Earlier this year I had the opportunity to interview my wonderful client Jody Moore, a master certified life coach and owner of Jody Moore Coaching, to talk about how people can work on loving the way they look in photos. It’s a big issue I notice with so many people I meet, who want to be more visible in their business, but are so afraid of looking bad in their branding photos (and videos). They feel they are not photogenic, are too old or need to lose weight first. Believe me, I’ve been there, too and so has Jody. We talk about some exercises, thoughts to work on believing and also all the steps we take at WorkStory to help you feel more confident that you’ll look great in your photos!

Below is an overview of the conversation if you aren’t able to watch the video.

Tanya

Jodi Moore is a Master Certified life coach and she has a business called Jodi Moore Coaching with a monthly program called Be Bold. I’m a part of that and it’s really great. I think I first heard of you on the Life Coach School podcast, and then I found out that you live nearby me, which is pretty cool. I’ve been in Jody’s coaching program and she’s one of my clients, so I’ve photographed her. Recently we did a photo session and, over the years of working with women, I automatically take out some things during retouching. Jodi surprised me because after the shoot, she reached out and asked ‘Can you add my wrinkles back in?’. I thought ‘Oh, I love you so much!’ Because when I photograph people, I see and love just how they are. There’s character in your face from those lines and you’ve earned them through the years of living. So it’s always kind of broken my heart when a woman, especially, looks at her photos and lists all these things that she hates about how she looks. But I’ve just gotten used to it, I want them to love their photos so I go ahead and change them. I would love it more if they loved how they looked in their photos just as they are.

Jodi

It’s work that I still have to do too, for example, why do I put on makeup? Why don’t I just love my face? So, I think that we all have different levels of it and I don’t think that it’s anything for anyone listening to feel bad about if you have all of that chatter that comes up. It is something that I work on a lot. A few years ago, I saw a picture of myself from 10 years prior to that. I remember when that photo was taken, seeing it and thinking ‘Oh I’m so overweight.’ And then 10 years later I realized ‘I look so good there!’ I was thinner there, I didn’t have the wrinkles, why didn’t I think that I looked amazing?  It made me realize that it really is just my brain, it’s just a story, and I don’t want to go the rest of my life loathing myself. Being someone who has a business and having a lot of pictures taken, I’m the face of my business, I just thought ‘That’s enough of that.’ I’m not going to walk around judgemental and critical, there’s no upside to that. So I started working on just accepting the way I look and choosing to love me. 

Tanya

That’s the one thing I ask my clients ‘Is the way you look in these photos going to affect the way you’re going to be able to help your clients get a result with what you’re offering them?’ It’s something that I try to remind myself as well. I’ve started to put myself in front of the camera more, and I look at the pictures and think ‘I used to be so much thinner and I don’t like the way I look.’ But nobody cares because it doesn’t change the fact that I can take great photos.

Jodi

That’s true with all of us in our businesses, even people who have a beauty or weight loss business. The client wants to know ‘Can you help me get the result I want to get?’ That really helps me, when I’m trapped in my head, this isn’t about you. Even if I’m the face of my business, it really isn’t about me. I’m just the vehicle through which I’m bringing some helpful tools to people, so it’s not about me. The second thing, a few years ago I just decided that I was going to like the way I look in photos. The same way I think my babies look adorable in any picture. I never think ‘Oh he’s kind of making a funny face.’ Or ‘Oh he’s kind of chubby in that one.’ I think ‘Awww look at him, look at that silly face, look how funny it is that we happened to click the camera right when he was making that face.’ We simply don’t do that self loathing thing. I thought, that is available to me, I could just decide to like the way I look no matter what and to love me the way I love my child. It’s not even about that particular photo, it’s about all the things I love about them. That’s why I love that picture of them. So, doing that work on loving all of me, and choosing to accept all of the photos the way they are.

Tanya

I love that attitude because I find that some women, when I send them their proofs, can’t even get past the emotions of hating their looks in order to choose the good photos. We took 800 pictures, we need 10, surely there are some where they look amazing.

Jodi

I think that’s important because a total of ten great photos is to be expected unless you’re Angelina Jolie. We expect that 790 are not going to be good. That’s okay. So all the self loathing, it’s important to remember that it’s the nature of trying to capture a still image of a dynamic thing. 90% of them of course aren’t going to be good.

Tanya

That’s why I think that retouching still has a place, because in real life we aren’t still people. People don’t notice every line on our face when we’re talking, because they notice the whole person. That’s why I think it’s fine to do some retouching in images. But you can still go into the photoshoot with the attitude of ‘I’m going to love myself no matter what.” We’re going to be objective, I’m picking a photo for my ad. What’s going to be the best one? It doesn’t really matter if my hair wasn’t perfect.

Jodi

I even think if somebody wants you to photoshop out their wrinkles a bit, I don’t think that’s a problem in and of itself. With the original photos that we took together, I thought ‘That doesn’t really look like me.’ It’s not like I wanted you to remove all editing, but when I looked at it, I knew my eyes have more lines and I wanted it to look more like me. I’m not opposed to retouching at all but just asking why. If we’re really working on loving ourselves, which is important, especially if you have a service based business. For me as a coach, I’m trying to help my clients be more confident, I have to be a lot more confident too.

