Why do some people don’t feel comfortable with cameras? Stay tuned in this episode as Kim Brundage shares five reasons you probably hate having your picture taken. Kim is an executive portrait photographer who includes CEOs, executives, entrepreneurs, coaches, speakers, and influencers. She has already won 3 prestigious awards for her photography. In this episode, she shares techniques and strategies to bring out her clients’ true beauty and authentic selves through her photographs. Posing for the camera can be tough, especially if you are not used to it. But, with Kim’s valuable insights, confidence can be built, and you can feel the beauty from within.
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5 Reasons You Probably Hate Having Your Picture Taken With Kim Brundage
What You Can Do About It
I’m excited about this guest. We were going to have her on earlier in 2022, and something happened, so I’m glad we got her back. Before we get started, I want to remind you to go over to www.BreakthroughAuthorMagazine.com. Get your free subscription. We don’t sell you anything when you download it. It has tips, tricks, and things that you need to know about book writing, publishing, promotion, and marketing. You name it. We’ve got it as content.
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My guest is my live, personal photographer, Kim Brundage. She is a traveling, premier personal branding, and executive portrait photographer. Kim’s client roster includes CEOs, executives, entrepreneurs, coaches, speakers, and influencers. She has more than 115 five-star Google reviews. In 2019, ‘20, and ‘21, she won three prestigious awards for her photography.
Kim is known for her ability to reveal her client’s authentic personal brand through guided exercises developed as a seasoned marketing executive. Through her talks on positive body image and self-confidence, Kim helps girls reclaim their strength and pure beauty. She is also the Creator of a photography and video exhibit that focuses on humanity in each of us as diverse humans. I have no idea what that is, so if you could send people there. Also, welcome.
Thank you. It’s called Identity.
Talk a little bit about that if you would.
We all have things in common, and sometimes, we don’t take the time to get to know each other, so I did 22 diverse humans, male and female. I did the females first. They were so easier to talk to. They are better at sharing their feelings and thoughts. I did eleven men. It was such a unique experience. It was neat that you can find things to relate to with anybody and highlight them in the Richmond, Virginia area.
We are going to talk about the five reasons you hate having your picture taken. I’m going to segue into that with Kim coming to your home to take these images. She was going through Salt Lake. She travels all over the United States with her husband. They live in a motorhome. They go from place to place. She’s spending the summer in Denver but when she swung through Salt Lake, they came in, and I cannot even tell you, they were in and out in an hour.
I had my photos within an hour. I was super happy with them. It was very easy to pose. I didn’t have to go to a studio or out in the middle of a forest, a river or whatever to get great pictures. I will tell you that I hate having my picture taken. Talk a little about why people hate it and what they can do to get their photos taken.
I want to say that how you feel about having your picture taken is so common. I run into it all the time. A lot of it started from the very beginning when we had our school pictures taken, and they were just transactions. When we got back our picture, that was it. There was no way to change it. This was your sixth-grade picture. A lot of people even told me that they would rather have a root canal than have their picture taken. They skipped school picture day because they hated having their picture taken. We’ve got a lot of deep-rooted uncomfortable feelings about having your picture taken.
I was one of those people, so I studied lighting, angles, and posing. What was a true transformation point for me was I didn’t see my beauty until I photographed myself. When I photographed myself, I knew how to pose and do the lighting. It was an interesting experience because my first studio was my bedroom. I had an extra-large bedroom. I locked the door and didn’t tell my husband and son I was doing it. I took the pictures and was like, “Wow.” Looking at the computer, I was like, “Come here, Jack and Coby. Look at these.” They were like, “These are good.” I was like, “This is what I want to do for other women and help them see their beauty.”I didn't see my beauty until I photographed myself. Click To Tweet
I’m passionate about it because it can impact your self-esteem, how you feel about yourself, and how you show up. I have seen people have a great picture of themselves and put themselves out there more towards their dreams and goals and get those dreams and goals because they had that confidence-building with a great image of themselves. It can be powerful.
The other thing, too, is when you are an entrepreneur, you have to keep your pictures updated. I remember going out and meeting one of the top real estate agents in my company, and when I met her, in my head, I was like, “I didn’t recognize you. Is that picture twenty years old?” There’s always that misalignment when you meet somebody, and their picture is not updated.
It doesn’t feel authentic. As an entrepreneur, you are trying to build that know, like, and trust always so that they will buy from you. When you don’t have an image that matches who you are now, it chips away at that know, like, and trust.
Let’s jump into these five reasons. I can’t wait to learn it. I’m probably all of these things.
Someone Close To You Comments On Your Appearance
Number one, for me, is someone, somewhere, told you that you weren’t photogenic. For me, it was my mother. Someone that was close to you told you that you weren’t photogenic. We think that our family can be the best source of the truth, and sometimes, it could be the furthest from the truth. I grew up with my mother always putting her hand in front of the camera and wouldn’t have her picture taken.
