I will get photos done when __Insert your perceived flaw here___.
This post is for women and men, adults and children, and anybody who has ever ducked out from in front of the camera or felt insecure about having their photo taken.
Doing those things is perfectly normal. As a photographer, I know that I am asking a lot from you. I want you to be vulnerable and have that documented forever and that is scary.
I know that fears, body insecurities, shakey self-esteem, jiggly thighs, frizzy hair, big noses, chins that do that thing when you smile too big, other squishy body parts, dopey feet, freckles, not enough freckles, broken nails, squinty eyes, big cheeks, small cheeks, poofy eyebrows, thin eyebrows, or unibrows are all terrifying reasons not to get in front of the camera for most people. I have had enough experience working with people as a photographer to tell you with two thousand percent honesty: your flaws are the reason you should get in front of the camera.
It breaks my heart at the number of people I hear from that won’t get their photograph taken because they think they are too heavy, too skinny, their hair isn’t long enough, they’re waiting until after their diet, they want new clothes first, they hate their arms, their legs aren’t the right size, they don’t like their smile, the list goes on.
The sheer volume of put-downs I hear people say about themselves is astounding. One time a woman said she isn’t that beautiful so she didn’t want her face to be in too many of the photos. Many people only agree to be in a photograph if they can be in the back so their body is hidden. I have had hundreds of people ask if I can photoshop 10 pounds off of them. It’s not even just adults, it’s children too. One time an 8-year-old girl told me that she didn’t want her photo taken because she thinks she is hideous.
Does that break your heart as much as it does mine?
Last weekend, my family and I went to the Fearless Women’s Summit in Calgary, Alberta. All of it was amazing and inspirational but one quote stuck with me:
Would you say your own insecurities about your best friend or children?
Imagine telling your best friend she shouldn’t get her photo done because her nose is too big. That sounds ridiculous. Say that out loud right now and it sounds even more silly. Yet we are so quick to be hard and judgemental about ourselves. It’s time for that to end.
Your feelings are legitimate but my goal as your photographer is to help you leave them behind. Kick them to the curb. Throw them to the wind. Let’s say it again: your flaws are the reason you should get in front of the camera. They are what makes you, you. They are the best part of you. They are what others love most about you. Your flaws make you different and unique and it’s time to own them. Right meow.
I’ll go first.
My insecurity is my hair. It’s thin and lifeless and sometimes frizzy. In photography school, I felt like my portraits would always look nicer if I just had better hair.
But I don’t. And I am sure as heck not going to not have photos of myself because of my hair. I decided a long time ago to stop worrying about it and stop letting it have control over me. Now I let it do what it wants to and sometimes its good and sometimes its bad, but it sure feels wonderful not to worry about it.
Then, last week, I got in front of the camera and tried to be myself. Myself is kind of shy, loves plants, loves to create, enjoys working with people and lives for connection. Here is all of that in some photos of me that make me feel happy. Anybody can have this experience. It’s not always easy, but growth as a person is often uncomfortable.
Here is my message to you: Don’t miss out on photos with friends/family/pets because of a superficial insecurity. Get in there and be different and be you. This is my push to you to own your flaws, starting today.
Jena LaRoy completed her Professional Photography Diploma at Langara Collge (Vancouver B.C., 2017) and returned to her hometown Golden British Columbia to launch her photography business (2017). Jena Lee Photographs offers a full-service photographic experience of personalized photography sessions and custom professional printing and framing services. Serving the East Kootenay and Rocky Mountain areas of British-Columbia.