When it comes to head shots there are two types of people. Those who are comfortable having their photo taken and those who would rather have a root canal than smile at a camera. As a photographer, it’s my role to make you relax for a portrait despite reservations you may have about having your picture taken. My job is taking the best shot.
So, let’s start with the usual objections:
1. The Camera Makes Me Look Fat – As my middle-school shop teacher used to say when I declared it was the saw that ruined my wooden tie rack. “Saws don’t do anything it’s the person operating the saw.” The analogy applies here. The photographer’s job is posing you to accentuate your best features. You may be overweight or have a double chins. It’s my job to determine the best angle and lighting that displays your positive qualities. It’s true there is a filter in Photoshop that can make you thinner but it doesn’t do bariatric surgery.
2. My Face is too Thin – The same principles as cited above apply here. I have a long face and a long nose. When I look at the best photos of me the photographer was careful not to taken them with too much profile. While some people should avoid a straight on look at the camera it’s preferable for me. A good photographer knows how to assess someone’s features and then select the best lighting and pose.
3. I’m not Photogenic – Maybe you are one of those people who expects to look like a model. Well, even models may be uncomfortable without the preparation for a good photo. They have the advantage of using a make-up artist and wearing a fashionable outfit. A professional photographer with the best equipment money can buy took that photo you so admire after it was airbrushed in Photoshop. Or, perhaps you are thinking of photos that have been taken of you with an iPhone when you weren’t expecting it and you look like you’ve woken up on a Sunday morning with a hangover.
How to get the portrait you want.
1. Show me the Way – Consider your photo session a partnership with the photographer. Follow his directions, let him know your best side, have an old picture you love, share it with the photographer.
2. Relax it’s not a Root Canal – I used to hate having my photo taken. I was as stiff as an ironing board. Then a photographer looked at me as I posed and said, “relax, I’m not your dentist.” I burst out laughing and as I smiled he snapped a few photos. I’ve learned that lesson. I will usually kibbutz and take whatever approach works to help someone relax in front of the camera. When all else fails, I tell someone to take a deep breath and relax their shoulders.
3. Dress the Part – Come wearing the clothes that make you look your best. If you aren’t sure what to wear consult with the photographer before the photo session. I usually suggest women bring more than one outfit or a jacket so there can be variety of photos. I will take photos of men with and without ties depending on what the photo is needed for.
4. Make up is OK – Women of course know this but men may think it’s taboo for their portrait. I’m not talking about lipstick for guys but simple things like blush or powder to take the shine off a bald spot.
Getting the portrait you want can be fun, approach it that way and you’ll be pleased with the result.