So I'm pondering: do you have different standards for what makes a good picture of a friend or loved one as opposed to a good picture of some stranger? I'm torn on this one. I'm not sure what I think. I don't think good pictures have to be flattering pictures in either category. But I guess with friends and loved ones I have more of a sense of whether it's characteristic or not, whether or not it's flattering, and an otherwise nondescript photo can delight me if it's "really" how the person looks to me. On the other hand, a really well-done photo of a friend or loved one can make me evaluate the lines and planes of their face and/or body in ways that I don't usually think of doing. I don't think of my friends as works of art but as people. And I am not a visual artist myself at all, though I like some. (That is, I don't know how to take photos that good, but I definitely know how to appreciate others'. Hmm. Also I'm personally fond of some painters, sculptors, photographers, etc. and even a few writers who are much more visually focused than I care to be.)
Sometimes I'm startled when I see myself in pictures, because it's recognizably me and yet...well, I think of myself as bigger than that, for one thing, and I don't mean in the simplistic "photo on the screen is two inches tall and I am five-foot-six" way. Also, expressions feel a lot more exaggerated from in here than they look from out there, with a few deliberate exceptions. Do you have that, or the reverse, or something else entirely?