As a photographer I know it’s easy for me to tell my clients to relax in front of my camera but what I forget from time to time is what it feels like to actually be in front of one!
And so the story goes: A close friend of mine asked me to step in front of her camera just a few weeks ago and while my immediate answer was, “absolutely not” I quickly realized how familiar that exact response was from so many of my beautiful clients. So in the spirit of avoiding hypocrisy, I laughed, dropped my head and ever so carefully whispered “… ok, fine.”
Even getting ready for the session I was grunting and moaning. Slipping on an old pink dress, curling my hair and strategically placing lash extensions on each of my eyes, I felt a little over done for some beach photos.
Throughout the session I let my friend guide and direct me in the positions and movements she knew worked well with her vision. At one point I looked up at her and asked through the goofiest of laughs “Is this what I sound like when I’m with my clients?”
Even after the session, I was certain she had NOTHING worthy of using on her site. My take on photos of myself is simple… “I know I look silly and like a deer in headlights.”
Fast forward a few days later and there’s a gallery of images in my inbox. At first glance, naturally, I critiqued myself from head to toe and even laughed at a few of them. “No way are these photos of little old me going to surface anywhere, ever.” The artistry was beautiful and the photos were brilliant but I felt so cheesy and in case I haven’t mentioned it before… I absolutely despise photos of myself.
I knew what I had to do. I got up from the computer and walked away for a moment. A few hours later I clicked through again and this time found that I had written down a few favorites. After scolding myself for being stubborn I downloaded my images and knew I had to take the next step… SHARE THEM.
Family and friends raved about them and a common reaction was simply “Wow, it’s great to see your face in front of the camera for a change.”
Looking back I don’t regret a second of frolicking on the beach, letting the wind whip through my hair and getting some really nice photos of myself to look back on… and maybe even have my children look back on someday and make fun of my “out of style” clothing and hair.
My take on this little photo adventure:
Never waste a second of life. Enjoy the moments that bring a smile to your face and even just a tinge of joy in your heart. Learn to laugh at yourself and not take life so seriously. Create memories and capture them but don’t get caught up in them. Be cautious with your heart but love everything and everyone. Love your past and welcome your future. Move about with gratitude to every little thing that presents itself. Be kind, be gentle, be sweet and most of all be you.
It was easy to see who I truly am in these photos and I am forever grateful to have been given (and to have taken) the opportunity to remember who I am each and every step of my life.
To my beautiful clients, embrace where you’re at in life. You will never feel pretty enough, thin enough, fit enough, happy enough or simply prepared enough to stand in front of a camera and smile but I can assure you that once you do you will not for a second regret it. So pull out that great outfit, dress yourself up, look in the mirror and say “I’m beautiful/handsome and I’m ready to see me!”