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Camera Shy: "But I Hate Having my Picture Taken!"

October 6, 2015

I hear this all the time when I shoot events or take portraits: "I hate having my picture taken!"

Well, most people do... including me. Most photographers I know are on that side of the camera for a reason, and I'm no exception. Even supermodels walk around feeling flawed and inadequate; it is any wonder the rest of us are reluctant to have photos taken?

But here's the thing, folks: It's not about perfection. Your loved ones already know you're not perfect. They don't care. They care that you're YOU, and they treasure keepsakes of you.

None of us are getting any younger or more perfect with the passing days (at least not on the outside). And none of us will live forever. When my late husband died, I didn't have a single great portrait of him. I wish I had. But every photo I do have is infinitely precious to me. It shifted my point of view. What if I had been the one to die, and after 23 loving years together, he had been left with no good photos because "I hate having my picture taken"? It would have been so sad, and so unfair.

So my point of view now is this: We owe it to our loved ones to set aside our discomfort about being photographed, and just do it. We can gift our spouse, children and grandchildren (not to mention friends) with a precious likeness that will warm their hearts every time they look at it, or we can leave them nothing but their fading memories. Think about how delighted you would be to have a really great portrait of your parents or grandparents. Your kids and grandkids will be just as pleased to have a good portrait of you.

Do I still hate having my picture taken? Actually I do. But I have photos taken now from time to time, and I do self portraits (not selfies!) once in a while, too. I do it in spite of my discomfort, because I love the special people in my life and I owe it to them.

I'm aware that you may be nervous when you think about having a portrait made. I understand how that feels. I'm not primarily a portrait photographer, though I do a few portraits of friends to keep my skills up and make sure their loved ones have a treasured keepsake. But I urge you to find someone who does good portrait work, get your courage up and, as Nike says, "Just do it!" It won't hurt... I promise!

self portrait

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