Why we don’t like photos of ourselves

Why don’t we like photos of ourselves?

It has always surprised me how many people hate being photographed!

There are a lot of reasons why we don’t like photos of ourselves but surprisingly one of the most common reasons is we are simply not used to look at ourselves from the other’s point of view.

How many people here like to hear their recorded voice?

Often, we get a similar feeling when we look at photo of ourselves. Generally, we explain this reaction as the image that we see in the photo is flipped compared to our mirror reflection. When we see a picture of ourselves from the opposite perspective, none of our features are where we are expecting them to be. It makes us feel uncomfortable. That photo is of me, but it doesn’t look like me! Since we see ourselves most frequently in the mirror, that is our preferred self-image.

So, you can blame the mirror! However, the actual reason is not the mirror but it is the effect called mere-exposure. “The mere-exposure effect is a psychological phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them.” In simple words, the more we exposed to something, the more we like it. A lot of those things come from our childhood. That’s why I don’t eat vegemite!

Unless you have a perfectly symmetrical face, people see your face differently than you do in a mirror. That’s why you checked yourself in the mirror in the bathroom, then took a photo… and….

Have a look at my flipped image:

I have a pretty symmetrical face but I still see a massive difference when I flip the image. It’s a strange feeling. Looks like me but it’s not…  Funny enough the psychology works the opposite way with me – I’m so used to seeing photos of myself that when I flipped the image to match my reflection in the mirror, I actually like it less…

So, based on my own experience I can definitely state that the more photos of yourself you have, the more familiar you are with your appearance in the pictures and the more you like them!

It’s like a witch’s circle. You don’t like being photographed, you don’t like photos of yourself, so you are avoiding being photographed, and you become less and less familiar with your self-image in photos and you become more and more friends with your reflection in the mirror…. As soon as someone suddenly takes a photo of you again, you obviously don’t like it even more because it doesn’t look like you…

Anyway, the moral: the more pictures of yourself you have, the more you will like them…

I don’t claim it to be an universal rule but it does work for a lot of us.

So, grab your phone, flip one of your images now, and let me know which one you like more!

7 Tips for Looking Great in Bikini Photos

Today I would like to share some tips for looking great in Bikini Photos with you. There are millions of things you need to take in consideration when someone takes a photo of you but let’s concentrate on Swimwear photos. In general, as less clothes are worn, it is harder to create a flattering photo.

Tip 1. My first tip for looking great in photos is to forget about the “Just relax” tip. You can’t just relax your muscles when you are about to pose in a bikini! “Relax” in this case means – don’t be terrified that someone is pointing a camera at you. Instead of tensing up, you need to control how exactly you are positioning yourself. You need to feel confident by learning how the camera interacts with your body and how to present your body in way that emphasises what the camera likes. Enhance your best features and avoid unflattering angles.

Tip 2. Move the hips. Moving your hips will help you distribute your weight correctly and achieve desirable camera angles.  We all need to remember the old rule that everything that is further from the camera appears smaller, and everything that is closer to the camera looks bigger in the photo. We can manipulate our body shape by moving some parts closer or further from the lens. And one of the most important parts that we need to move in bikini photos, are the hips. By twisting our hips correctly, we can create a pleasant waist line and curvy body shape. Have a look at your waist when you are facing the camera and when you are twisting your hips. My weight stays on the back foot pretty much every time someone takes a photo of me, especially in the bikini. Experiment with different positions and find the best one for yourself. Next time someone points the camera at you – twist the hips!

Tip 3. Suck the stomach in. Looking great in bikini photos often requires you to arch your back in an extreme way. However, while we are doing this, we forget to suck the stomach in. The difficult part here is to make sure you are not overdoing it and showing you rib cage instead. Learning how to tense your abdominals so they look flat might take a bit of practice. Twisting your hips, arching your back and sucking-in your belly is not going to feel comfortable, and it’s not supposed to be… Remember, if it feels awkward, it looks great!  I have stolen this saying from Peter Harley but he is so damn right! We all want to look natural in photos, and I agree, but the trick to looking natural in photos is that you need to pose so well that it looks natural.

Tip 4. We are all have skin. How many of you are freaking out when you see skin folds? Oh my god! I look fat! No, you are not, it’s just skin… Yes, Victoria Secret models have skin too, there’s nothing wrong with it. The problem is that we are so used with looking at glamorous pictures in the magazines with zero imperfections that we forget about how much airbrushing is involved in creating those images. And if you are arching your back extensively, you will have skin folds there anyway because you are a human being, but… you can avoid showing those skin folds in photos by stretching your side waist. What you need to do is drop your hip downwards even more and lift you rib cage. Yep, I’ve never told you that I’m going to give you easy tips!

Tip 5. Put your hands up. Putting the hands up will prolong your body and help you stretch the skin folds. I would not recommend posing with hands up in certain situations, for example when you are wearing strapless dresses, especially if it’s you wedding dress. But it does work for the bikini shots. Have a look through some swimwear catalogues, and you will notice that the majority of models have their hands up. The little side effect of lifting your arms is showing too much underarms. Just be mindful that your underarm is not the closest thing to the camera. If you are lifting one hand, just lift the one that further from the camera.

Tip 6. Don’t point elbows to the camera. No one have ever said: Oh my god she has such beautiful elbows! It’s definitely not the prettiest part of human body (together with knees). Point those elbows out to the side. It will also help you create more triangles with your body. Curves and triangles create the most pleasant shapes in photos. Triangles have been used widely in art especially since the Renaissance. A triangle is the simplest form of the polygon and it gives the viewer the subconscious feeling of simplicity and completeness. The triangle has hypnotised artists for thousands of years. Why not to use it for your bikini shot?

Tip 7. Change one thing at a time. There is absolutely no point of dramatically changing the whole pose every camera click. Don’t do – side, back, front, turn… If you change only one thing at a time you will never run out of poses. Let me give you the example of the hands. Instead of panicking and thinking: what should I do with my hands, think about a few points. For example, hips, shoulder, head… And keep changing only one hand at a time.

These are just a few common tips for looking great in bikini photos. Try to sit down or lay down in your swimwear and you realise that there are a lot more things you need to take in consideration. If you want to learn more tips for posing, check my Posing Workshops 😉