27 July 2010

Personal photo anxiety

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random, work

I love taking pictures, I’m just not always so good about having them taken of me.

Growing up, my grandpa was a master photographer. He took pictures of my brother and me all the time and I loved it. I would faux model and goof around and it was standard that on any birthday or holiday, we all had to take family photos before opening presents or after (if we couldn’t control ourselves).

I look back at those photos now and smile, having fond memories of those times (and a good laugh at my often horrific hair, glasses and outfits).

But on a bad day, I see nothing but flaws when I look at them. The way I hold my head gives me a double chin, my hair laying limp around my face reminds me of a female Cousin It from the Addams Family. And can I give a shout out to the braces? Oh lord.

Now, I have a certain way that I will stand and tilt my head in photos so that my face and body looks slimmer (or as I like to say, keep my stomach from looking three months pregnant). And if I can’t get in that position, I will awkwardly adjust my body to try and mirror parts of it. People may make fun of me, but seriously, knowing your angles works!

Getting my picture taken, especially when it’s for something official, now turns me into a nervous wreck. For example, recently, we had office picture day, where all staff had to come to get their photos reshot for project presentations, etc.

The first time, I didn’t take it seriously, walked in, found my mark, gave a little Blue Steel and then went over to see the results, where I learned two things: I need to lose 40 pounds and my head is freakishly small compared to my big body.

When I heard reshoots were available, I laid out an outfit, applied full make up, washed and styled my hair, put together jewelry and worked out the day before so my arms looked extra “cut.”

In spite of this, I still looked huge and now, PALE. That was…deflating.

I think I’ll stick to being behind the camera or in random candid shots with friends. And I may start randomly getting down to do 10 push ups to get back in shape. Hilarious? You bet. Will I do it? Maybe.

What about you? Do you like getting your picture taken? Or do you have any funny stories about past school or work photographs?


  1. Gina says:

    I can definitely relate. The reason why I was searching on the internet for this specific topic is because I just had a photo shoot done yesterday because I want to build a website and have professional, pretty pictures. Little did I know that I had so much anxiety around taking the pictures. There are people or woman who are awesome with posing and doing those random things that look feminine and coordinated, where me on the other hand, boil up inside when I have to strike a pose because I have no idea what to do. It’s like I had to remember to smile, keep my chin down, have good posture, keep my eyes open (although the sun was so bright) and smile (meanwhile, an authentic smile was hard because I was feeling so uncomfortable) in turn, I was feeling uncomfortable about feeling uncomfortable!!! There were some shots that she took that I did like, no doubt, but the whole process was really uncomfortable, and I just wanted to stop doing it! She took like 700 shots… she goes, you don’t realize how beautiful you are… and maybe it has to do with feeling awkward in that feminine way, there’s nothing wrong with it, but at the same time, when you are in these situations where you want pretty pictures, it’s a freaking challenge!!! I left the photo shoot feeling depleted and depressed… and more so, I think shame around the fact that I was so uncomfortable with it.

  2. Contour Abs says:

    I can’t find how to subscribe to the comments via feed . I want to keep abrest of this, how do I do that?

  3. Lucy says:

    I am the complete opposite of photogenic–I squint when I smile, I do something weird with my neck that gives me a triple chin (at least) and my head always looks ginormous (the head that ate New York is what my friends (bastards)call it!) HATE having my picture made, because even if I think I’m having a cute day the picture will NOT capture that!

  4. E.P. says:

    Most of the time, I HATE having my photo taken because I only see flaws. While I’m working on this, it is a tough thing to get over. You know? Good thing my job keeps me behind the camera most of the time…

  5. Erin says:

    I actually really love getting my picture taken when it’s done by a professional. Unfortunately, I also still have the horror that is school picture day. YUCK. After battling with my preschoolers for an hour to sit still and smile at the camera, then I get to have my own awful picture taken. Not fun.

  6. i don’t mind random candid shots with friends and such. but school photos or other posed photos.. ouch! i always look horrible!

  7. I always look different in every pic taken of me- i need to be like paris hilton and practice poses in a mirror lol ;)

  8. Allison says:

    In pictures, I notice how my posture is terrible. That’s something I continue to work on.

  9. Lil' Woman says:

    Ever since I put on weight I don’t like pictures as much but I’ve that my left side is my best side and if I’m smiling with teeth I push my tongue against my teeth so it tightens up my jawline a bit.

  10. katelin says:

    i usually don’t mind getting my picture taken and just hope that it turns out okay. although i am having slight anxiety for taking pictures on my wedding day, haha.

  11. I guess this makes me incredibly vain, but I LOOOOVEE getting my picture taken! (in fact, my mother does as well so I fully blame my vanity on her) I attribute this to the fact that during my grade school years, (aka years BEFORE braces) my teeth were so bad and I hated having my picture taken because that meant no smiling.

    Well, ever since my braces came off you can’t get me away from a camera. I guess I’m just making up for lost time :)

  12. Kate says:

    I wouldn’t say I’m the least photogenic person ever, but I’m pretty high on the list. In order to get a decent picture of me smiling, I have to do this big cheesy fake grin first to get my mouth to do the right thing. So trust me, sister, I feel your pain.

