Focusing on the best years of your life: high school, college, career, and (of course) family.

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.


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.

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

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.


18 Responses to “So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed . . .”

  1. Jerry Gamble

    I have to say that I AM one of those larger women who have gained, and lost, and then lost and gained, and gained some more, spiralling ever so nicely up and down like the proverbial yo-yo.
    After reading this letter – and to the author – a hearty congrats on overcoming such a massive obstacle and pain as a car accident – thank you – for pointing out the obvious. Apparently I could not see past the weight to see reality.
    You put it so succinctly about what is important. You are alive, you are ( I hope, getting better)woman, you are Mom, etc.,
    After reading this, I will forget about the fat, perhaps still grimace a tad, but, I will BE in that photograph Thank you so much for sharing your story. Kind regards, Jerry

  2. Karen

    Your smile is AMAZING and that’s what I see when I look at your picture! God’s light is shining right through your beautiful smile! I hope your life is filled with many blessings to come. Thank you for sharing your story–it’s powerful!

  3. RiverTam

    While I appreciate the sentiment of this post, *I* do not feel like I am pretty enough or thin enough or to be photographed. I actively go out of my way not to have my picture taken because *I* do not like how I look. I know I’ll be forgotten when I’m gone…and that’s ok. I’m not the kind of person who makes a mark on the world. There are far better people who deserve to have their picture taken and remembered. My bones will turn to dust, my flesh will join with soil, and the world will go on without me. Whether or not I have my picture taken doesn’t make a lick of difference in the long run because no one will remember a nobody like me.

    • Bethany

      Sweetie, you are one of a kind. You were specially knit together in your mother’s womb and you are the ONLY “YOU” there is and ever will be. You are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14
      You are being lied to by the evil one. I see your pic. You are beautiful. You WILL be missed one day when you’re gone, and you need to see what amazing woman you are….scripture tells us we are made in Christ’s image. (Genesis 1:27) This is the only chance on this earth you have. Anyone can make a difference in someone’s life and you will be remembered. You are NOT a “nobody”. Did you get that? “You are NOT a nobody!!!!” I’ve felt the way you feel in that I viewed myself not worthy….when I refused to let Satan get in my head, and saw a counselor, I realized my God who made me is being 8nsulted when I call myself or believe I am worthless. Please. Please let this msg. resonate within you. I’m just the avg. girl next door and don’t know you nor you me, but I want you to see the beauty that is in you as a creation of our Savior. Blessings to you.

      • Cindy

        Our God does not create “nobody”, He designs each and everyone of us special, unique, and in His image. He has NEVER ” just made” anyone and NEVER will. We are fearfully and wonderfully made by Him! We all are individually created special and unique and beautiful in His own unique way……embrace your beauty, inside and out!

  4. Bridget

    First I have to say I am shocked that there are only 2 comments on your blog entry! I know for a fact your words are resonating with a lot of people because I have seen it shared and liked multiple times! I am one of those women who it has hit home with. I have gone from petite to plus size and felt so much shame. Not from my husband or friends ..although it really does seem as though people don’t photograph you as much…….really it’s been shame from within myself. I’m done with that my kids love me and want me to be documented in their lives! I have forced myself to be in photographs throughout the “fat” years and it showed on my face..I want to show the joy I feel in my kids and my life and my fabulous husband! I’m working towards being healthier etc.. but have realized to be healthy physically is to be health emotionally…..sounds trite but it’s true….It truly is a revelation to realize you are here and alive and people love you, there is so much beauty in the world and so what you are heavier than you want to be. Just live your life.

  5. Ann

    Most of my adult life I’ve been quite fat and would only keep photos that flattered me. Like my mother before me my hair started thinning at menopause, and that just compounded my angst. Then last year my beautiful souse was diagnosed with cancer. I spent many days in the company of women with little or no hair. Some proudly displayed heads, some adorned with scarves or hats. Fewer wigs than I expected. I came to get pretty philosophical about hair–and then fat. I figure that as long as I am alive, loving, laughing, and loved I am just fine. So, take my picture.

  6. Bethany

    I am sobbing. Thank you so much for this. I am a 28 year old currently plus size girl (thank you thyroid and adrenals) who is on the brink of starting life with an amazing man who loves me the way I am. And these are words I needed to read, as I constantly shy away from the camera, even though I love taking pictures. Haha

  7. Michele

    This was such a beautiful article and I wish I had read it when I did not have pictures taken of me with my family over the years…I still hate my picture taken but will, from now on, remember your words and have those pictures taken. Thank you!

  8. Karen

    “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.” – That really hit home. Thank you so much for your insight and wisdom.

  9. Selene

    I too am an artist/photographer and find myself always the one behind the photos. You are so right. Thank you for writing this. You have many talents including writing!

  10. Julie S

    So happy for your recovery, and THANK YOU for posting this. Last year, I lost a dear friend of 35 years at the age of 48 all of a sudden. I searched for photos of she and I together and couldn’t find one. There were many many with her and the others who loved her. She was always smiling, always happy to be who she was and with people who loved her. But, I was always too concerned that I looked too fat, too ugly, etc to be in a photo. That has changed. My friends will have photos of me from now on. My children will know that their mom will jump in to a photo with them any time that they want. I love my friends and my family and my life and want to always be remembered that way. Thank you, thank you!

  11. Bethany

    So powerful. I’ve witnessed friends who have had loved ones die, and begin looking for pics of themselves with their loved one and can only find a few and they’re dated and iN bad condition etc….I see my mom and sister specifically ducking out of a photo….or standing in the back, etc. If they only knew how beautiful they are….don’t get me wrong, I’m not real keen on pics either, but I woke up and realized I won’t get today again…my 2 daughters will be grown in the blink of an eye….what if there were no pics to reminisce with all bc of my insecurity? ….

  12. Robin Davis

    I cannot thank you enough for sharing your story. You have touched my heart and knocked some common sense into me <3

  13. Miranda

    I see that is a few years old, but I have to post a comment. My 10 year old son is fighting cancer, and since he began his battle a year and a half ago, I have gained 60+ lbs. We have a photo session scheduled for tomorrow and I was thinking maybe I would just have the kids in it by themselves. I googled “too fat for pictures” and found this. The “your children want pictures with their mom” line brought tears and put me squarely in my place. Thank you so much for writing this. Seriously.

  14. Brenda

    Thank you for your blog. You hit the nail on the head. I’ve been up & down with my weight for my entire life and am now at my heaviest. I’m disgusted with myself. I know my brother & father are. If anyone else in my family is they don’t show it. Thank you for reminding me of the beauty we each posess. I am going to force myself to be in pictures with my children. Thank you for your gift of words & pictures.


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About My Friend Teresa

Teresa Porter

My Friend Teresa Studios is a boutique portrait studio in Cary, NC specializing in high school, teen, family and child photography that shows everyone from the camera-shy to the goof-ball at their best. Principle photographer, Teresa, has been recognized by Rolling Stone Magazine and published on The Huffington Post.

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