Why do we look for the flaws in photos of ourselves?
I decided upon portrait photography years ago because I LOVE helping people find themselves in a photo. I love when they see themselves in a positive light, maybe even one they hadn’t yet considered for themselves.
But how about when a photo doesn’t boost self confidence?
We probably all have photos of ourselves that we just don’t like. For me, I have HUNDREDS of those, LOL. Seriously…I have very awkward childhood images of goofy smiles, crazy hair, odd clothing combos, etc. One school photo in particular looks like I just got out of bed after a week long bender…and I was in second grade. (I think we forgot it was picture day at school, but either way, I went to school looking like that…so yikes!)
And yes, I think those photos of me affected, and maybe even still affect me today. Why? Because they still exist and I still see them – both in my memory and in photo albums.
It’s the same today -even if people don’t print as many photos as they used to. Online images are all around us, and are shared even more easily than they were when we handed out a hundred wallets, or showed off a family photo album to party guests. (remember parties? when we could gather?)
So what happens if the subject doesn’t like themselves in the photo?
It’s not uncommon for me to get teens or tweens in for photo sessions and for them to tell me what they don’t like about themselves. Their ears, their teeth, their smiles…it goes on and on. And it’s heartbreaking for me to hear them tell me all the things about themselves they don’t like. Or describe photos of themselves they already have that they don’t like. (It’s even worse when the parents say what they don’t like about their kids images, but that’s for another post one day) One of the main goals for senior portraits is to build their self confidence so they have one more tool in their arsenal as they set out into the world.
They are saying there are things about their self image they don’t like. Can that go too far?
How did they get to the point of perception that something about themselves wasn’t good? Did they decide as a toddler they didn’t like their ears? Did a sibling say they had a big nose? Were they teased about their image in any way growing up? Did they get picked on in the family photo session?
This was a fun one – it only looks like they are picking on me, but we all were just having a great time at one of my parent’s vow renewals years ago.
And how can we affect that negative self image for them?
Because we need to – we need to help them see themselves in the best way possible. Because they need every bit of positive self thinking they can get in this world, especially at this age to build their self confidence. They are facing big life decisions and if they feel better about themselves going forward, that self confidence can carry into other areas of their life too.
We can help them in school to get better grades with giving them the best tools possible. We can help them figure out a great college to go to, and even help them set up their first apartment, learn to drive, and more. But if we don’t help them see themselves in the best light possible, we aren’t giving them the most important tool of all for their future.
I believe we can help in one small way, by giving them photos of themselves they LOVE. And it’s not just the photo itself – it’s how we create the photo, the entire experience.
We can create an experience where they can relax, and trust.
Where they can feel like someone is working hard to make sure they not only look good, but they feel good too. We can point out the great in them, and help them see it too.
And I believe, and have seen it many times over the years, that yes, the resulting photos can boost their confidence. That they can look back at an image and feel how great they felt about the experience they had when the image was taken. Let them see that over and over again in their life every time they see the image.
And that is the best thing we can give our kids. To help them love themselves. In all the moments, and all the constant reminders of their life – all the photos, all the memories made.
What are you doing to help your tween or teen see themselves in the best way possible?
Keep reading my blog posts and hop over to my website to see images that helped others build self confidence.
I love to follow this blog also – if you are facing an Empty Nest soon, or just sending one off to college, this site has a lot of interesting reads all the time. Check out Grown and Flown