  13. RondaMarie says:

    Always angled, never a straight on shot. Smile with teeth, but not too much. Try not to squint. Sit up straight. Make sure your hair looks good. These are all things I tell myself right before getting my picture taken. We are all guilty of it. Some of my favorite pictures of myself are when I wasn’t paying attention, and when I was smiling a true authentic smile. You are gorgeous. We are all beautiful if we choose to see our own beauty.

    And, uh, @Lindsay, is a dirty whore, at least that’s what her boyfriend told me last night.

  14. Erin says:

    We have this “joke” in my family that my step-siblings and their spouses are gorgeous and cannot take a bad photo. My husband and I, however, are possibly the least photogenic people we know. We try so hard, but it just doesn’t work out. I don’t hate getting my photo taken because I live in denial that it could possibly turn out bad. Too bad it usually does.

  15. Lacey Bean says:

    I don’t mind having my picture taken, but when it comes out bad, I HATE IT. Of course Dave never thinks I take a bad picture, but oh man, sometimes the shape of my face just looks WEIRD. Or I look super pale. Ughh. ‘Tis why I got my makeup professionally done for my wedding. Didn’t want to be Casper on that day!

  16. Suz says:

    I HATE getting my picture taken right now because I need to loose weight, but even when I am in shape it makes me seriously uncomfortable. Right now I am avoiding the camera like the plague. I managed to avoid most pictures of myself on my most recent trip until I got outsmarted by a 2 year old with a camera! I totally feel you on this issue.

  17. Lindsay says:

    You are a fucking ugly dork! Good luck.

  18. I used to hate, hate, hate photos of myself, now I just strongly dislike them. The wonderful thing about the digital age is that it’s very easy to dispose of terrible photos ;) Now, I generally try to take goofy pictures so that it doesn’t look like I’m trying too hard, ha!

  19. mandy says:

    I’m not a fan of photos of myeself, espeically if they include my lower half. Ugh! I think its hard to get good photos. The ones that I enjoy the best are candid ones, self portraits, or drunk shots.

  20. Kyla Roma says:

    I’m the same way. I learned how to look good in photographs for like, six months of last year and then lost it again lol

    It’s part of the reason I’m growing my hair out actually, I love having it so short but the font of my hair does *such weird things* some of the time and it’s made me really self conscious. The worst part? I’m sure that it’s just my feeling awkward that makes me look awkward, and if I could let go a little this wouldn’t be a problem.

    Just remember, even models only “hit it” every few frames- we should be given at least that chance ;)

  21. Melinda says:

    I don’t like pictures of myself, especially if they are including anything from the shoulders down! In fact I did a video recently for a giveaway and I almost didn’t enter it because my big fat roll was just out there for the world to see. It is really embarrassing but at the same time I know that most people are not going to see all the flaws that I see. Still I don’t want to share them with the world.

  22. April says:

    My freshman year of college my friend and I were joking about doing the “Cosmo head tilt” for our ID photos, and we both ended up going to get our IDs done the same day (but at our different schools) with the same head tilt. We compared results when we saw each other at fall break and we have the exact same angle, tilted the same way, everything. I still have that ID for the LOLs. And it’s the best “official” photo of me ever.

    Sadly, it doesn’t work on the DMV cameras, as they have a special filter lens to make everyone look like shit.

  23. I don’t mind having photos taken, even though I used to like having them taken more. One thing I’ve learned from standing behind the camera is some of the best smiles are taken candidly. Saying CHEESE isn’t really becoming to most people.

  24. Lizsara says:

    Almost every picture of me i have my tongue out. i hate having my picture taken with a fire-y passion and i am really unphotogenic too

  25. Nora says:

    I always twist my body around too; my mom is always taking photos and she gets some good ones but also some bad ones! I’m usually rather shy about photos unless I’m drunk and then I don’t much care :)

  26. I had to get an official work picture taken and I hate it! Ha!

  27. Ginger says:

    Um, did you get in my head to write this post? Because, hello, this is so me. It drives me crazy because I USED to like the way I looked in pictures, but now I basically am never in front of the camera. Even if it’s just a head shot, I never like the way I look. I’m trying to work on it though, because I’d like there to be some photographic evidence of me in my kids photos!

  28. Allie says:

    Sorry – I was writing on my phone, and it screwed up. Anyway, I thought you were a beautiful model on our little photo shoot earlier this year. I even printed one of your photos in my photography album to show off my favorite work. So there ;)

  29. eemusings says:

    Noppe, makes me break out in a cold sweat. I do have a couple of off-the-cuff shots where I think I look pretty hot, but those are the exception. I gaze upon them and wonder why I can’t be photogenic all the time. Must have been the holiday glow!

    Seriously, I had the most terrible faceshot printed in a mag alongside my contributor’s bio. I can’t stand to look at the page. For profile pics, I will seriously spend hours snapping almost identical self portraits in front of the mirror until I finally get a satisfactory one.

  30. Allie says:

    I thought you were a beautiful model on