how to have your picture taken

A few weeks ago, Kelly Langner Sauer came through town with her family. She is warm, delightful, and so easy to be with. She is an artist with a big heart and a beautiful vision. While here, she generously snapped as many shots as she could of The Man and I, standing in our front yard before he had to go to work.

And in seeing them, I realize how critical I am of me. I’m not so comfortable in front of the camera. I would much rather move around behind it. If these were of you, I would think they were lovely. What is wrong with these eyes of mine?

And so last night, this very man reminded me that these things we can see with our eyes and touch with our hands are temporal, transient, wasting away. But the unseen and hiding things of this inner life are being renewed day by day by day. And I considered how there is nothing else that does that, nothing else that becomes newer the older it gets.

So what is the way to have your picture taken? Allow the silly to come out even though you know how dorky you look when the silly is captured still. Let some of the life that’s inside spill over into the seen and temporal, so that those things that can’t be touched can at least be proven there. And finally, lift your eyes up with me and remember that it is not about you and your hair parted on the wrong side. Hallelujah.


  1. says

    I’m only very critical of myself in all my photos, and I think it’s psychological. We also tend to be our biggest criticizers. Personally, I think those photos of you look gorgeous. =)

  2. says

    I saw them all on FB yesterday and loved them. They are so authentic and full of love. Don’t criticize yourself. Add a heap of grace to your coffee this morning and know how beautiful you are, no matter what side your hair is parted on.

  3. says

    so true my friend

    i think the only time i don’t mind being in front of the camera is our one sacred beach week…when i’m tan !
    need to work on that.

    ps. your hair cut is too cute!!

  4. says

    So true…we’re having our pics done this weekend for Christmas and I’ve been obsessing about the extra 10 pounds of baby weight…but I should be thankful that I have the baby even if it means I have to diet a little :-)

  5. says

    I love this. Love it. I think I have done so much mirror shooting that when someone else gets me under their camera, I’m just dying to see the real me come out. The thing I hate most is when I’m putting on an act for my pictures.

    I did a trash-the-dress session recently, and she was so nervous about trashing it, even though she’d signed up for it! I told Pete when I got home that if we did one of those (and I bet you we will), I’d do it. I’d really, really trash it. Because what is life, really, if you don’t live it, in front of a camera or in front of the world?

    You’re awesome. And so un-dorky. Or maybe I am dorky, and I am too, so I just don’t recognize it in us? 😛

  6. says

    I can SOOO relate to this!!! I hate being in pictures and hide behind the camera more than I should. I actually have a post about just that coming up soon, too!

    God spoke one day to me about this vanity, though…He said, ‘ sweetie…this is the way you look…this is who I made and this is how your children see you and they will want to remember you like THIS and have pictures of you in every stage of your life….whether you like it or not. This is the person they love.’ Talk about a hairball to swallow :)

    My husband just told me this morning…its your heart that I love…that we all love…its not the package your heart comes in….think about that….we like whats in the box. We love the gift even when the wrapping is not so pretty.

    I am standing on that today…and LOVE your pictures. Your true heart shines through!!!

  7. says

    These were so fun Emily. They made me smile. That is so much better than the perfect pose… If only we could see ourselves through the eyes of those that love us. Wouldn’t we all be so happy and confident?

  8. Talia says

    The pictures are lovely. They are spontaneous, fun and REAL! I prefer these types of photos to those that are staged.

    Look through the eyes of love – it is a beautiful sight!

  9. says

    Emily, you need to believe that you are beautiful, because you are. Can you not see *that* in your hubby’s face as he looks at you in the last picture? Because I can.

    Trust me, your children one day will be glad you took these shots.

  10. says

    How beautiful! I mean both the pics and the post. Why do we do that to ourselves? I have tons of silly pics of My Man and I. I love to look at them and recall the memories, but would I ever show them to anyone?? Probably not! I think my hair is all wrong, my lipstick is worn off, and so on and so on…….I should change my thinking……Thank you for this post!

  11. Craig says


    If you’d like I can mail you a membership card to the “I hate my pictures” club. It may take up to ten years to deliver due to the current backlog but the good news is – it won’t have a picture on it :) I am a charter member. I bet I’m like you, when pictures get passed around you wonder why you aren’t in them – until you remember that you always hide from the camera. I’m glad you have a good hubby who sees your beauty :)

    As a single man I won’t go all glowy about your pictures – I’ll just say you are a beautiful couple. I see love. I see intimacy. I see protectors of each other, keepers of each other, fans of each other. That is beautiful.

  12. Craig says

    ohhhhh – and I forgot to say – the spiritual take away

    “nothing else that becomes newer the older it gets.”

    that’s beautiful too – thank you.

  13. says

    Truly! Isn’t it always that way. We are so critical. Every wrinkle. Every pound. Every gray.
    I am delighted to know that when Jesus looks at me he doesn’t see any of that stuff.
    You are beautiful Emily. Very, very beautiful.

  14. says

    Hubby and I used to have a photography biz. We photgraphed homeschool groups, the kids as well as family pics. This was early in digital, and we allowed the customers to view their pics right after their session. Usually every female at the age of 12 starts to criticize her pictures of herself. It was such as sad thing! My hubby, who was the picture show-er order taker, always reassured them he could touch up anything they didn’t like!
    It is very hard for us to be accepting of ourselves. I need to see myself the way my husband sees me and the way that Jesus sees me, through eyes of love!

  15. says

    You are a beauty! That last shot is incredible. Last week I wrote a post about grey hair and included two pictures of myself — a rarity on my blog! I also wrote about how I made my husband keep retaking the pictures because none of them were good enough. Thanks for your refreshing “take” on this topic, Emily.

  16. misha leigh says

    I love the look on his face in the last picture looking at yours – that should tell you oodles about how beautiful you are! These are lovely.

  17. says

    oh my! you hit the nail on the head! everyone says that i am photogenic and yet i always think the worst of myself in pictures…how sad…how not glorifying to him who made me…and about the II Corinthians 4 passage–this was a great gift and eyes the Lord ask me to see to care for my mother in her last days of cancer…yes, her eyes…the spirit in them…were the strongest ever when she was ready to come Home:)

  18. Kelli says

    These pictures are fabulous, all of them, but…that last one? It brought tears to my eyes! The way he is looking at you has got to be the sweetest thing I’ve seen in some time. Thank you for sharing.

  19. susan says

    Isn’t it amazing how critical we are of our “outsides” when it’s our “insides” that really matter? How difficult to show who we truly are in a split-second photo,which somehow makes it so much more important to me to leave a legacy of love,fairness,thoughtfulness…I could babble on about what I’d like to leave behind,that which no photo can capture. I guess the best I can hope for is the people who look at those photos in 40 or 50 yrs will have their memories of my “insides” sparked in what I hope I’ve shown them…

  20. says

    I jokingly say I look good in 1 out of 100 photos. I really don’t photograph well. I used to “hide” from the camera but then realized that my kids need pictures of me to look back on and that I am the most critical of myself. I really love these photos of you, especially the last one. Very fun!

  21. Melissa says

    I cried when I read this post. Why? Becasuse I m guilty of this very thing. My middle son got married this past September and in our Mother/Son dance the photographer captured me throwing my head back in laughter… I am going right now to order that photo… this is my child that has brought so much laughter into our home and I want to celebrate that. Thank you!

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