One of my nieces turned nine at the beginning of the month, and for her birthday gift we did a photoshoot.
I absolutely treasure the time we spent together, and, this may come as a funny surprise, but…she was probably my best client ever.
- Well, for starters, she had clear ideas of what she wanted for this shoot – a mix of gymnastics, silly faces, on the couch eating a bag of chips (very specific…and all I had was sea salt & vinegar, so she opted for crackers), and some classic portraits to share with the family.
- She was thoughtful about her outfits and the types of photos for which she wanted to wear them.
- She brought super fun energy to the shoot and was open to collaborating and trying different poses.
After treating her to lunch (because what kind of auntie would I be if I didn’t feed her??), we sat down together to go through her photos and choose favorites…and THIS is really where she became the best client:
She expressed ZERO negative self-judgment.
She reviewed her photos with a technical eye for posing and expression, but at no point did she make any negative comments about herself regarding the photos she didn’t choose. It made my heart so happy for her. (For the record, they were all totes adorbs, of course. #biasedauntie)
Are you thinking, “Why is this a big deal?”
As a photographer, my clients often (almost always?) share with me their physical and emotional insecurities about being photographed. Whether it’s expressing anxiety before a shoot, or making negative comments about their appearance, I’ve heard it all.
And you know what? I get it.
I don’t photograph professional models. Most of my clients haven’t had professional photos taken in yearrrsss, if ever. This is all brand new. Feeling anxious or nervous is absolutely understandable…and normal.
In addition, we live in a culture that bombards us with images of “perfection” in hopes to capitalize off of our insecurities. It doesn’t feel good, does it? So I don’t blame anyone for coming to me talking and thinking poorly about themselves when being photographed.
HOWEVER – it is my wish for you that you’ll be a little less harsh on yourself today, and the next time you’re photographed. It’s not a switch that can be flipped overnight, but a slow, mindful practice that can be accomplished daily.
I like to start with paying attention to my thoughts and noticing when a negative self-judgment pops into my consciousness. Why did that show up just now? What am I worried about? Is this thought I’m having true about me? Am I comparing myself to someone else’s body or life that has nothing to do with me? What’s something positive I can say to myself right now?
Next time you’re in front of the camera, try channeling some of my niece’s nine-year-old confidence – I promise it will make you feel hair-flippin’-fantastic.
Thank you for coming to my TED Talk. 😉
Ready to kick those nerves to the curb and get in front of my camera? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your session!