As a portrait photographer and a person still struggling to #existinphotos in my own life, I’ve heard it all. Here are the most likely reasons why you haven’t booked yet, and my thoughts on them.
This is the third and final installment in my #existinphotos blog series (for now). Here are the first and second posts – if you haven’t checked those out yet, definitely do that first and come back!
Anyway, in this post I wanted to kind of go over some of the things we tell ourselves when we’re thinking about booking a portrait photographer. For some people, a professional shoot is really daunting. But if you’re in a place where you can invest in yourself and your legacy, it’s worth so much more than you might think.
1. I’m too old. I need to lose weight first. (AKA, my looks aren’t good enough for professional photos).
I had to list this one first, because I can relate to it so much. We all have a lot of mental blocks about how we appear to the world. To add to that, we have to grapple with representation in media.
While there’s more in the way of plus size representation out there these days (still not much), it’s really tough when you’re over 40. I’m not there yet! Still, I have had many conversations with women about how invisible they feel as they get older – not just in magazines and TV, but even walking through the shopping mall. Well, if no one has told you lately: YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL NO MATTER YOUR SIZE OR AGE. Trust me, I find beauty for a living. It’s in us all. Not only is it there on the outside, but it’s within as well and photographers can pull it right out into the open.
You’ve spent your entire life learning about yourself and how you are connected to the world. Celebrate that! Enjoy it! When was the last time you did that? Do not allow yourself to be invisible anymore.
2. I don’t deserve it.
There’s a lot to unpack here, and while photographers sometimes function as therapists during shoots, we all have our own reasons for thinking this that a small blog post can’t delve into. Suffice it to say that I know this one pretty well too! And here’s the thing: everyone deserves to have beautiful photographs of themselves. Say it louder for the people in back: EVERYONE DESERVES TO HAVE BEAUTIFUL PHOTOGRAPHS.
Even if you book your shoot with trepidation, unsure what you’ll do once you get there, you’ll leave with a sense of empowerment. My self portraits, for example, have been really hard to do some weeks because I would rather hide, but when I’m done I’m always really happy I did it.
There’s an element of self-acceptance and love that comes from really sitting down and having a portrait made of yourself – even if it’s a few minutes during a family session where you get some photos of just you.
3. Photos of the kids are more important – I don’t need to be in them.
I feel like this is actually a subset of #2, but since I hear it so often, I feel like it deserves its own section. I talked a little bit in my first post about my mom, who passed away when I was very young, and how most of my memories of her are from photographs. In fact, I love all of the family photos I get to sift through – they’re a treasure to my family as they are to most other families.
If the same is true for you, don’t you think it will be true for your children? Let them have photographs of you to keep forever. They’ll treasure these as part of your story, your legacy. Be in your own family photos!
4. What would I do with photos of just me?
This one comes up a little less often because it never actually gets to the point of being vocalized – it’s more of an internal thought process that keeps people, men and women, from booking anything other than family portraits. A portrait photographer can do so much more than that. And in reality, all of the above reasons apply to this – celebration, empowerment, legacy, love.
From a practical standpoint, there are things you can do with photographs of yourself. Give them as gifts – your spouse, your mother and grandmother. Save them for your children in an heirloom box. Use the digitals online, for dating profiles or social media or local publication profiles. This is YOU. This is your current expression of yourself, just the way you are, and it’s worth existing just on its own.
These are only the most common reasons I hear for people not booking a portrait photographer. There are so many! But each one of them can really be boiled down to one of these, and it really all boils down to this: YOU CAN AND YOU SHOULD.
If you’ve never booked a portrait photographer, I challenge you to do it in the first half of 2019. I am starting a campaign that I hope will embody the #existinphotos movement – for everyone that hasn’t been brave enough to book a shoot. Click here to see the CELEBRATE movement! If you want to know more, you can reach out below and we can start chatting about the walls you have up, how you can bring them down, and how booking a shoot can help.