There are many reasons why portraits are not valued in today’s society.  Sometimes we lack self confidence to stand in front of the camera, to see ourselves in the pictures, and sometimes, we forget, that our family members will not be next to us forever…

Self Confidence

Every time I show a picture to a female customer on my camera, the first reaction that I usually get is, “Can you photograph that away? I hate the way I look.”

I have worked with so many women during most of my life; I know what women want. Every woman wants to be the best version of herself. Unfortunately, their self-confidence level about their body image is so low that most of them are not happy with the way they look.

Every time I show a picture to a female customer on my camera, the first reaction that I usually get is, “Can you photograph that away? I hate the way I look.”

The word “hate” is a strong statement to use on oneself.

It is very heartbreaking to see women stressing constantly over their looks. Instead of embracing the woman they see on the picture, they will search for flaws about themselves.

As a portrait photographer, I have heard of every excuse you can ever imagine. It’s usually coming from a woman, from a mother: “Oh, no, no, no, do not photograph me, just photograph my children.”

Does this ring a bell?

What happens if your children and loved ones start looking for pictures of you one day? What do they have? Nothing, because most women refuse to stand in front of the camera.

Apparently, there is this annoying voice in your head telling you constantly that you are not photogenic, you are not beautiful, you look old, fat, and ugly. Honestly, your family members do not mind about your weight. They love who you are, and all they want is a beautiful portrait of you and a portrait taken together as a family.

Taking Things for Granted

“One of the deepest regrets I have in life is the fact that I do not have any pictures taken together with him, printed on paper, to which I can hold on and remember.”

I remember receiving an unexpected phone call from my brother one morning while I was still serving in the Army. He was mumbling something over the phone and I was trying to figure out what he was saying.

All of a sudden, he broke down into tears and could hardly speak.

I panicked and asked what happened. There were a few seconds of silence.

Then he started talking very slowly and said, “Come up ASAP. Father has died of a heart attack.”

That was shocking and devastating news. My father has already left meal most 30 years ago. One of the deepest regrets I have in life is the fact that I do not have any pictures taken together with him, printed on paper, to which I can hold on and remember.

Many people take things for granted.  We believe that nothing bad will happen to us or our loved ones. Only when someone close to us passes away, is it then we start looking for their photographs in panic, hoping to find something in one of the drawers.

We keep delaying things which are not on our priority list, and having a portrait taken of yourself is certainly not something that encourages you to pause everything else, just to be photographed.

I love what Will Smith said in his movie trailer for Collateral Beauty:  “We’re here to connect.   Love, time, death. These three things connect every single human being on Earth. We long for love, we wish we had more time and we fear death.”

One of the most difficult subjects that people refuse to talk about (or avoid completely) is death. The fear of death is strong enough to compel us to force bitter gourd down our throats.

One of the reasons why we do not talk about this is that we have been brought up to hear “nice things.” Nobody wants to talk about the end of their life. The funny thing is that everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.

Family is more than just a group of people related to each other. It is comprised of your parents, brothers and sisters, best friends, a beloved pet, someone with whom you have a meaningful connection and experience. It’s love and support. It’s a source of inspiration. It’s that warm and fuzzy feeling. It’s wonderful, and it’s necessary. Despite the love and support you have for one another, not many people see the importance of having portraits taken with family.

“Life is truly too short for us to be stressed over how we look.”

Some families do take selfies using mobile phones. The problem with selfies is that they can be destroyed in a flash because they are in digital format. How many of you actually print out all your selfies and display them onto an album?

Instead of taking selfies, have pictures taken professionally where you can have them printed so that you and your family can cherish them for years to come.

Right now, I would like you to take a moment to think about what I am going to share with you next, seriously, because it concerns everyone’s lives. Whether you have children or no children, I am very sure there is at least one person in your life that you love or loves you.

Your portraits will become priceless one day. There is no money that will take your family back to the moment when I capture you and put you on paper forever. That is when I stop the clock for you and it will forever be the most valuable thing that you and your family will own. When you are no longer here one day, your children and family will look at your portraits and say–this was my mother, my wife, my sister, my best friend.

I would like you to exist in photos – for your children, for your family, for your loved one but, more importantly, for yourself because you are good enough to be photographed, you are good enough to exist in photos. People do not realise the value of such moments until they become a memory.

Life is truly too short for us to be stressed over how we look. It is a magical blessing that we get to exist on this planet. There is a reason why we are here and we need to celebrate who we are. Embrace yourself and start creating a legacy of memorable portraits that you and your family can cherish.

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