I’m part of her. I came from her genes and my father’s genes. She was rejecting herself, so I learned to reject myself. Plus, I was told I wasn’t photogenic. Having that seep into your consciousness, it’s then going to be hard to show up and get your picture taken because you have already decided that you are not going to like these pictures.
I have to tell you that when we get golf pictures taken, all the women are like, “Go sideways, so you look thin,” and I’m like, “Take the picture. I don’t care.”
The opposite of that is to think about how much the camera loves you instead of how much the camera hates you, how this picture is going to be great, and how this picture is a segment in time. Also, if you know a few posing tips, which we can go over at the end, then you can show up as your best self and not look awkward because some people will have an unflattering picture of themselves and peg that as how they look, which it isn’t. It’s just an unflattering picture.
What is the second one?
You’ve Hated Some Of Your Features
The second one is you have always hated your smile, and that could be due to your teeth or someone in the family telling you that you have an awkward smile. When some people try to force a smile, they can look awkward. There’s a lady I’m getting ready to work with in June 2022. You can tell when she tries to fake a smile because it’s this weird cheese instead of a natural, authentic cheese smile.
With people that feel so awkward in that space, I try to get them to connect to their favorite vacation spot or something that makes them happy. For you, it would be publishing that book and being on number one on the New York Times bestseller list or getting that hole-in-one with your golf. That would make you smile. Connecting to those things that genuinely make you happy is when then I’m clicking and making sure I get that genuine smile because I want you to show up as your best authentic self.
What’s interesting is and I’m not the only one who does it. I had braces when I was younger, and now, my teeth have moved a little. I obsess about camera angles. It was funny because I said something to my kids about, “I’m going to go get that thing that moves your teeth back.” I was telling them how much it cost, and they were like, “Mama, I can’t even tell.” I’m obsessing over my teeth because I know they move but nobody else is.
That’s the other thing. We all have insecurities. At one time, someone told me, “I have a weird nose.” It’s all perspective. Like how you felt about your teeth moving a little bit, and you thought it was so obvious, none of us is thinking about that. We are thinking about talking to you, engaging with you, and how beautiful you are. We are our own worst critics, so if we can think about positive and celebrate who we are when we are getting our picture taken, that can change the dialogue. Look at how far you have come and look at all you have accomplished in your life. It’s exciting. It’s better than being 6 feet under.
If we tell ourselves that, yes. That went dark quickly.A great image of yourself can be really powerful in terms of confidence building. Click To Tweet
Some people are like, “I’m too old or too fat,” but this is who you are. This is how you show up in the world. Make sure that the image reflects who you are. We have all these excuses about why we can’t show up, like, “I’m not as beautiful as that person, I’m not as young or I’m not as thin.” That’s what I mean by people will use that as a place to hold themselves back.
What’s number three?
Looking At Photoshopped Images
Number three is you look at beautiful photoshopped images all day. You scroll and compare yourself to them. I talked to a body image consultant. She had me put in my feed obese people so that I had more of a diverse portfolio showing up in my Instagram feed versus all thin and young people. It does matter what you ingest.
That is very true. I have to say that what I’m ingesting with the media these days is not making me happy. I hate to say this but every time I walk into the Athleta store, there is this big wall mural, and one of the models is missing a tooth. I’m like, “We’ve gone a bit far with the model diversity thing.” This is going to sound awful but I have a big thing about athletic clothes and huge people in them because it’s not that healthy to be that big. There you go.
It’s different than how we were raised. You are fighting up against that mindset of what you were told, which is acceptable. That’s a mindset that we were brought up with.
I agree, but I also am health-conscious, so I look at that and say, “That is not healthy. Why are we encouraging that?” That’s the way our society is. We don’t encourage anybody to be healthy anymore. What’s number four?
Thinking Everyone Notices Your Flaws
We talked a little bit about it before. You think everyone notices your flaws as much as you do, whether that be your teeth or a wrinkle that popped up. “I’m very conscious of my neck now.” Things are starting to shift. Those are things that I do tend when after I edit the image, move those out. These elven or rabbit ears, however you want to call them, can make you look like you are scowling when you are not. I will photoshop those out and snap them because I don’t want that to be a distraction for me. When you see an image, the first thing you do is connect with the eyes. The second thing is the hands, if the hands are in the picture.
That’s interesting. Is it just us women who obsess over that?
No. Men are getting as self-conscious as women can be. They are having a lot of societal pressures too. It’s interesting to me that a lot of people don’t want to show their smiles and get more engagement when they show their teeth when they smile on social media. A lot of times, they don’t want to show their teeth because their teeth are crooked. They either don’t want to spend the money to get it fixed or they are missing a tooth. We are all suspects in all of this.