Tanya

And talking about our age, we’ve all been 20 but we’re not 20 anymore. It’s okay to not look 20. I wish our society placed more value on age and wisdom. I think we can work on that within ourselves. It’s amazing that I’ve lived to be 40, not everyone gets to live that long. It’s okay to show that we have that age. 40, 50, 60 and beyond, it’s exciting what women are doing now at those ages in the business world. I get to photograph those women doing these amazing things. I would love for them to be able to go into their photoshoot confident and knowing that they’re going to love their photos.

Jodi

When you say ‘We all used to be 20.’, as much as I want 20 year old skin, I don’t really want much of the other stuff that comes with being 20. I’ll stay 45.

Tanya

For someone who hasn’t done any mindset work, what would be a good first step for them to observe their thoughts regarding all of this? If we haven’t done this work before we may not even realize it’s a conscious choice that we have, how we think about our photos.

Jodi

That is one of the first steps we have, knowing that it is a conscious choice. Because sometimes it just feels like ‘I don’t like them.’ It is a choice. I really recommend that you make the decision ahead of time. Even if you don’t think you’re going to love them. Just decide ‘I’m not going to be hard on myself.’ Be compassionate with yourself. ‘No matter what I see, I’m going to choose kindness.’ We have the ability as human beings to do that, we do that with other people in our lives. Sometimes I try to imagine I’m someone who I admire. Brene Brown for example. If I’m looking at a photo of Brene Brown, I’m not thinking ‘Oh she’s gained weight.’ That’s not even relevant. I’m thinking about the wisdom that she shares, and how she’s quite funny. Her appearance is very secondary to everything else that I love about her. So even if I can’t get to loving how I look, I can at least realize that it isn’t really relevant. I can at least view myself from the outside like a client would. I have clients who love what they’ve learned from me and my appearance is secondary to all of that. I try to think ‘If I’m looking at someone else, how would I think about this?’

Tanya

Another element is showing up having done your best to look your best and trusting your photographer to make you look your best. If you know that you’ve gotten the makeup you wish to have and so forth. I notice this isn’t an issue with men, they show up and think ‘Well, that’s how I look, can’t change it!’

Jodi

That one works for me sometimes, thinking ‘Well that’s how I look!’ It is interesting how it’s a predominantly female thing.

Tanya

I joke sometimes that if you’re a spy and want to find out a woman’s insecurity, have a photoshoot with her. She will tell you everything she doesn’t like about herself. I just listen and don’t judge, and try to be encouraging. Half the time I want to mention that I disagree, but they’re thinking something different. I used to take it personally when people didn’t like their photos but now I realize ‘That’s your thought about your photo and yourself. I’ll try to help you change it a little bit.’ Thankfully I’ve learned that a long time ago and didn’t give up.

Jodi

One other thing I wanted to mention, I started doing this work on my photos in my everyday life. Even for things like selfies, where some people will take the photo again and again, I just decided that I wasn’t going to do that. I’m not going to redo selfies, I don’t have time for that. So whenever I take a selfie with a friend, I always say ‘I love it!’ Even if I don’t totally, I just choose to love it.

Tanya

You can see it in kids, kids love to take pictures of themselves. They look at the picture and say ‘I love it’. They never ask for it to be retaken and I wonder at what point does that change?

Jodi

It’s a great question, and you’re right. It’s the same time that we stop coming to the lunch table in our swim suit. We just all of the sudden become aware that there’s a ‘right’ way to look and a ‘right’ way to be.

Tanya

So if someone wanted to get coaching from you on this, how do they reach you?

Jodi

I’ve actually coached on this exact thing before. The best place to reach me is to go to jodimoore.com and click on Be Bold Program. We coach on that and more.  I do think it’s a deeper issue of overall self love. It’s also a natural and normal thing that may never go away but we can certainly improve on it. 

Tanya

Do you feel that over time, as you’ve gotten your photo taken a lot, that you feel more comfortable?

Jodi

It’s definitely easier than it was. It’s similar to doing my podcast, when you first hear your own voice it seems odd. Once you get used to it you think ‘Oh yea that’s how I sound.’ I do think it’s gotten easier, but I still get the 200 photos and have to remind myself ‘Only a small percentage of these are going to be ones I want to keep.’ I just love that you’re offering this to your clients, I’ve never had a photographer talk about this. What’s crazy is, we think if we look good in the picture then we’ll be more confident but it’s the opposite. The more confident you are going in, the better you’re going to look in that photo.

Tanya

Some of my favorite clients weren’t necessarily the prettiest from a world standard. But they were confident, they believed in themselves and we had the most fun. They wound up loving all their pictures! If you can go in with confidence before, even if you internally feel unsure, if you can muster up that confidence on the day of, you’ll wind up with good photos.

Jodi

Or even step into your alter ego, like Beyonce used to do going onto stage. Have your role model that you admire and just be her for that photoshoot. Even if it’s a little bit pretend, ironically enough you’ll like your pictures better.

Tanya

I wonder if that’s why the men are so much easier to photograph. They think they’re amazing. We should think like men when we go into our photoshoot!

Jodi

You’re allowed to! You’re allowed to think ‘I’ve got it going on, let’s go, take my picture!’

Tanya

Well thank you Jodi, I really appreciate your coaching. I listen in weekly to your podcast and life coaching calls and have gotten so much out of it.

Jodi

Thank you Tanya!

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