Finding Beauty In Difficult People – A Photographer’s Perspective

Finding Beauty In Difficult People - A Photographers Perspective

Finding Beauty In Difficult People

I Hate Pictures

“I hate pictures.” “I never look good in pictures.” “I am not photogenic.” As a photographer with two decades of experience under my belt, I’ve heard these statements and those like them more times than I can count. I secretly get a little excited because I know that when they see the pictures I take of them, they’ll be posting them everywhere to show the whole world how photogenic they are.

When I’m on a photo session, and someone tells me, “I don’t take good pictures.”  My response is, “That’s okay, I do.” Good photographs have much more to do with the photographer than they do with the subject.

I tend to think that one of my better skills as a photographer is simply finding the angles and lighting that shows off a person’s beautiful qualities instead of accentuating the characteristics that they don’t like. Everyone has beauty, you just have to know where to look.

Just like finding the perfect lighting and perspective to make a great photograph is a learned skill, finding beauty in difficult people can be a learned skill also. In today’s post, I’m going to give you three quick photography tips that you can use to find beauty in some of the most difficult people you’ll ever meet.

Tip 1 – Take Lots of Pictures

I have photographed thousands of normal people, a lot of amateur models, and a few world-class professional models. What I can tell you is that EVERYONE takes ‘bad’ pictures. NO ONE looks great in every picture. I often joke that the secret to being a great photographer is to take half a million pictures and then show people the best ten.

The life application here is that just like no one looks good in every moment, no one – I don’t care how likable and kind they are – no one makes good impressions in every situation. Sometimes I come across as a complete jerk. If that impression happens to be the snapshot you get of me, then you’ll think I’m a jerk. Truth is though, that occasionally I’m a pretty darn likable guy too. – at least I think so –

If you’ve got a difficult person in life, try to give them a second, third, or even thirty-third chance to show you their good side.

Tip 2 – Relax and Smile

When I’m on a photo session, the first thing that I set out to do is get my client to just relax. If they’re in an ‘I have to act and look awesome and super-cool so I can take good pictures mode‘ I already know that their pictures will look artificial and impersonal. On the other hand, if I can get them to relax and genuinely have a good time, then I know without a doubt that their pictures will be amazing.

The life application here is that if you want to start finding beauty in difficult people, then you have to give them opportunity to let their guard down and just be accepted for who they are. If the people in your life feel like they have to put on a facade to impress you, then they’re going to meet a lot of fake people. Give people the liberty to be imperfect.

Tip 3 – Shoot From Above

If social media and teenage girls with camera phones have taught us anything, it’s that anyone can look better if you photograph them from above. Seriously, when you shoot from above, a lot of natural things happen to make people look their best. They open their eyes, their features slim, and any time someone is looking up at you it causes involuntary emotional reactions.

When someone looks up at you with big eyes, it pulls on the maternal instinct in women, and it engages the protector instinct in men. It just works. Trust me.

The life application here is that if you won’t be able to see the beauty in some people without getting a higher perspective of them. Sometimes, you will have to ask God to lift your earthly vantage point so that you can find the beauty in the more difficult people. With some of the extremely difficult people, it simply can’t be done from the lower earthly perspective.

We are limited in what we see, but God (who sees everything) finds enough beauty in each and every one of us to lavish His love upon us. If we can ask Him to somehow share His perspective, life has taught me that He will.

My challenge for you today is to try taking a new ‘picture’ of some of the people you’ve written off. Finding beauty in difficult people isn’t impossible, it just requires a little effort.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

About the Author

Jeremy BinnsWhen I'm not trying to save the world from the coming zombie invasion, I love my wife, hug my daughters, write, photograph, listen, observe, explore, and worship.View all posts by Jeremy Binns →

  • Jeremy Binns

    …just in case the thought crosses anyone’s mind ~ Yes, that is my wife’s picture, but she was NOT the inspiration behind the post. :)

    She’s never been anything other than sugar, spice, everything nice, and a dash of naughty – just the way I like it.

  • Levi Gray

    Tip 4: Don’t try to make the subject perform for the camera. I personally LOATHE this. I don’t particularly enjoy taking pictures — I find the experience highly invasive and irritating — as a whole. However, I will generally tolerate a shot or two if I am not asked to do anything. No, I don’t want to smile. No, I don’t want to pose. Just take a single shot and get that thing out of my face, thank you very much.
    I don’t particularly care how I look in them, either.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

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