Today in my photography class the instructor gave us a presentation over the psychology behind portrait photography, and it really hit home with me.
Starting off, he showed a picture of David Beckham (Sexiest Man of 2015) and some really skinny brunette (Sexiest Woman of 2015) and told us that this is not the type of people we were going to be photographing in our lives (unless of course we work hard and become celebrity photographers.) But rather that we would be photographing “everyone else.”
This is true! Not much of the population has a team of experts to do their hair and make-up before every photo taken of them, but that doesn’t mean that “everyone else” doesn’t want to feel just as beautiful and confident in their portraits.
He went over techniques and suggestions such as getting to know your subject before hand, making small talk at the beginning of the session so that they are comfortable with you, giving specific posing directions, etc.
But the part of this presentation that evoked my attention the most was when he talked about us as photographers loving ourselves. What I took from his lesson is that we all have flaws, but it is our CHOICE whether or not to accept/love them. It is unrealistic to think that we are going to look like movie stars and the sooner that we learn that, the sooner we will take better photos.
Looking at this portrait of me, I immediately pick out characteristics I don’t like. Big nose. More chins than the Chinese phone book……. I obviously haven’t learned to accept and love every part of my features and our instructor pointed out that this lacking of acceptance will reflect in the portraits that we take of others.
For example, If I am not comfortable with my imperfections, I will notice the same imperfections in others. Even if it is subconscious, I’ll want to “fix” these on the person I am taking photos of. When he said that, I could think of a couple of times that I had done just that.
But what if your client loves and accepts their imperfections? Who am I to make that call? After all, this is part of a persons character and also what makes them unique!
Basically, what I took from this lecture was– don’t project your own insecurities onto other people through your photography.
The same thing can be said for other aspects of our lives. I not only want be comfortable in my own skin, but also love what is on the inside of me so that I can extend that love to those around me.
Moral of this blog post– build other people up, but more importantly build yourself up so that you can.