Having a camera in my hands is more than natural for me. I am a little too close to making it a permanent fixture on my arm. Since it is such a part of my life, I am often surprised when people shy away from my camera. (And when I say shy away, I mean run away. They throw up their hands, and take off as quickly as possible.)
Sometimes, I have to slow down and remember what it is like to be on the other side of the lens. It is an uncomfortable place.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how our own insecurities can make us hate the camera, but today I want to talk about an entirely different issue. There is another reason that you may hate having your picture taken, and it has nothing to do with your own insecurities.
You don't trust the photographer.
Let's start with the average person's photography experience:
You, as the average person, are bombarded by snapshots from camera phones or point and shoot cameras at every party and get-together that you go to. You are corralled by some overly enthusiastic well-wisher for a group photo, and you wear the fake smile as you wait for Uncle Joe to figure out how red-eye works.
A week later, the photo is up on facebook with the oh-so-cool caption Hanging with my homies. You, of course, happen to look like you were hit by a bus. You didn't even know your hair could get that frizzy, and how on earth did he capture the only moment when you looked more like a gargoyle than a human being.
You know, something like this:
So, you learned to not trust the photographer.
We need to make a distinction between Uncle Joe, snapshot extraordinaire, and a photographer. You have probably not had much experience with a photographer, but I'm sure that you have been smothered by Uncle Joes throughout your life. We need to talk about why you should trust a photographer, and why you should never trust Uncle Joe. ;)
What makes a photographer so different from Uncle Joe?
1. It is a photographer's goal to take flattering photos of you.
Uncle Joe's photography goal is very, very different from a photographer's photography goal.
Uncle Joe just wants to record who was at an event. He wants a snapshot of everyone who was at the party, so he can show people later and say that Aunt Mae and Cousin Ted were there. His goals and reasons for taking a picture are simple.
A photographer has very complex reasons for taking a photo, and they all have your best interest in mind. A photographer wants to create something beautiful. A photographer wants to give you a piece of art that stars you!
If you are the photographer's client, every time that camera is near you, the photographer is thinking about how to capture your personality and your beauty. The whole event is focused on giving you a fantastic outcome. That is very different from Uncle Joe.
2. A photographer understands how to throw out crappy photos.
This may be the one thing that gives you the most comfort. It is a photographer's job to throw out any photo that makes you look like crap!
Uncle Joe loves to see crappy pictures of you! He thinks they're funny! He loves to show all of his friends and post them all over the internet. Uncle Joe loves to laugh at other people, which doesn't make Uncle Joe very nice.
It does not benefit a photographer in any way to give a client a photo if the client looks like crap. A terrible photo makes the photographer look bad! He wants more customers not less! So, he wants to show you the best of the best from your photo session.
3. A photographers knows how to pose you.
A photographer spends a lot of time studying what types of poses are flattering. He studies photos that showcase all kinds of different body types, and he studies angles to see which ones will make you look good. He spends way too much of his time studying what makes a photo good or bad. Remember, he wants the good photos, too, so he is going to pose you to get those good photos!
Trust that he knows how to help you move so that the camera will love you. Trust that he is going to position you to minimize that tummy roll, not exhibit it!
The whole photography process is designed to give you photos that make you happy, that make you feel beautiful. You can relax and trust that you and your photographer want the same thing. You can trust that a photographer has mastered his craft. You can trust that your photographer is in no way like Uncle Joe.