I have shared articles and advice on this in the past but I've been thinking about this subject a lot lately. It seems that often I see people waiting for something better before they do something now. I am guilty of this and so many of you are too. Do you know what I mean?
There are a lot of things we put off until we meet some made up criteria we set for ourselves.
Waiting can be a really good thing. It can mean using patience and wisdom. It can mean letting something just okay go until something great comes along worth seizing. But, sometimes waiting is not a good thing.
So, I'm talking to Moms and Dads, Grandparents, and Uncles, and Aunties, and you.
When was the last time you had a real portrait taken of you? Not a selfie! Not a photobomb of you passing in the background. Not a quick snapshot on vacation. Not a sit your camera on a ledge, hastily focused, run, jump in the scene and say cheese while accidentally choke-holding your spouse or sibling (no time for a graceful pose) and hope the picture took kind of photograph.
WHAT?!!!! It's been that long? Are you kidding?
I hear the excuses. I get it. I really do. I make them too and I am photographer. For pete's sake I should know better by now. It's not worth waiting. Life is short.
Um, Melissa, aren't you just trying to sell us your photography business?
No, I'm not. Hire me; don't hire me; find a great hobby photographer who needs to practice. But have an up to date portrait taken every so often, please.
Do not wait until you are skinnier. Do not wait until you feel better or look better or until someone has a wedding and wants you in the family picture.
You might be thinking that it's too vain to have your picture taken. Maybe you think you're not important enough to have your portrait done. Maybe you are shy or nervous, or awkward feeling. Or maybe no one has ever taken a picture of you that looks good and you hate every single picture you've been in EVER! Maybe you just feel like crap and you can't muster the effort to have your portrait done.
Let me tell you something. You are important right now. Someone loves you. Someone wants to remember you the way you are now. If you spend time dodging pictures or never having your portrait done you are leaving a whole in the world when you leave. Because there are people in this world who will miss you. They will want to take out that picture and see you and look at your face and remember what it was like to have you here.
Whoa, Melissa, what a downer. You just made me really depressed.
Well, no one wants to think about the what ifs. But honestly, if we look at history we see that we are very lucky in the here and now to have a way to remember our loved ones. We all think it's creepy to see those articles that swim around the internet about Victorian people who took portraits of their dead family members posed like they are alive and had jewelry made out of the deceased's hair. Think about it. Those people were desperately trying to have something to hold onto that would help them remember what their loved one looked like years after the memory started to get fuzzy. We go to funerals and play slideshows of a person's life in pictures. Those are wonderful memories. Did you ever sit watching one of those slideshows and think that maybe it would have been nice if there was a good clear portrait of that person?
Okay, the Debbie Downer moment is almost over but hold on for one more second and look at it like this.
As a mom and photographer I take four million portraits of my kids. I can't get enough. I want to see every change and every stage in a picture because my memory is awful. I want the super duper close up macro lense pictures so I can see every baby wrinkle, fat roll and phalanges. But what about our kids perspective? They love us oodles and oodles (even when they won't admit it as teenagers). Guess what, when we are old or passed-on they are going to wish they had all those pictures with us IN them. So, while they definitely don't want macro's of our fat rolls and phalanges, they do want really good images of us with a lot of details and personality. They want a picture with you or of you. Don't worry about the wrinkles! They show how much you gave us as you raised us! Every laugh and tear and sunny vacation are in those imperfections and they are lovingly etched on your face. We are part of someone's history.
You are significant now.
You are loved now.
So grab someone who can take your portrait (preferably someone who knows what they are doing) and let your walls down. Someone who loves you will cherish that picture.
It's a photographer's job to take well posed flattering pictures of you. Find one whose style you like, grab your kids, your spouse, or your sister, or your mom and grandmom, or someone you just love a lot, or go by yourself. It's worth doing.