Isn’t it funny that sometimes we read something that changes everything? I read this that my friend Anna wrote a few months ago. She sadly lost her aunt quite suddenly and her article explores her “why” as a photographer and why photos are so important.
Friends, family and the people I photograph assume that because I am a confident, happy person that I like having my photo taken. I guess I don’t really mind now but I haven’t always felt this way. I was talking to my mum the other day and she was surprised to learn that I used to hate the way I looked when I smiled, I think this was in my teenage years. I remember clearly thinking I looked like a horse. Hilarious now when I think about it! The funny thing now is that most people remember me smiling and my smile is really who I am, teeth and all.
True fact. Most people I photograph hate having their picture taken.
Recently, I was doing a pre-wedding shoot of the loveliest couple and their daughter whom I have really got to know and have become good friends. I noticed that during the shoot she was trying really hard not to show her teeth. I asked her about it half way through and she confirmed she hated her smile.
We had a lovely chat about who her photos are for are really for and she agreed they were for her fiancé and her daughter and all of her friends and family and possibly a small part of photographs was so she felt good about herself. A few weeks later I received the most wonderful email from her. She hadn’t fully realised how much her effort not to show her teeth had been effecting her and she really felt the photos when she wasn’t smiling where not who she really was. She feels happier when she smiles and she looks more like herself, and that is how she wants to be remembered.
Here is what she actually said…
“After what you said about me not liking my teeth I have started to smile properly again as I can see that it makes such a difference. I never really noticed that I wasn’t smiling properly before but it was so good that you picked up on it as it completely changes the way I look and I don’t look properly happy unless I am properly smiling! If you see me slipping back into my old ways on the wedding day you will have to kick (or tickle) me!”
In today’s age of selfies and digital photos galore I guess there is an element of vanity in photos but I really hope that the photos I take make my couples and families stop and think… “That really looks like me, or you have captured my partner perfectly it’s so him.”
I want my photos to be so much more that vanity.
I want my photos to truly capture who you are because photos are how we remember the people we love, how they were then, the moment, the sounds of everyone laughing and how that moment made you feel.