There are so many women that hate photos of themselves. I was in the same boat, to the point where I literally turned and walked in the opposite direction whenever I saw someone with a camera. (True story: when I won employee of the month at my previous job, the photo shown to the whole office was a big shot of my hand in front of my face, paparazzi style.)
Granted, there are some women that look absolutely gorgeous in pictures. They are able to feel completely relaxed in front of the camera and the results are beautiful every time. Do you know someone like that? Because I’m pretty sure I don’t. Every single woman I know is extremely critical of herself. She is often the most critical person about her own appearance. She is loved unconditionally by her husband and her children, and yet, she can’t see her own beauty.. and I don’t blame her.
When people take snapshots of us, they’re not concerned with having flattering lighting. The camera they’re using is too slow, so by the time the picture is captured, we’re tense and have a worried expression on our face. We have no idea what we look like, standing stiffly and holding our babies like shields… and the person taking the photo doesn’t tell us. Over the years, we’ve learned that the outcome is usually disappointing, so we stress out, become self-conscious, and fidget, until the moment is over. Selfies are so incredibly popular because they give us at least some control over the outcome. We can see ourselves and adjust our expression. But selfies aren’t going to cut it when our child grows up and wants to frame a photo from his childhood.
Being photogenic is not something we’re born with (although some people are naturally calm in front the camera). Looking good in pictures is a skill. It’s something anyone can learn to do. But most of all, we all can learn to love ourselves and accept the fact that nobody looks like a magazine model in real life. We all have our little quirks. I had to accept the fact that my face is a big fat square and the tip of my nose is just really friggin’ weird, and yes, I have a tummy pouch since having my first child and it’s never going away. But I also learned that if I smile (like, really smile as if something is actually funny) and turn my face to the side a bit, I actually look pretty good. If I bring my chin down just a hair, my square jaw becomes more rounded and pleasant. And if I actually stand up straight for once, my tummy looks way better. And if I could remember all of this for every picture (oh, and actually relax when someone points a camera at my face) life would be full of beautiful photo ops!
So, this is where I am. I know I’m not going to look good in most photographs, and I’ve stopped blaming myself for it. Knowing more about what looks good to the camera (and the fact that it’s hard to accurately capture the beauty of a 3-dimensional face in 2-dimensional form) has made the success rate of photos of myself I actually like much higher.
But nothing, and I mean NOTHING, beats having someone who knows what they’re doing take your picture. There is definitely a benefit of hiring a good professional photographer.. and it’s only partly the fancy camera equipment. Working with a pro, you’ll pick up on what angles work best, how much the light matters, and seeing yourself look pretty in photos will give you confidence to do it again. Trust me, your kids will be thrilled to actually have a few pictures of mom when they grow up. And that is why a beautiful photo of Mom, the one she actually likes herself in, is the best Mother's Day gift, ever.
(The photo below is me with my second son.. and see! I totally look happy and relaxed to be with my child. It's possible!)