Last week I talked about some of the interesting psychology behind why you think you are not photogenic. Today I’m going to give you some tips on how to turn this around and learn how to love photos of yourself.
In my last post about the psychology behind these feelings, I mentioned the Exposure Effect which in simple photography terms means the more we expose our brains to real images of ourselves, the more we will become familiar and comfortable with that version instead of being thwarted by our perceived self image.
How to get rid of negative thoughts about how we look
So by doing more of what makes us uncomfortable, we can actually reverse those negative thoughts and feelings and change the way we feel about ourselves in photos. You can even try looking back over older photos. Sometimes we dismiss images viewed at the time they’re taken only to go back later and think ‘I don’t look as bad as I thought!’. Go look at a few and get comfortable with them. Research has shown that short burst of this kind of exposure can really make a difference.
Does smiling make you more attractive?
Observing a smile enhances activation in the medial orbitofrontal cortex area of the brain, an area associated with reward (O’Doherty et al., 2003). Seeing someone smile can increase our perception of attractiveness, which is understandable when you think about it. I bet if you look back through your own photos, your favourites are ones where you are smiling and looking relaxed, not only because you’ll be looking at a happy memory but because research has shown that happier people are perceived to be more attractive and that will apply to yourself too.
Try going back a bit further than selfies you took last week, go back five or even ten years, you’ll be amazed at how young and stunning you look. The most important thing to remember though, is that you are the most beautiful when you are being yourself.
It will always feel more awkward if you are the only one in front of the camera and that sharing the limelight with people you love will make your photos ooze with love and connection. When you forget there is a camera pointing at you, you know those moments when you’re purely in the moment and sharing it with someone, those are the photos you’ll treasure.
How can I look more relaxed in photos?
Pro photographers have a whole arsenal of techniques to help clients love photos of themselves which I’ll explore in more depth in another post next week. In the meantime, for more inspiration download my free guide below.