Visibility and the great power of authentic photography
A few weeks ago, I saw this article, and it got me thinking about something I’ve known since I started working as professional photographer, but had never written about, or communicated with anyone other than my own clients.
It got me thinking that photography is both affected by who we are, and affects our definition of self at the same time.
Let me explain.
A good portrait captures the essence of who you are, and how you show up into the world.
It has your same energy, and is recognizable by those who know you. It says things about you that it would take paragraphs to express in words. It conveys who you are and how it feels to be in your presence.
A good portrait is authentic and because of that, it is powerful. It provides people with the most real and authentic vision of who you are, and it does so in seconds. It’s like a banner that says ” This is me, this is my energy, and this is what I bring to the World”.
A great portrait allows you to realize that the person you hope to be, is who you already are.
It allows you to see (actually see) that those qualities you dreamed of having are already inside of you. And by doing so, it helps you step into your power, and claim those qualities in your day to day life.
A great portrait helps you become more visible and lose fear because it shows you the light that is inside you.
I often tell my clients that my camera is my wand and its magic lies in its two mirrors: In one, it captures your idea of yourself, and with the other it reflects back at you who you really are, in all your greatness.
It’s not makeup, or pretty clothes -though those may help, for as long as you feel like you when you wear them.
It’s knowing, with all your heart, that who you are is enough.
This is particularly powerful when it comes to business portraits and business lifestyle photos.
It’s virtually impossible to succeed at business when we don’t believe in what we do or in who we are. This is what you Sue Bryce calls “The stink”: the energy of “I’m not good enough” that repels clients and customers away.
The truth is, most of us start feeling like a failure, and continue to struggle with these feelings every time we face a big upgrade.
Business, like life, is not linear and easy. We don’t get to a point where we can confidently say ” That’s it, I made it, now there’s no more struggle over anything”. Every time we master one aspect, a new challenge appears, and new phase we must move into, a new area where growth calls us to show up.
Business, to me, is the greatest journey of self discovery for exactly this reason: we never get it done, and in order to step up our game, and move to the next level, we need to go within and become the person we need to be to get there.
The thing is, sometimes we don’t realize we have it in us to move forward, until we see ourselves embodying those qualities in an image.
The process of change and growth is, many times, a gradual one. We transform within, shedding old skin, but we’re so used to ourselves that we frequently don’t notice the transformation until the camera shows it to us.
The best part? It’s the same with product and business lifestyle photos. Great product and branding photos help you realize the greatness of your work- and show it to others with pride.
An amazing portrait helps you redefine your identity and those of other women who do what you do.
What does a powerful woman look like? How does a leader look like in your eyes? When I say successful, what do you picture first? What do you think about when I say beautiful?
For centuries, success was defined by others. More precisely, by men. The yacht, the private plane, the big house with golden everything, the power suit, the power poses. Luxury and Power evoked very defined ideas in most of us, because that’s how power and luxury were portrayed in advertising, movies, and the photos of glossy magazines.
The more and more women enter the entrepreneurial world, the more these ideas start to be redefined.
Luxury, for some, is being able to retire their husband, travel the world, bring the kids to school. Crystals and not expensive handbags is what we buy with our money. The causes we help with our money, the conditions under which we employ people, the lifestyle we choose to have are not defined by Vogue or the Financial Times any longer.
Taking photos of yourself and your business in a way that portrays what success, business, power, luxury and aspiration look like to you is an act of courage, and even rebellion.
Your photos make a statement about who you are, what you believe in, and also about what is possible. They help others like you feel less alone in wanting something different. It helps them see new possibilities that may seem closer to their hearts.
They help you define, by yourself, who you are. Shatter stereotypes. Reclaim your truth.
And that is powerful. And revolutionary.