The 3 Reasons People Hate Their Pictures (& How to Avoid Them) | St. Louis Photographer / by Michael Henson

We've all been there. We're going through life minding our own business. Maybe we're munching on a snack that's messier than we expected or sweating in the blazing Midwest summer sun with enough humidity to stifle a small blaze if the sun were to start one. Maybe we're about to sneeze or have our eyes closed...then CLICK! The hated sound of a camera going off in your face. That incredibly un-photogenic expression is captured forever on a memory card or burned into film and there's really not much you can do about it!

Yes, there's a reason that most of us hate having to have photos taken. Valuable arguments for the preservation of memories aside, the thought of willingly putting yourself through that process is entirely unappealing and you'd rather just pass on the whole affair. I get it! There are three primary reasons people dislike having photos taken...but you don't have to be one of them! Keep reading and I'll help you out! 

One : They Hate How They Look

This is very understandable! Like the scenarios I described earlier, it's easy to judge your personal appearance based on bad experiences in the past. I get it! 

Two: They Don't Feel Comfortable

I've heard this countless times. Most of the time, people confuse their level of "photogenic-ness" with their comfort level in front of the camera. Other times, there's an irrational fear of the camera itself that's developed over years of comparisons to Photoshopped celebrities or the bad experiences from previous camera related events. The truth is, you can look amazing regardless of whether or not you feel amazing! Trust me! 

Three: They Don't Know What to Do With Their _____

Most of those stepping in front of the camera aren't sure what to do with their hands, legs, feet, head, arms, etc. Sometimes, this results in failed attempts to mimic their celebrity of choice and end up looking awkward and uncomfortable. This leads to reason #2 and eventually #1 as they review their pictures at a later date. It's quite the spiral!

How do you fix these common reasons for photo-hate?

There are steps that you can take to make yourself look more comfortable, confident, and "better" in all photos that I will discuss more in-depth in a later post, but the easiest way to ensure you look your absolute best is to find a photographer you like and trust. A photographer that is worth their session fee will be able to help you look good, help you feel comfortable throughout the session, and will coach you through what to do and how to position your hands, feet, etc.

What's that look like? For example, when I begin my sessions, I will provide a general idea of the direction I plan to go throughout the session. I'll give some pointers to the guy/gal/family that will help them understand how to place their hands, head, and feet to look their absolute best, and I'll find out which side the gals prefer I shoot from (most have a definite preference). I'll explain some of the terminology that I'll use throughout the session so they understand what I'm asking for when I say, "v-up," or, "open up." Finally, I'll take a few moments to show them the images that I've taken early in the session to show that things are looking great.

These simple steps help alleviate the fears and discomfort associated with getting photos taken. By following this process, my "peeps" understand how to look their best, they feel comfortable with my level of knowledge, and they get a chance to see that everything is going great early in the session so they can relax and actually enjoy it rather than feeling uptight and nervous about the results. The result is a happy client, couple, or family and photos that look stellar!

I'm not insinuating that my process is the "end all/be all" approach to photography. My purpose is to describe some examples of ways that photographers can work to make your experience enjoyable rather than frightening. So, do your research! Find a photographer who's style you like and who you feel comfortable with and confident in. Then, relax and enjoy the process! That's the formula for excellent photos that you'll be happy with for years to come.