The other thing to know is that our brains are wired for a negative bias. That’s an evolutionary thing. We scan the landscape to see if there’s anything that we should know about. Whatever that you feel self-conscious about, your eye is going to go immediately to that when you see your image. You will immediately go to that first and have that negative bias. Instead of seeing all the other good things that are good about your image, some people can’t get over that 1 or 2 spots that they feel so self-conscious about.
What’s number five?
Ugly Outcome Of Professional Photos
Number five is you have never felt good about the outcome of a professional photo before. That has to do with your relationship with your photographer. You and I hit it off right away. We developed a rapport. You trusted me and saw my portfolio too. By having that rapport, we were able to build off the energy. I see that as a collaboration between the two of us, then a transaction. It’s important to have that rapport built. You’ve got to trust me, and you did. We got a great headshot out of it and one that you are proud of.
I was like, “This woman is coming from the East Coast,” it was North Dakota or Soth Dakota, “To take my picture and drop a letter in my home.” We did hit it off, and I had worked with you on some other things too, so we knew each other. That was a big trust factor too. I kept saying to you, “I need a headshot,” and procrastinating as well. This is the first headshot ever that I didn’t cut my hair afterward because it seems like I always get a headshot, and a couple of months later, I will cut my hair, so it is immediately out of date.
I’m glad because your hair is lovely and beautiful how it is. I’ve got one more bonus tip if you want to know it.Connect to those things that genuinely make you happy. Show up as your best authentic self. Click To Tweet
Photography’s dirty little secret is that it takes lots of images to get to the one image that you love about yourself. There are these little tweaks that we do. I don’t know if you remember but we took probably 20 or 25 pictures of you, and then you pick the one that you loved. That’s how photography works. I have heard that the Nat Geo photographers out in the wild will take 25,000 pictures. When you see that image on Instagram or in the media, all of those took lots of pictures to get to that one picture, and that’s okay. That’s no reflection of you.
I’m going to validate that. I went on a National Geographic tour to France. They were a little expensive but fabulous. When you go, they always set up something either food-wise or something cultural. We met one of the world’s premier war photographers. We were in a studio having a snack with him. He had some of his work on the wall and was telling us stories about being in Afghanistan, where they had to hide him so the Taliban wouldn’t kill him. If you saw his warehouse, he has boxes marked with the dates and whole boxes of negatives that he took because it wasn’t a one-off, and they’ve got that great shot.
I have some of the shots but I definitely recognize them. It was a very cool lunch-snack studio trip that we did. That validates that even someone who is world-renowned like that takes shot after shot to get that right one that’s on a magazine cover or inside of a spread about a particular country. Tell us a little bit about the posing. You said you would give us some posing tips too.
I’m happy to do that. The first thing I tell people to do is lean forward 2 to 3 degrees, and it’s going to feel awkward. If you remember that I had you?
I do remember that.
Whatever is closest to the camera is the largest. You don’t want to be leaning back and making your hips the biggest. Some people may feel conscious about something, so they will lean back. The other thing is that I have people bring their chins out and down. That opens up your eyes more. Everyone is worried about a double chin, so they naturally put their head up to try to take away from that double chin but if you bring your chin out and bring it down a little bit, it’s not overly done but that will help open up your eyes. It also slims your face if you are concerned about that. It brings the eye to the focus because that’s what you want to connect with first.
The other thing that I do is what’s compositionally pleasing and slimming. I’ve got sleeveless, so If your arms were the same color as your body, I will have you put your hand on your hip or bring it lower on your thigh to break up the arm from the body so you don’t look like a longer blob and people can see your waist. That was important. We put your hand on your waist or we put it down further to break up your arm from what you had on your body. The other thing that’s nice to do is to have a V-neck with your jewelry or clothing. It’s slimming to the face because it mirrors the face shape.
Kim, where can we find you to connect? You are going to be in Denver. If you live in Colorado or even Utah because I’m only an eight-hour drive from Denver. You’ve got it all behind your head but where’s the best place to get ahold of you if they want to book?
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this.
It’s my pleasure. I’m always happy to talk about it.
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- Kim Brundage
About Kim Brundage
Kim Brundage is a traveling, premier personal branding, and executive portrait photographer. Kim’s client roster includes CEOs, executives, entrepreneurs, coaches, speakers, and influencers. She has more than 115 5-star Google reviews and, in 2019, 2020, and 2021 won three prestigious awards for her photography.
Kim is known for her ability to reveal her clients’ authentic personal brand through guided exercises developed as a seasoned marketing executive. Through her talks on positive body image and self-confidence, Kim helps girls reclaim their strength and pure beauty. Kim is also the creator of [IdentityRVA](https://kimbrundage.com/identity-rva), a photography and video exhibit that focuses on the humanity in each of us as diverse human beings. For more information go to [KimBrundage.com](http://kimbrundage.com/)