“I am not photogenic.”
“I hate how I look in pictures.”
“I don’t photograph well.”
Does this sound like you? It sounds like just about every client that I work with. Most everyone believes that they do not and will not ever look good in photographs; that they are doomed to a lifetime of bad photographs. To that I say, “I accept the challenge.”
Sure, we all have photos of ourselves that we hate – snapshots taken in terrible lighting from an unflattering angle are simply UNFLATTERING! And besides, self-judgment and self-criticism are part of the human condition. However, this kind of thinking just contributes to more bad pictures in the future. Why? Because you’re nervous and uncomfortable in front of the camera. You feel awkward and you get stiff and blink and do funny things with your mouth and hunch your shoulders. Then you throw up your hands and claim that you have a predetermined inability to make good pictures.
Feeling comfortable in front of the camera is the secret to great portrait photography. What I tell my clients is that most people are a) afraid to have their photo taken and b) don’t trust the person behind the camera. To ensure great portrait photography, I help my clients feel comfortable, be relaxed, and trust me.
First, I ask clients to make a short list of what they would like their photo to look like. Do you want to look confident? Strong? Proud? Kind? Welcoming? Romantic? These different looks require the photographer to make different kinds of pictures, so I want to know your goal before I pick up the camera.
Second, I don’t work in a studio setting. Together, we choose a location that describes you and your business. If you’re a therapist, we find a location with natural light, big windows, and warm colors. If you’re a litigator, we choose a location with cool tones and a corporate feel. I find that portraits studios don’t always make us look our best, so I always make portraits on location.
Finally, I make portrait photography a collaborative experience. I shoot connected to a computer so that you can preview your photos and make changes to your posture, expression, clothing, and appearance until we achieve the desired look. I want you to love your portrait, so we take time to review what we’re making and work together to make changes until you’re happy.
Next time you see a snapshot of yourself and cringe, don’t write off all photos in the future. Instead, call me, and we’ll schedule a time to make a photo of you that is real, natural, relaxed, comfortable, and storytelling. I love the challenge of photographing people who don’t think they photograph well – the joy and surprise in their beautiful final product is a terrific reward.