Picture Avoidance Syndrome, Why do we hate having our photo taken so much?

PAS or picture avoidance syndrome is actually on the rise despite everyone being a photographer these days. It is kind of ironic if you think about it. We can have our photograph taken instantly at any time by anyone and yet more people hate than ever before!

Many people actually feel a genuine dread when a phone or camera comes out, but avoiding it now a days is almost impossible! If your not in someone’s selfies or iPhone photo you will be required for photos at work or school or family functions and that s not even counting all the cctv we are captured on!

The first thing people say to me after they learn I am a photographer is ‘I hate having my photo taken” and this is usually followed up by some disparaging remarks about themselves. ” I hate my face”, ” I am not photogenic”, ” I have a big nose” the list could go on.

Trust me when I say I am one of those people too, for years I carried too much weight and avoided the front end of the camera like the plague! What I discovered though will change the way you see photography and hopefully see your self too! We all are way too self critical and sometimes we really do need to give ourselves a break!

Part of the problem with the photos that are taken of s they tend to fall into two groups. The ‘snap’ that a friend or family member takes. These tend to be out and about and may even be taken by someone who has a keen interest in photography but they are never accompanied by any posing or direction and the lighting can be absolutely anything.

The second is what I would call the ‘school mug shot’, we have all had them either at school or even at work or even for the passport photo. The lighting is as generic and flat as possible, and the poses are cookie cutter and designed to flatter the majority. The one size fits all of photography.

In neither of these situations are you stacking the odds to get the photo of yourself you love. It is kind of like buying one raffle ticket and fully expecting to win, it is possible but very unlikely!

So the question is would you like to know some tips and start stacking the odds in your favour?

There is some really simple things that can make a big difference, I have listed a couple below :

  1. Re think the way you react to the camera being pointed in your direction, if you really hate it your body will react physically and you will tense up. If you are tense your posture and facial expressions will show this. my advice, breathe, take some long slow deep breaths.
  2. You do not have to smile! It is more common now, certainly kids today all know how to smize but learning to smile with your eyes can be an effective way to look happy without having the big cheesy grin. You can practice in front of the mirror or often just thinking about something that makes you happy can put the happiness back on your face.
  3. Enjoy the moment, not the photograph. It sounds silly but often you are so concerned that a camera is pointed in your direction you have forgotten why someone wanted to take the photo in the first place. try not to think about the camera but instead enjoy the moment and reason it was being taken in the first place.
  4. Hire a professional, with thousands of part-time or amateur photographers out there you can get all sorts of results but any person that has either studied it or developed their skills will stand apart, their skills will be evident in there images, especially portraits. Does their portfolio have a broad range of people with different body shapes, are they in poses flattering to them?

In future blogs I am going to show you how to pose for the photos but for now I want to you practice in the mirror your smizing and relaxing when a camera is pointed in your general direction!! Do not let your PAS rule your life, get out there and enjoy life and photos that come along with it!