I Hate Having My Photo Taken, But Why?

Last updated by Rosie Harlow

One of my hobbies is photography. You’d think then that I’d be very comfortable in front of the camera, but no! The reason I do photography is to get behind the camera and take photos of other people. Ok, I sometimes take self-portraits, but as soon as someone else takes my photo, I hate it. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, which is why I’ve decided to talk to you about it today.

I Hate Having My Photo Taken, But Why?

My body insecurity

I did a bit of soul-searching and introspection to find out why I felt so uncomfortable about having my photo taken. The first thing that came to mind was the fact that I’m fat. I’m not saying this in an “I’m 2/3 kg overweight” way, no, I’m really fat to the point where I’m still regularly the victim of fat phobia 😓.

Nevertheless, I’m trying to accept myself as I am, to be body-neutral, but there’s still this persistent insecurity about my physical appearance. Indeed, society tells us that being fat is bad, mainly because of the bogus health argument. So obviously, when someone takes a photo of me, I think about all that. I want the photo to reflect the body and face I’d like to see, but quite often I’m disappointed, especially when I’ve been photographed on the spot. It’s a real pain to see this reflection that doesn’t fit the standards 💔...

👋 You may be interested in this article: I don't like my body, how can I make peace with it?

A great need for control

As I said in my introduction, I sometimes take self-portraits. Yes, I take photos of myself with my tripod, my remote control, some well-chosen clothes, and a pretty landscape in the background. Maybe you take selfies, but whatever you call it, we take pictures of OURSELVES. So why do we hate it when someone else does it 😅?

As psychiatrist David Sack explains, it undermines our need to control everything and makes us feel powerless and insecure 😕. When someone else takes the photo, we can’t control our image, the one we hate so much. When I take my self-portraits, or you take your selfies, we know we can play with the angle, and the light, and strike a pretty pose. That’s not the case when someone else takes a photo of us, we’re at the mercy of the photographer’s gaze and talent (whether they’re a pro or not 😬).

When you take a photo of yourself, and you hate the result, you just make it disappear unnoticed. But when Uncle Jacky takes photos of us at Christmas and shares them on the internet, well, there’s an immediate loss of control...

Unrealistic standards

According to a 2014 study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, almost 18% of boys are concerned about their looks too. Yes, there’s now so much pressure on bodies that physical insecurity can also affect men! However, as a woman, I’d say that we have to fit even more into the mold of unrealistic criteria, particularly because of the male gaze. It’s in the collective unconscious that a woman has to please, so our brains are scrambled when we don’t look like what we see around us 🤯.

Except that, we often forget that the photos we see on social media and in magazines are airbrushed. If you have a good command of Photoshop, believe me, it’s very easy to make changes 🤐! And then when we see women shown on video in the media, it’s the same type of physique all the time, and it doesn’t represent the infinite variation of our bodies (and the media does it on purpose!).

👋 You may be interested in this article: The most beautiful compliments to give someone you love.

Give yourself a break

Body dissatisfaction, pressure from standards, biased representation, need for control... These are all reasons why we don’t like having our photo taken. This reflects a major lack of self-confidence, and I’d say that the most important thing for both you and me is to work on this.

I should do a photo session with a fellow photographer to let go. In fact, you can find photographers who do therapy, so that you can rediscover your body and face in a new light. This can really help you on the road to acceptance, and I know what I’m talking about, as it’s a service I offer to my clients who want solo portraits 🙊.

All that’s left now is to apply my own advice to myself so that I’m finally no longer afraid when a camera is turned on me. Come on, let’s take up the challenge 😉?!

Editor’s note: See yourself in a kinder light

The quest for self-acceptance is a complex journey, often hampered by our insecurities and societal pressures. If this article resonates with your own struggles, and you feel the need to overcome these barriers, don’t hesitate to see a psychologist. A professional will help you rebuild your self-esteem and see yourself in a kinder light. Don’t wait to take that first step towards a more fulfilled you – contact a psychologist today.

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!


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Article presented by Rosie Harlow

Writing has always been a form of therapy for me. For as long as I can remember, I have always used paper as a punching bag. Get to know me, I am Rosie Harlow.

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Wengood's favorite tunes 🎵

Wengood's playlist


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  6. White FlagDido
  7. Lay Me DownSam Smith
  8. Nine Million BicyclesKatie Melua
  9. Put Your Records OnCorinne Bailey Rae
  10. Summertime SadnessLana Del Rey
  11. Imagine - Remastered 2010John Lennon
  12. Shake It OutFlorence + The Machine
  13. Space Oddity - Love You Til Tuesday versionDavid Bowie
  14. What A Wonderful WorldLouis Armstrong
  15. With Or Without YouU2
  16. HelloAdele
  17. Don't Stop Me NowQueen
  18. Skinny LoveBirdy
  19. WingsBirdy
  20. Californian SoilLondon Grammar

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