So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed . . .

Syndicated on

Listen. I hear you. You’re a few pounds heavier than you like (or a 100lbs heavier than you like). I completely understand how you feel. I get that same blah feeling about myself when I think about booking new head shots or long overdue pictures of me and Justin. Precious, I even picked a career that has me permanently behind the camera rather than in front of it. Seeing myself in pictures actually produces the faintest sick feeling in my stomach. Isn’t it amazing we can see the beauty in our best friends, sisters, mothers, and aunts without the slightest thought to their flaws . . . but can obsess for hours on our own imperfections? We fixate on our flaws to the point we shirk at any documentation that our round faces and curvy bodies ever walked the earth. No pictures to show how we LOVE, how we laugh, how we are treasured by our families. How is it possible that a double chin can overpower the beauty of a mother cuddling her child? How does arm fat distract from the perfect shot of a spontaneous hug? I swear y’all . . . how is it that we can put more value on a TUMMY ROLL than the captivating way you throw yourself into a roar of laughter during a shoot?

In our warped minds pictures become frozen mirrors that we can stare at as we pick apart our features over and over again.
I know girl. I know.

My personal duck-and-cover (or signature “make a funny face”) approach to having pictures of myself changed completely when I had a serious car accident last year (and started over). In the flash of a second (or a flash of the text message the young woman was reading) my entire life changed. I nearly left this earth with no physical evidence of the goofy, wide open and loud love I have for my life, my husband, my family and friends. I haven’t had professional pictures done since our wedding in 2006 . . . always waiting for this elusive moment where I would be thin enough (pretty enough) to have such a permanent record of me. Because, you know, HEAVEN FORBID there be any proof that I look the way I actually look.

So here is the harsh truth y’all. Listen good. Our vanity is no longer enough of a reason to avoid the camera. Life doesn’t wait until you “get thin” enough to capture it. Life is happening . . . it is happening right now and the only moment we are guaranteed is the one we are living. I shudder at the thought of leaving behind no pictures of my life with ME in it. My mom says of the accident she is “just glad that we’re still a whole family.” My gift to her this Christmas was a family portrait showing just that, 9 months post-accident . . . a whole family.

So You're Feeling Too Fat for Pictures?  My Friend Teresa Photography Puts it All in Perspective.

Do you know what my mom sees when she looks at this picture? Her beautiful family all together.
Do you know what my husband sees? The family he gained the moment he met me (and how much he looks like my dad…)
Do you know what my dad sees? The happy family he has worked for every day of his life.
Do you know what my brother sees? That he got away with wearing shorts… :)

Shocker: No one is looking at how fat I look.


Can we agree to put the value of family over the value of fat? Can we just accept that the weight you’ve been trying to lose for 5 years might actually just be a part of what you look like . . . and that if this magical day does come when you’re acceptably thin you’ll STILL regret not having any pictures of you with your kids from ages 5 – 10? Can we acknowledge that the insecurities we have in our heads will never be a part of how our children, husbands, and friends see us? Can we just please let our loved ones remember the YOU they love?

Your children want pictures with their mom.

Your husband wants pictures with his beautiful wife.

Your mom and dad want pictures of the happy, successful, amazing woman they raised (ok, and more pictures of the grandkids while you’re at it)

And if you’re thinking that high school friend on Facebook will say to herself (“wow she has gained weight”) then . . . newsflash you DID. You gained weight. Shed a tear. Read a book. Drink a Sweet Tea. Watch Oprah. Whatever it takes. Accept this reality . . . YOU GAINED WEIGHT. The truth is you’ve gained a lot of other things too (a career, a family, some kids, a house, a love for travel, the ability to coordinate your separetes . . . ) and that girl from high school is going to spend a lot more time hating on those things then she ever will on your double chin.

So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed? . . . Ok. But you’re the only one who notices. The rest of us are too caught up in loving you.


2,360 Responses to “So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed . . .”

  1. What a beautifully written article! Just glorious! Makes me want to jump up and shout YES!

    {And you look radiant}

    You go girl.

  2. Melissa Sirmans says:

    Teresa, that was a wonderful way to let us all know that we are not invisible like we would like to be. I know that I haven’t had a family picture since my daughter was 3. I’ve taken loads of pics of her. I would like to share this on my page with your permission of course.

    • Teresa says:

      Share away! Glad you came by and don’t be shy to get in the shot with your (no doubt) awesome daughter. :)

    • Janeen says:

      We haven’t had ANY family pictures taken at all! The most we ever have had done is the two girls together (professionally though there are a few of us as a family of three before my youngest came along). But yeah, I don’t think we have any pictures of all four of us and I’m usually the one behind the camera (unless my seven year old has it then she’s the one usually taking pictures of me). And it’s funny because my youngest loves looking at pictures and saying, “That’s MAMA! That’s DADDY! That’s NADALEE!” lol But being overweight as I am, it’s REALLY hard for me to be comfortable in front of a camera (though to be honest, I used to dread pictures back when I was a kid too, seemed from the time I got braces on, I just HATED getting my pictures taken).

