Back to the Subject… Who decides I look good in a photo?

I know I’ve veered off course here and have made this blog more personal which wasn’t really my intention.  I wanted the focus on my experiences, about learning a beautiful craft.  So, I must apologize for my conceit. 🙂
I also want to acknowledge/reiterate how embarrassed I sometimes am in writing this blog.  I have a few friends who are absolutely talented professionals, who have owned/own their own successful businesses!  I haven’t built up the courage or audacity to ask their opinion about this blog and for good reason.  They know more.  They’re better.  They’re great.  At any rate, I wanted to acknowledge the giant elephant in the room before proceeding — and meekly ask their forgiveness for my ignorance.

Today I wanted to share some thoughts and theories I have about what looks great and what sells.  The psychological side of selling a portrait, if you will.  Its just ramblings, nonsense really.  So here’s a grain of proverbial salt to take with this post…
On Facebook, I think we’ve all uploaded an awful photo.  Its out of focus or noisy (grainy), everyone’s eyes are glowing, or there’s even a weird-looking (albeit clever) photo-bomber right behind you.  But we still upload the hideous photo.
Because we like it.
Because we look 5 lbs lighter, because we look 10 lbs lighter, because we look younger, the crows feet are blurred, the dark under-eye circles aren’t there, because our arms look buff in the shot, because I look nothing like what I see in the mirror after a stressful day at work.  Because the photo finally makes me feel good about myself after seeing 15 photos that I will be promptly deleting.  Heck, I’ll admit I’ll choose a noisy photo over a clean shot almost 100% of the time as my profile pic.

Detour through this theory: I belong to Clickinmoms.com.  Its a fantastic website, and I’m pretty sure everyone in the world knows about it.  For those who don’t know much about it, its an online community filled with photographers both pro and newbie.  And it. Is. Awesome.  Forums upon forums of tutorials from pro’s, advice for rookies, and my favorite forum: Photo by Lens where you can have a nice visual to see what different lenses are capable of.  Like I said, its an amazing online community.
With that being said, there is a forum I like to visit (because sometimes its better than reality tv), titled Business Matters/Client Advice.  Here Pros get together and share experiences they have in rough situations and people come to their aid and share the wealth of knowledge and advice to a beleaguered photographer that just wants to do her best — which doesn’t always translate into client satisfaction.
I am amazed at how many threads are started with a client not liking the photos as the subject matter, and in so many words (or even sometimes blatantly) will the tell the photographer they think they aren’t getting their moneys worth.
This is a very relatable topic.  I know I’ve been in positions where I’ve put my heart and soul into something whether it be work, church, or family related only to be informed it isn’t good enough.  How do you not take that personally?  And believe you me, the threads I read are filled to the brim with photographers who really do sacrifice a lot to deliver a beautiful final product.  Whether missing time with their family, staying up late editing only to wake up early the next day, or investing in props/lenses/software to make sure we (the client) are happy.  I don’t think I’ve read even one comment from a blasé photographer.
On the flip-side, you’re investing quite a bit.  Of course you want your moneys worth.

But maybe we’re getting it and we don’t even realize it.

I think it all boils down not that the client is wrong, or that the photographer is wrong, but to how we feel about ourselves.
If I see a photo that shows one or more of my plethora of insecurities, I hate it.  It may be a gorgeous photo, with lovely background and brings out every nice facial feature.  But if I feel ugly, that photo is trashed –both literally and digitally.  If a photo shows an insecurity, it makes that insecurity real.  Its there, in the photo, tangible evidence that (in my opinion) I’m not as flawless as I thought.

Again, this is just rambling.  Should the photographer invest MORE time and MORE money into making us feel better about ourselves?  Should the client accept their flaws and appreciate that the photo is beautiful?  I don’t really know.  But what’s the little cliche?  Knowing is half the battle?

Anyways, may we all feel appreciated, recognize our beauty and strive to be better, kinder and forgiving of not exclusively others, but ourselves.

Myself included…