Photogenic or not?

"I am not photogenic" is the remark I get the most when people want to book a photo session with me. Is that some sort of excuse upfront based on insecurity or do we see ourselves different than others?

Your self image

According to various definitions in the psychology, your self image consists of multiple things. I'm not a psychologist, but it roughly means you value your characteristics. That value is based on your experience, how people respond to you and how you literally see yourself. Also being unfamiliar with a situation takes it part. If you, for example, never been in front of a camera to have your picture taken, you probably rate your 'modeling'-skills low. What happens if you step in front of the camera and it's actually fun, then that will change your self image positively and you build confidence.

Ideal image vs self image

I think we are extra critical about how we look and we let it affect our self image. Because we have an ideal image of how we need to be, which can't be fulfilled by definition, we see things in our faces nobody else does. You are biased. You also train your eyes day in, day out by looking at your face at least twice a day. When you wake up and go to bed, most people look in the mirror.. After 20-odd years you have trained your eyes to see things no one else does. If nobody else sees it, why should we be stay concerned about it?

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

A year ago, Peter Hurley showed me this video made by Dove (yes, the one from the skincare products) called 'Real Beauty Sketches'. The video takes 3 minutes and is one of the most famous Dove films. In the video they explore the gap between how others perceive us and how we perceive ourselves. Each woman is the subject of two portraits drawn by FBI-trained forensic artist Gil Zamora: one based on her own description, and the other using a stranger’s observations. The results are surprising…!

In the studio

As you know, I’m shooting mainly headshots. Nothing is so confrontational as looking at your own face for 90 minutes. Although you see things in your face nobody else does, it is important to find the best angles to photograph your face. If you look photogenic in a photo, is mostly the responsibility of the photographer. We take the time to make sure you are relaxed and I’ll direct you to help you make the pose that will actually look flattering. Combined with great expression, you will become photogenic. I obviously don’t share your self image, it’s yours.. But I’m not biased by your self image either. That why I can direct you to be photogenic and if I really do an awesome job I might change your self image during the shoot! How cool would that be? 😉