I’m going to devote the letter ‘C’ to one of my favorite soapbox subjects…
C is for CONFIDENCE… confidence in front of the camera… not taking photographs, but being photographed. Come with me on this one, it may go on longer than the normal bite size chunks of information!
The larger part of the population feels uncomfortable being photographed, assuming they either don’t photograph well, or are just not photogenic. There is quite a ‘love/hate’ relationship, whether it’s with the experience, the results, both, or something else!
Yet we are photographed more than ever these days… wouldn’t it be such a change for the better if we could resist jumping to the ‘same old’ assumptions when seeing an image of ourselves we don’t particularly like. With a greater awareness and understanding of why we feel like this, many people would start to have a change of heart, greater confidence and a huge improvement in how they feel about it. There seems to be an assumption, that if someone picks up a camera, points it at someone and ‘clicks’… the results are down to the person being photographed … and yet the success of any other photography, be it landscape, structural, still life, animals, wildlife … it’s all down to the photographer!? – odd that one!
There are numerous reasons that contribute towards people feeling like this and yet time and time again I hear people referring to something they didn’t necessarily create (unless it’s a selfie!), but were the subject and assume it’s down to them and how they look in the results. It’s sort of understandable, when we look at an image of ourselves, that’s all we see and don’t consider elements beyond it.
To start with, a photograph captures a moment in time and the decision the person in charge of the camera made of when to press the shutter. If you suddenly find yourself in front of a camera when someone (for example) has decided they want to capture a ‘hearty’ moment among friends, you can be captured with any number of expressions according to how you reacted at the time… and if it was not particularly flattering, it doesn’t mean you cannot take a good photograph!
Many people refer to images taken, not knowing it was being shot, that they really like, this is due to the person in charge of the camera capturing the best moment. There is a tension that comes with being self conscious and we very can quickly lose our lovely natural expressions.
There are many other reasons that affect us, external influences, our own experiences, technical – I challenge the saying ‘the camera never lies’ – it’s not strictly true, for example phone and tablet camera’s are notoriously bad at distorting facial features!
… and then there is light(!)… this can be your friend and foe. Cameras do not interpret shadows and highlights as well as our eyes do. Soft diffused light is much more flattering than say bright, high, outdoor direct light.
However I want to conclude with an earlier point about our wonderful natural expressions. They are there in every one of us and the person in charge of the camera who captures this in you, whether a professional photographer or not, is the one who captures the best in you. As an illustration, I’ve included one of my ‘walls of fame’; being a small selection of people I’ve had the pleasure to capture. I appreciate many of these are studio lit (not all), however, it’s their natural expression that were captured.
You may have noticed, I’ve been highlighting the phrase ‘the person in charge of the camera’ – so take heart, you can take a good image and it’s not all your fault, or all down to you :)!