Photo courtesy of Bridget Mcenaney of Bridget Mcenaney Photography.
It has been years since I've been in front of the camera. My hubby has gotten a few photos of me over the years, but nothing where I have actually posed. It was always just me in front of something pretty. Or funny. I've taken a few of myself in front of the mirror or with my arm all out stretched. But, I don't count those. My former second photographer, got a few of me standing in murky pond water, on trestles of bridges, doing bizarre things to get the angle, the shot I want. She took them all without my knowing.
I've never been comfortable in front of the camera. When I was younger, I had really crooked teeth and a certain family member (we won't name names) used to tell me "not to smile". Then there was the dreaded 8th grade student id photo. I went to go check out a book from the school library and the kids behind the counter actually passed the id around, because it was such a bad photo.
I hadn't even planned on being in front of the camera this time. I was planning on Chloë playing model, but she wasn't interested. She wanted to play. Bridget and I had rented a softbox. My other talented photographer friend, Libby McGowan came over too and we were just playing. I'd never used off camera lighting for my shoots before. I was in need of learning something new. But, it's kinda hard using a soft box without someone to light. So, here I am laying on my bed. Playing model.
I get clients who are uncomfortable in front of the camera quite often. I tell them the same thing. "Everyone's photogenic", "Just give it a little bit. Twenty minutes and you'll be fine". The things that I say to promise my client that they will be happy with their photos. Twenty minutes and they are almost always fine.
My first twenty minutes, Bridget got photos of me sticking out my tongue, making goofy faces, faux dancing, because I was so uncomfortable in front of the camera. Then 25 minutes in, I got my model on. All of a sudden, I was fine. I was able to look into the camera. I was able to smile, without feeling like I should go get behind my own camera. Without feeling incredibly awkward. It was a great feeling, finally getting comfortable and to see that someone was finally able to get a good photo. It feels good, and in the end, I feel so much better about my self than I did before.
A photo is more powerful than you think. They are not just likenesses. They are memories, memories of friends, memories of places. Joy and sadness. They can bring back feelings of love and remind you who you once were.