If you’ve been following my FaceBook updates you’ll know I had a photo shoot today. (If you haven’t, come and join the party!) I need some nice pics of me for the book and the website.
Although I’ve been excited about this (getting hair and make-up done by a real proper make-up artist and seeing how I brush up), I’ve also been absolutely dreading it.
I hate having my photo taken. I don’t think I’m particularly photogenic. I’m on the generous side of cuddly. I am short. If you were being nice, you might describe me as a cuddly Flump (remember them?!) Although I know all of this – I see it all in the mirror on a fleeting daily basis – it’s still different when it’s there in glorious technicolour.
Luckily, I’ve been working with a fantastically talented and extremely understanding photographer, the fabulous Louise Young. So I got there, nervous and excited. And we did the bit I was looking froward to. It feels very decadent having someone else do my make-up and the hair, and I loved being preened and pampered.
Then came the bit I dread. Taking the actual photos. Louise was calm, patient and great at guiding me. In fact, for a while I completely forgot that the end result wasn’t just me feeling awesome, there would actually be some photographic evidence of the day. She took plenty of shots, in various outfits, at an array of angles. We had a laugh at some of the contortions required for a good shot. And actually, before I knew it, it was all done. Much much easier than I had expected or imagined.
But then came a bit I hadn’t even expected, so didn’t know I’d dread. Louise asked me to have a quick look through what we had so far, to make sure I was happy. And as I started to go through the photos, all I could see were my big tummy, or double-chin, or chubby arms. Or a combination of all three.
But that’s not what Louise was seeing – she was pointing out shots she thought looked good, angles she liked. When I pointed out the flaws I could see, she was kind but firm – they were nothing to worry about, she hadn’t noticed, but if I was worried she’d get it all sorted in the final edit. Her perspective on those photos was completely different to mine. It was almost as though we were looking at two different things.
Then she said something that has stuck with me all day, and I hope sticks with me much longer than that.
“Don’t be so picky about those bits Heena. That’s not what we’re looking for. Look at the whole picture. It’s really good”
And it hit me just then. I know she meant the overall photo. But don’t we do this all the time, in life. We are so hung up on the flaws we see in ourselves – however minuscule – that we just stop looking at the whole, beautiful picture. And that means we’re missing the joy of it too, whether it’s a picture or a relationship or our life.
I vow to remember as often as possible to look at the whole picture from now on. I hope you do too.