Hate taking portraits? I know how you feel...
Are portraits not your thing?
Portraits were not my friend, either...
When I talk to clients who are anxious and nervous about their portraits, I employ a wide variety of techniques that help distract them from their negative mind chatter.
This help propel them back into the present moment so they can drop down their guard so they can reveal true aspects of their personalities powerfully and authentically.
Most of the time, some fun and light banter mixed with a dash of shit talking does the trick to shake them loose and get them excited about their session.
But, that doesn’t work for everyone.
In these instances, I opt for an empathetic approach and give them space to share their feelings.
As a way to let them know that they are not alone in this, I share my personal story about why I hated being photographed well into my 30’s.
Once upon a time, I was a socially awkward, depressed and distant, young man.
I was very overweight, had terrible skin, and I frequently got teased, harassed, and sometimes, my ass kicked.
During the warm summer months, I would wear a windbreaker or some other type of jacket because I was embarrassed about sweating profusely while being so overweight.
I grew a beard at 15 because I thought that it would help make my face look smaller and cover my massive double chin.
I was fired from my first job because I “didn’t look the part.”
As a result, I allowed my negative mind chatter about my outward appearance to define how I felt about myself as a whole.
Did it matter that I had friends who supported me? Nope.
Honors student at every level of education? I felt that was a given, and, it didn’t make me feel better.
Had a burgeoning passion for art? Eh, it’s fun, but, it’s not important.
I created a toxic headspace where I felt I had little to no redeeming social value.
I felt undeserving of joy in my life.
There were times where it got pretty dark in my head and spent a lot of time alone.
What’s worse is that this behavior fostered a mindset that set me up to never take any chances or risks in any area of my life, which reinforced the “stable and safe” route my parents preached to me growing up.
My goal was neutral, and I became angrier and more pessimistic as a result, and this attitude permeated through all of my decisions and relationships.
And the last thing I wanted to deal with was a fuckin camera in my face to take a picture and remind me of how much I hated the way that I felt about myself.
I would literally run and hide from any camera that was pointed at me, embarrassing myself and the friend or family member involved in that scenario on the other end of the lens.
This bullshit charade lasted until my 30’s, which is when I discovered the power of personal development.
After working with professional coaches and participating in an applied positive psychology course, I now realize a lot of my issues with being in front of the camera had to do with my lack of confidence and self-esteem because I chose to hold vanity over all other values and strengths.
And since I felt ugly, I figured I was a lost cause to find true happiness in life.
As a result, I never bothered to carve out a purpose because my goal was neutral, so I never allowed myself to imagine possibilities.
Although talking about this time in my life is still hard, I share it with my clients to let them know that I understand their hesitation to be in front of a camera, regardless of their particular reasons, and I am here to hold space and support them through the process.
I share with clients my thinking traps around vanity, and how that mindset kept me caged in for the vast majority of my life.
I remind them of the power they possess through their expertise to create immense impact for those who need to hear it most, but, they must not allow themselves to get sidetracked by issues with their appearance.
They need to own who they are, blemishes, scars, asymmetricality and all, in order to leave their tribe better than they were yesterday.
This is a true sign of one living their purpose.
Inspiring those who are fearful about revealing their authentic and powerful selves in front of the camera is a huge piece of my purpose.
Took a while to make peace with my past, and allow myself the space to figure out my future, but, the hell with it, better late than never, right? :)
Can you relate to this story? Had a weird relationship with taking pictures?
Still struggle with being yourself in front of a camera?
I can definitely help you with this.
Schedule a call with me and let’s see if we’re a fit to work together.