Why People Don't Like Photos of Themselves (Part One)
Aug 14, 2019 | By: Allan Gojar
In the world of headshot photography, we noticed that people are not enthusiastic about having their photos taken. It is a common behaviour. However, when more than 50% of the people we photograph start the session with a disclaimer that “I never look good in photos,” I think something went wrong somewhere. Some people go to the extent of saying “I’m not going to like anything there anyway so let’s get on with it (the shoot).”
What has caused people to be that pessimistic towards photos of themselves? We didn’t know the answer to that question during our earlier years. So we did some sleuthing work. We found out through the years that that attitude was based on four reasons. For this blog, I’ll discuss the first reason.
Reason # 1: Unrealistic Expectation People Place on Themselves
Let's dissect this unrealistic view.
Whenever we are asked to go to an office to take the photos of the staff, it is quite common for the next person to see only the final photo of the previous person we photographed. The previous person is almost always complimented as photogenic. At times, they add that it probably only took a few shots to get to that look. In the years we have been doing headshot photography, it is rare that the photo that was picked came from the first few shots.
There is an unconscious and unrealistic expectation that people need to nail the desired look in a few shots because they think it is their job to make themselves look good in photos. The role of the photographer is relegated to clicking the camera and fine tune their posing and angles of the face. If the result of the shoot within a few clicks is unsatisfactory to them, they put the blame on themselves. Furthermore, if the result of many clicks still result to something unsatisfactory, they shrug it off in defeat and conclude that they are as they said they would be - I am not photogenic (I'll discuss this specific topic in a future blog).
Our Response to Reason #1: It is our job to get that good shot of you.
When our clients are hard on themselves, we assure them that only professional models and actors can 'flip the switch' in terms of engagement in front of the camera. They are paid to do something else and we are paid to find their good side and capture their best smile. All we ask for them is to trust our process and be open to coaching them during the session.
We asked our client below for permission to show her photo on our website.
Her response was heartwarming to say the least: I feel quite honoured that you asked me! We told her that there was something genuine and relatable to her photo and so we wanted to show it to people. She was one of those people who said "I don't look good in photos." This strength of our headshot session lies in the fact that through proper direction of the client in front of the camera, we can prove to people that they always will have at least one good side.
But what if the photographer they had before was not able to find their good side? That will be discussed in Part 2 of this series.