I often do a poll during my workshops: “Raise your hand if you don’t like having your own photo being taken.” Usually more than half of my students raise their hands.
“Do onto others as you would like others to do onto you.”
If you don’t like having your own photographs taken, you assume everyone else doesn’t like having their own photos taken.
But the problem is that there are some people (like myself) who actually like having their own photos taken.
Feel comfortable on the other side
The solution: assume everyone else likes being photographed.
Of course this isn’t the truth, but by assuming everyone else likes being photographed, your body language will show more confidence, friendliness, and your subject will feel more comfortable and willing being photographed.
Also as another tip: hire a studio photographer and get a professional portrait of yourself shot (learned this idea from my friend and portrait photographer Sara Lando). Or ask a friend to do it for you. Know what it feels like to be on the other side of the lens. See what makes you feel comfortable and what makes you feel uncomfortable. This will give you more insight into how to better photograph others.
Another idea: learn to shoot self portraits of yourself. I think that photography is all part of an inner-journey for you to get to know who you are.
What is it exactly about yourself that you don’t like being photographed? Are you self conscious of how you look? Is there a certain side of your face that you prefer over the other? If you were to be comfortable being photographed, what would that look like? Discover that.
Once you feel comfortable in your own skin as a photographer, your confidence, energy, and enthusiasm will spill over to others. And confidence is infectious.
Remember the photography golden rule. How do you expect to photograph others confidently, when you don’t like having your own photograph taken?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eric Kim is a street photographer and photography teacher currently based in Berkeley, California. His life’s mission is to produce as much “Open Source Photography” to make photography education accessible to all. You can see more of his work on his website, and find him on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. This article was also published here and shared with permission.
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