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Like myself in mirror, but not in pictures.

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When I look in the mirror, I like the way I look.  Another 10lbs would be really good, but I like my face, my hair, my shape, my body in general.  However, my step-dad is like a taking pictures-a-holic, and when he does the slide shows for everyone etc, I hate the way I look in pictures.  I hate the way I look in most pictures taken of me.  Why is that?  Does the camera really add 10lbs?  I am just so frustrated.  I mean even when I was at my goal weight, around the same time last year, I hated my pictures then too.  I just feel like I look really odd in them.  Am I just being too hard on myself when I judge the pictures??
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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! Wink

I've never really liked how I look in pictures either. Then again, neither have most people I know. It's weird because when I like, take a picture of someone and show it to them or something, they'll hate it, but unless they're making like a funny face and I captured them at the wrong moment, they usually look just the way they do in real life. It may be sort of disheartening for them to hear that too! It's like, 'Do I look like that all the time?!' Though a lot of people are like that, some people are just naturally photogenic. I don't think I've ever been. I look a lot better in real life than I do in most pictures. And everyone who's seen me in real life knows that, so I try not to stress about it :)
Its just that I want to look good in pictures, I just bought a new camera, I like to take pictures.  For the past 10 years I have almost no pictures documenting my life, while my friends have A TON posted on their websites etc - Its like the last 10 years of my life never happened or something.  AGH>
I'm not really a photogenic person - maybe it's just the camera that doesn't like me or I really don't look that good in real life. Heh. Just to be on the safe side, I assume that I don't look good, so in order to compensate, I like to have pictures that makes me look good.

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.

-Lemon Jello
Im t he oppisite. I don't like the way I look in the mirror but then I see pictures and I like what i see.
I used to not be a photogenic person at all and I always hated the way I looked in pictures.  People would tell me all the time "you look so much better in person."  Then a good friend of mine came into my life and loved taking pictures (and having me pay to get them developed as well as taking pictures of her) and I finally got used to it... now tons of people tell me I'm really photogenic and they want to be that way too.  I think you have to get used to all the pictures, have tons taken of you, and point out the positives-not the negatives.  I started realizing how much I liked and how unique my eyes are and focused on that rather than my puffy cheeks.  Also having a straight on smiley-face usually isn't the best picture for anyone.  You have to be laughing, head slightly tilted or turned, or make cute and sexy poses.  I learned this through all my photography.  But all of you are beautiful!
Personally I think its because in a mirror, even though its flat we look 3 dimensional while photos appear so flat so the side to side is more emphaised. 
I'm the opposite... hate the mirror, like the pictures.
katethegreat- i know exactly where you are coming from. i have lost over 50 lbs and when i look in the mirror i see a big difference. i think i look so much better than i used to, and i like what i see. my cousin e-mailed me some pics from a bbq we had this summer, and i looked fatter than ever! like i never lost a lb! it made me really upset. i showed a few of my close friends the pics and asked "do i really look this way?' they said no of course since they are my friends, but i have become more insecure after seeing myself in pictures. it has made me really shy away from cameras since then, because i don't know how many more ugly fat photos i can bear to look at!
I've never liked myself in photographs; maybe because I am a photographer I'm more critical on myself?
i think its how you are percieving yourself. I bet that if you took pictures at your exact eye level it would look as you see yourself most.

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.

Good luck!

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.  


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