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What If I Hate How I Look In Photos?

Is your company scheduling a photographer to come in to the office and do a day of headshots for the website? If you are one of the many people in this world who think they are just not photogenic and hate having their picture taken, let's explore why this happens and what you can do to improve your relationship with photos of yourself. (Disclaimer: We are photographers and not licensed therapists (oh, really?) and are just offering some solutions we've read about while laying in bed trying to fall asleep :)

Understanding the Discomfort

The first step to addressing your discomfort with photos is to understand why you feel this way. There are several common reasons why people dislike pictures of themselves:

The first step to addressing your discomfort with photos is to understand why you feel this way. There are several common reasons why people dislike pictures of themselves:

  1. Self-criticism: Many people are their own worst critics. You might focus on perceived flaws that others don't even notice. This heightened self-awareness can make you overly critical of your appearance in photos.

  2. Body image issues: Society's beauty standards can have a profound impact on how we see ourselves. If you don't fit into these often narrow and unrealistic standards, you may feel inadequate or unattractive.

  3. Unfamiliarity: Seeing yourself in photos is different from how you see yourself in the mirror. Mirrors reverse our image, and we become accustomed to this reflection. Photos, however, show us as others see us, which can be jarring and uncomfortable.

  4. Memories of negative experiences: If you've had bad experiences with photos in the past, such as unflattering pictures being shared without your consent, this can lead to a lasting aversion to being photographed.

Steps to Improve Your Relationship

with Photos

While it's natural to feel uncomfortable with pictures of yourself, there are steps you can take to improve your relationship with the camera and the images it captures.

  1. Practice self-compassion: Start by treating yourself with the same kindness you would offer a friend. Recognize that everyone has insecurities and that it's okay not to look perfect in every photo. Practice self-love and remind yourself of your positive qualities.

  2. Challenge negative thoughts: When you look at a photo of yourself and start to criticize, pause and challenge these negative thoughts. Ask yourself if you would say the same things to someone you care about. Try to focus on the positive aspects of the photo instead of fixating on the negatives.

  3. Experiment with different angles and lighting: Sometimes, the issue isn't with your appearance but with how the photo was taken. Experiment with different angles, lighting, and poses to find what flatters you the most. You might be surprised at how much of a difference these factors can make.

  4. Get comfortable with candid shots: Posed photos can often feel unnatural and stiff. Try to get more comfortable with candid shots, which can capture your true personality and essence. These photos are often more genuine and less likely to highlight perceived flaws.

  5. Seek professional help if needed: If your discomfort with photos is deeply rooted and significantly impacts your self-esteem, consider seeking the help of a therapist or counselor. They can help you work through these feelings and develop a healthier self-image.

  6. Limit exposure to triggering content: Social media can be a double-edged sword. While it can be a great way to connect with others, it can also amplify feelings of inadequacy. Curate your social media feed to include content that makes you feel good about yourself and limit exposure to accounts that trigger negative self-perceptions.

  7. Focus on the moment: Instead of worrying about how you look in a photo, try to focus on the experience and the memories you're creating. Photos are meant to capture moments and emotions, not just appearances. By shifting your focus, you can start to appreciate photos for the memories they hold rather than how you look in them.

Embracing Self-Acceptance

Learning to accept and even love photos of yourself is a journey, not a destination. It takes time, effort, and patience. Remember that your worth is not defined by how you look in a photograph. By practicing self-compassion, challenging negative thoughts, and focusing on the joy of the moment, you can start to change the way you see yourself in photos. Embrace the journey and celebrate the unique person you are, both in and out of the frame.


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