flip the statement to something like:
“I love that I can share the beauty of my age with the world.”
“I get to be my authentic self, embrace every wrinkle, because I’ve earned them.”
2. Take More Photos of Yourself
A self portrait gives you a layer of safety for viewing yourself through the camera’s lens. Many famous artists expressed themselves and worked through difficult emotions by creating self portraits. (Look up artists like Frida Kahlo or Nan Goldin for examples.)
“BUT I HATE PHOTOS OF MYSELF!”
…Yes, I know. BUT the more you photograph yourself and the more you see yourself, the more comfortable you become with how you look.
Focus works like a muscle, as you retrain your brain to see yourself in a more positive light.
When you take a photograph of something, you proclaim its importance. You decide that the subject of the photograph matters enough to document. You give your time and energy to capture that image. When you give your self this time and energy, by taking a selfie, you give yourself this importance . . . You declare yourself just as worthy as everyone and everything else.
3. Note Your Dislikes & Let Them Go
Look at a picture of yourself and notice what stands out to you. Write it down. If it’s negative (“I’m so fat”), consider it “just a perception” based on your current emotional state. Then remind yourself that you’re seeing the image differently from how another person will view it.
When I look at photos with clients, people project their perceptions onto a picture. When looking at pictures of her daughter, a mom says, “oh that’s so her!” while the daughter says it’s a terrible shot.
We see through our own emotional points of view. We see what we feel. And if you don’t like what you see, remember that it’s about how you feel. Others attend to you (and your photograph) in a completely different way. They smile at what you dislike and feel joy at what you disregard.
Why does this matter? Many people book a photo shoot because they want to “be seen.” The act of being photographed is a way for someone to see them. The act of photographing a person symbolizes our noticing their place in the universe. Getting your picture taken means you know, on some level, you matter.
Put Photography and Self-Love Into Practice
Now you know some ways to overcome the negative thoughts about yourself in photographs, so let’s put them into practice by getting to know (and love) yourself through the art of the selfie!
I invite you to my FREE 7 Selfies to a More Confident You Challenge.
The 7 Selfies to a More Confident You Challenge uses the techniques above but puts them into an easy-to-follow format. The challenge gives you everything you need to get started: from shushing the peanut gallery to getting instruction on the kinds of selfies that will build your confidence.
For 10 days, you’ll receive a small daily assignment to retrain your focus on what makes you awesome. I also have a Facebook group where you can share your homework and interact with others who are also working on the same challenges.
Follow this link to learn more and sign up for the free challenge: https://www.springfieldmophotographer.com/blog/2019/12/30/7-selfies-to-a-more-confident-you
Article by Cory Powell, owner and portrait photographer at Cory Powell Photography