  3. April says:

    Baby, you are so talented, beautiful, smart, funny, plus a whole lot more and Dad and I love you and are so proud that you are part of our family. This article is amazing just like you. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE YOU !!!
    Other Mom

  4. Michelle says:

    WOW! Just wow. Tears b/c this is me…every part of it. It’s been years since I’ve had my photo taken with my children. If I died today they wouldn’t even have a handful of photos to remember what I look like and even fewer of me with them. For years I’ve been so embarrassed and ashamed of my fatness that I just don’t stand on the other side of the lens. It’s time for all of that to change. And for the record you are completely beautiful!

    • Teresa says:

      Michelle – If there is one thing I have seen in the last 24hrs is that this (in some way) is all of us. Grab a camera, hug your kids, and let the love for them (and them for you!) overpower the self-doubt. I’m sure the YOU your family loves will shine through every frame. Thank you for reading and commenting.:)

  5. Cayla says:

    Love this! A friend shared this on FB & I’m so happy she did. I got tears in my eyes-I feel this way all the time, but now I’ll think of taking photos differently. Thank you soooo much!

  6. Brandi says:

    GREAT post!! So many people have the same feelings, especially moms!

  7. Kathleen says:

    Guilty as charged. I HATE pictures of me. But I LOVE my life. Thank you for the slap in the face of truth.

    • Rose says:

      THIS. Kathleen said it perfectly. I’ve always wanted my kids to see me as I was when I was skinny, but that person isn’t their mom! Thank you Theresa and my teeny friend, Michelle for this nudge.

  8. Girl, I think that people have tried to say this and have come across as offensive, but this post is so well written, funny, and honest that it doesn’t make me think “rude” at all, but rather…”this is amazing.”

    I personally struggle with this, too. Thank you for the courage to put it out there and give us a dose of reality. We won’t be around forever, and our families and friends deserve to have photos of us now, not what we wished we looked like. :)

  9. Ellen says:

    WOW!!I have very few pics of me with my family. I always take the pictures. (conveniently ;-)) But as others have said…wake up call! Well written and am happy to have read it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! SO glad all is well after your accident!

  10. Carrie Viohl says:

    I’m so guilty of this… I’ve owned a portrait studio for 10 years, and in the last year, I’ve lost 40 lbs. I’m now “normal” weight; but I still way way too skittish about portraits to go and have actual family portraits made.
    This needed to be said, and I think it’s fantastic that you said it. Go girl.

  11. Annette says:

    Thank you! I’ve been trying to tell my clients this for years!

  12. Anna Marie says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I can’t tell you how many pictures that my mom and sister have of me where I am covering my face.

  13. Charlene says:

    Wow what a great article. Thank you for sharing and opening our eyes to the fact it’s not how we look on the outside but the beauty on the inside that really matters. I too am guilty of not wanting to be in front of the camera.

  14. Liz says:

    SO TRUE! And very well written. Thanks for sharing :)

  15. Amanda B. says:

    Great post, Teresa! So proud of you for putting this (obvious truth for all of us!) out there. You go, girl!

  16. Mary says:

    Thank you so much for this. It’s true, and I hate getting pictures of myself, which really bothers my husband. Another thing that I thought of yesterday was the fact that I don’t swim because I hate me in a bathing suit. My children and my husband all wish I would.

  17. Melania says:

    Oh my gosh!!! Thanks for this post….I try to avoid the camera, too. Even after I came home from a family vacation 5 years ago to realize that there was not ONE picture of me on that 10 day trip. So, the only evidence that I was there was that SOMEONE had to have taken the pics. I’m not saying it’s gonna be easy, but I am going to do my best to wrap my brain and heart around what you’ve written.

  18. Ann Marie says:

    Thank you for this. I love your outlook :)

  19. Sara Nissen says:

    I absolutely needed to hear this. Thank you so much for posting this. It is scary going out on a limb to put it all out there. I know. I am in the boat with you. I love food. I love coffee with tons of sugar and cream. I love love love ice cream. About two years ago, I went crazy and started working out every day (not a bad thing). I also started counting all of my calories. However, I became a little obsessive. I have two boys ages two and six and I sort of ignored them during my crazy workout binges. I was on a mission and I wasn’t going to fail this time. Well, I lost about 50 lbs and I still wasn’t thin enough so I kept going. Exercising like a maniac and counting every single thing I put in my body.

    Then, my brother-in-law Vern (who really was a brother to me and my family) committed suicide in August of 2012. I pretty much completely derailed. Ate everything. Stopped working out. I have gained about 20 lbs back that I worked so hard to loose. However, I am getting back on that wagon. Not to the obsessive place I was before, but I am still trying my best to be a healthier me. Not ‘that girl’ from high school (who was still curvy by the way). But it took this catastrophic event in my life to realize that I am okay the way I am. This is part of my life. I am a healthy, curvy, sarcastic, thirty-somethin Swede… and that is okay. Vern used to tell me that I shouldn’t loose anymore weight because I wouldn’t look like me anymore. He always made a point to tell me that I ‘looked good’. :*-)

    I am just now learning to love myself. Cellulite and all. Thanks for putting this important post out there.

    • Teresa says:

      Thank you for sharing your heart Sara. Your words really touched me. Have a fantastic weekend and keep loving yourself.

Leave a Reply