This is something I struggle with as well...I wish I knew the answer! I did ask my therapist this question but we didn't get beyond body image distortion...which is what she assumes is the problem. I don't know but I understand completely...I HATE having my picture taken and my new boyfriend - comes from a family of 7, they all have camera's and video cameras going all the time...my first family function with them - I thought I was going to die! Snap, snap everywhere I looked a flash was going off...needless to say I had a lot to discuss in therapy that week.
Sorry...wish I could give you better advice and to why this is...I just know I feel the same way as you do - funny thing too is when I look at pictures of other people they look the same to me, they don't look different in person versus the picture so why do I???
I'm sure you look beautiful...we never see what we want to see - keep smiling and saying cheese!
Play around with your camera. Take pictures in various angles. Maybe you look better when the camer is looking up at you. Or maybe from the side view, maybe with your mouth more smiling - you get what I mean. Just fool around with camera and get to know your photogenic angle. And when there are camera snapping events, bring out your practiced photogenic face - doesn't necessarily mean fake - but just more-you face that you think you have.
I know for me if people take pictures from and angle on TOP of me... Like i am looking up at the camera it always looks better.
it really is angles. I hate pictures though unless i take them. I can take good pictures of myself but no one else can ever capture how i want to look. so i refuse to let other take pictures of me most of the time.
I think some people are just more photogenic than others. That's why some people make great models and some don't. I don't take great pics, but I don't worry about it anymore. I'm not looking to be America's Next Top Model at this stage. I think I must look a lot better in person.
If it is that important to you, practice some poses in the mirror and for a trusted friend like models do - so that next time someone takes a pic you can choose an angle that is more flattering.
this is something i've struggled with for nearly 1/2 of my 46 years...since i became overweight. i have very few photos of myself, either alone or with my family. as I look through photos, it's almost like I don't exist. this bothers me because i don't have alot of photos with my children. i love looking through old photos of my family and friends, recalling those times. when my children are older and reminiscing by looking at photos, if there are no photos ~ will they remember that I was there? Who knows, right? I don't want them to think I didn't / don't care and I want them to recall that I was there and I was a part of their lives. To me, photos are like proof you existed.
I promised myself that this year I was going to my an effort to be in a lot of photos. I have also considered getting some professional photos done with the kids. I know in my heart that this is something I must do. Not having the photos is much worse than the pangs of discomfort I feel when I see them and feel that I don't look good. When you look back, it means so much more than that.
katethegreat, I have the same problem, too! Unless I take the pictures, I hate them! And I won't let anyone take my pictures because I hate how they look, but then I feel bad because I feel like I'm not pretty and part of things like my cousins, or like my friends, they have pictures with people, and I look like a loner all by myself. And at all the events, it seems like I won't be remembered.
I had a car crash in November, and they said I was supposed to die. And no one would have had any pictures with me, and I feel so bad that I just can't allow myself in them. I don't want to be remembered that way either.
And when people snuck pictures, like my cousin did one time. I was at the lake with them, and she took it of me in my swimsuit, and I started crying over it.
I think a lot of people feel this way. Keep in mind that you're used to seeing yourself reversed-- a "mirror image" --which is maybe why you're disturbed by the way you look in pictures. I often wonder if this isn't why tend to prefer the pictures they take of themselves in the bathroom mirror. Because the resulting picture is the image you're used to seeing...
Another poster brought up a great point about "looking 3D" as well, light and shadow makes a big difference.
The only way to feel better about yourself in pictures is to let people take them--to get used to it, I think, and work on being happy about the memories you're preserving rather than fixating on your tummy, etc. I guarantee that's not what other people are looking at when they see you in pictures.
Ah, the joy of having a professional photographer for a boyfriend!
I never liked the way I look in pictures. But my boyfriend has all these little secrets about how to stand and posture and how to tilt your head - it makes a big difference.
For instance, if you're standing in front of the photographer, by yourself or in a group, don't completely face the camera. Turn just a tiny bit to one side (so like 1:00 or 11:00 instead of straight ahead noon). Then take the knee which is now nearest the camera and bend it just a tiny, tiny bit so your heel is just barely off the ground. Instantly skinnier.
Make sure your posture is good and your chin is up, too. Makes a huge difference.
I have another theory:
Every day we're bombarded with pictures of super skinny celebrities and models. These women spend their lives working out, have hair stylists, make up artists and designer outfits. The pictures we see everyday in magazines, newspapers, on billboards, adverts etc have been airbrushed beyond belief but since these are the images we see most often, our mind is used to them and sees them as normal.
Since us meer mortals can't compare (and to be honest, I wouldn't even want to), we're clearly bigger in our pictures than the celebrities but as they're what we see as normal, we look huge in comparison.
I know this is true for me.