We all have them- it’s completely normal and natural. Insecurities about looks is the number one fear my clients come to me with before their session. I always quickly reassure them that they are beautiful and they’ll love their photos, but in many ways this answer feels like a cop out. So I want to spend some time talking about this, because it’s been on my mind this week and I think I should be using this blog as more than just an opportunity to showcase my photography.
What I want to tell my clients is that they sure do look great! Most likely they’ve spent extra time picking out outfits, meticulously arranging hair, and applying makeup to perfection. And all those things do show up in the photos. But there’s more. It’s our human nature that really comes through in my photography. They don’t realize it during our session, but I am looking for that tender moment, where a husband gives his wife a reassuring smile as we get started- the way when she changes her outfit to something less than suitable for the weather, he instinctively wraps his arms around her. The way her hand just automatically floats to his face when I guide them through a close up pose. These moments are a testament to our true human nature, and moreover a tribute to the subtle differences from one couple to the next, that colors and shades the meaningful bond between two individuals. And that is what makes for great photography.
To be honest, sometimes it’s not always so “beautiful”. I remember once I was photographing a 4 year old who just wasn’t sure about the whole thing. She was nervous to be photographed alone. Capturing her genuine emotion in that moment was so wonderful. All too often, we feel like we have to put on a smile and get through it, but this little gem reminded me of something so important. It isn’t always ‘OK’ and it’s perfectly fine to feel angry, frustrated, anxious, upset, or whatever else you might be feeling. In this instance, I took a break with her, asked her about it and we figured out something that she’d be more comfortable with. This moment was a true expression of her sensitive personality, and I think it’s absolutely stunning!
New moms are the most resistant to having their photos taken. In reality, there is nothing more beautiful than a new mother holding her baby. Often we forget that this amazing woman has just spent nine months growing a human being inside her body, painfully birthing this wonderful miracle, and has now had about zero hours of sleep when it finally comes time for our newborn session. There is so much pressure to have everything together just days after bringing home a new baby, and many times a new mommy ends up in tears because the baby spit up on her carefully chosen outfit- and it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Guess what, those tears are beautiful. They are so justified. I love those raw moments. I know it doesn’t feel like it at the time, but those memories are ones you’ll want to have forever.
I’m not without these insecurities- I dislike having my picture taken! How funny is that?! I recently discovered that the reason I don’t like photos of myself is because I wasn’t the person taking them. Obviously, I have particular tastes in photography, so when I am being photographed I know the kind of shots I want and am often disappointed with the outcome. Also, I have to add that most of the time I’m being photographed by a friend or family member that hasn’t had any photography experience. Today I challenged myself to take photos of myself, and guess what- I totally love them!
So while it is true that part of what I am capturing is an outfit, perfectly coiffed hair, and meticulously applied make up, the bigger part of my photographs are the emotions, relationships and personalities that make us who we are. And those are the things you’ll want to treasure forever. So my advice to anyone about to have their photos taken is to relax, enjoy the time you have with your significant other/family/pets and most importantly communicate with your photographer. Let them know if you need a break from smiling, trust me there are so many other poses that don’t involve having a smile plastered on your face.