You don’t like having your picture taken.
Am I right? When you see yourself in a photograph, your focus goes straight to your flaws. The 10 pounds you want to lose. Your “messy” hair. The “funny” expression on your face. We all do it.
You’re not alone in this.
Recently on Facebook, I asked my friends if they had an old photograph of their mother or grandmother they could easily dig up and send me for a project. I received lots of responses, more than I was anticipating. And I learned something:
You don't like being in the picture, but you love going through old photos of your loved ones.
I asked each participant a few questions to find out more about their mother or grandmother. Everyone was happy to reminisce about their loved one and tell me their thoughts about the picture they sent me.
In old photographs, we look for the qualities we admire about our loved ones, and we remember special times spent together.
Not one person said to me, “ Wow, my mother could have stood to lose a few pounds.” Or, “My grandmother always had such messy hair.” Or, “My mom really should have worn more make-up.” No one mentioned, “Those pants are really unflattering on Grandmom.”
We don't see flaws in old photos of our loved ones.
You want to know why? Because rather than flaws, we see vibrancy, youth, and love. We see qualities we admire, and we are reminded about special times spent together.
Why is this important?
I believe that we live in a world today that puts way too much emphasis on perfection, and that’s carried over into our photographs. We don’t want pictures taken of ourselves because we want a photo where we look perfect, not real. So we either avoid the camera or we ask the photographer to Photoshop us.
We’re altering the record of our family’s history.
And that bothers me. One day, when you’re gone, the first thing your loved ones are going to do is look for photographs, movies, and maybe even old voicemails that have you in them. Because those recordings will help them relive your unique qualities that they love about you and the times you shared together. They want to remember you, the real you in their memories.
You have your picture taken for your children and grandchildren. You don't do it for yourself.
When I thanked the participants for helping me, each one told me it was their pleasure. They thanked me for the opportunity to reminisce and talk about their loved one. A few were brought to happy tears.
Photographs allow your loved ones, even for just one minute, to turn back time and relive their favorite memories with you in vivid detail.
Do you still have lingering concerns about getting in front of the camera?
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Believe me when I say these aren't your usual tips and tricks. Stress no more! No Spanx or complicated poses required.