There’s No Such Thing As A Person Who Looks Terrible In Photos!
I realise that it may appear I am somewhat full of myself by starting a blog post with one of my own quotes, but it is simply because this something I truly believe - And because I was told by the person who first heard it that I, absolutely, should use it:
Let’s face it: People who say they hate being photographed or who hate the way they look in photos (or both), most likely have never had a truly professional portrait taken!
I say this because from experience, and from what I see on social media, the vast majority of images that people show are taken by family, friends or themselves. In other words: more often than not no skill or much thought was involved in producing that image.
The angle is bad. The light is bad. No colour correction. Low resolution. Badly (if at all) focussed. The list could go on!
Who has not seen an image of themselves taken from a terrible angle, or at the worst possible moment, when they appear to have many chins or look unrecognisable?
Selfies & Filters
It is not possible to address the unskilled photos issue without mentioning selfies and filters.
Filters are supposed to enhance the person’s looks or make a poor quality image acceptable. However, they really do not! And although putting bunny ears on yourself is fun, the resulting image is not fit to be called a portrait. It is not a true reflection of your best self unless you are, in fact, a rabbit!
The skin smoothing filters are something which I find quite unsightly - Something which is supposed to enhance your features but which makes you look as though your skin is made of plastic. Then add some extreme lighting to it, and the “transformation” is complete.
I do wonder when this became acceptable and considered an enhancement!
It seems to me that people who say they hate to have their photos taken always appear to be ok with either having unflattering photos taken by friends, family or themselves, on a mobile phone or take selfies and filter it out of all recognition - How does that make any sense or convince people that they will look terrible in properly taken portraits?
I get it… Selfies and filters are a bit of fun, and to me this is just what they are - But what they are not is a measure of whether you are photogenic or not.
Badly Executed Photos Will Make Anyone Look Less Than Fabulous - No One Escapes This Truth!
People convince themselves that they are not photogenic because they are:
or “too anything” negative they can think of.
The effect of this slow, but certain, erosion of confidence cannot be overstated and for many it has a real effect on their self-esteem and daily lives.
Negative Self-Image Is An Issue Which Can Affect Lives Very Adversely!
A photograph is very much a mirror in which we see ourselves and which we feel will magnify what we dislike the most about our appearance.
Nowadays harsh self-judgement is a daily routine for many women, men, and children, especially on social media. It strikes me as a race to see who can change themselves the most in order to get more “likes” and feel accepted.
But when putting the mobile phone down and looking at the unchanged/unfiltered photo, many people will revert to what they see as the truth about themselves and it can lead to a dangerous downward spiral - And so a bad photograph has the same effect as looking at yourself in the mirror and continually hating what you see.
Don’t get me wrong… I am not suggesting that everyone who does not wish to have professional photos taken hates the way they look, and I am certainly not suggesting that great photography will cure all low self-esteem issues. I do acknowledge that some deeply engrained negative self-image problems are far more complex and require professional counselling, or medical help.
However what I am saying with some certainty, due to experience, is that being photographed by a skilled professional will help most people to see themselves more positively and kindly - Sometimes for the very first time.
What Are You Really Afraid Of?
With sixteen years of experience as a professional photographer I really cannot take a photo as basic as the ones taken on your mobile phone! And yet you love these selfies, right?
Is it because you feel that you are the only one who understands your best side? Is it because you worry that you will have no control over what I do? Or because you think that once I have you in front of my camera I will be judging you in some way?
Please allow me to address these possible worries:
You feel that you are the only one who understands your best side - No, you really aren’t. I have a trained eye for posing and lighting any person, and if we are having a full portrait session I will have time to work with you and understand what suits you;
You worry that you will have no control over what I do - Not true. Whereas I will have full control over editing, I will never make your skin look plastic and I will never change your features. I will work with you during your portrait session to ensure that you do have some control over what I photograph and I will guide you through what looks great for your body type. All I ask is that you place your trust in my professional ability;
You think that once I have you in front of my camera I will be judging you in some way - This will never happen. I genuinely believe that everyone has something special about themselves, which makes them unique, and it is my skill to capture that something in images. It is absolutely nothing to do with age, body shape, gender or ethinicity. It is what makes me love portraiture: Capturing your uniqueness and showing you that you are amazing!
Maybe your reason is quite different from any of the above and I would like to find out what it is so that I can understand it better - But simply saying that it is just because you don’t like having your photo taken will not cut any ice, as I bet you have many selfies in your phone!
I Am Leaving The Last Words To An Amazing Lady
Nothing says more to me than the feedback from people who were, like many, absolutely certain that they were not photogenic, hated being photographed, and experienced self-image insecurity - But not any more!
It is not any kind of miracle, but it is just as amazing to those who have a new found confidence and regained their self-belief - and no amount of selfies can do that!
This lady now showcases her beautiful and intricate outfits herself, on catwalks. No, she is not a model. She is simply a woman who regained her self-confidence following a professional portrait session!
Andrea de Gabriel
If you would like to find out more about the booking of a professional portrait session for yourself, a family member, or a friend , get in touch and I will be happy to help! Call me on 07824 312561 or send me an email enquiry.