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Why are headshots awful?

Why some people think headshots are awful. Some suggestions, too.

I dislike being photographed.

Quite a few people say this phrase before I have a chance to say “good morning.” Many those people sent me their old headshots and links to online bios. Not surprisingly, those pictures had traces of what might have happened during their photo sessions. There are certain commonalities among the pictures I saw and what I heard from many people.

Many of those people have the same facial expressions in their pictures, usually stiff, sad or stern. They might be nervous, feeling insecure, or intimidated by the equipment. There can be a few other environmental or psychological factors. This is a common problem because most photographers know only one way to photograph people, and not necessarily used to work in this kind of situation. It’s obvious that, if you are nervous, telling you to smile will have no or negative effect, but people still do.

Some people also try too hard. This is common for people who think they have to look serious, strong, or powerful. That’ll most likely make you look stiff and angry. Obviously, the solution is not to try too hard, but try to look calm instead.

How to do these things is one area where experience counts. I developed my system to help people, from preparation to shooting to finishing up was retouching work. In fact, you’ll almost forget that you’re being photographed at some point.

I don’t like the way I look.

Many people are critical of themselves, so this is a common concern. If you honestly tell me specifics of what you don’t like about your look before we start shooting, I can help you better. For example, if you are worried that your faces to round, I can adjust the lighting to make it look a bit slimmer. If you have double chins, you can make them go away or tone down by a choosing the right shirt, adjust the posture, the lighting, and the camera angle. All of these things can be further improved through retouching work.

The most painful time to think about this is when you see the proof images in the studio. You are reacting to photographs for the first time, and you may build up strong emotions, which will take a lot of time to neutralize. It pays to think about this before the shoot to avoid the frustration.

One challenge in this area is that some people don’t tell me their concerns at all, or tell less than truthfully. If you have an issue with your pimples, please don’t complain about the backdrop color, or something else. Some people just apply me pressure and expect the problem to go away. I can’t read your mind and don’t do magic.

Friends say I have great smile, but I don’t have any good picture

One possibility is that camera intimidates you, or the person who is behind the camera makes you feel awkward. These are solvable. Tell me your thoughts, and we can figure out. Another possibility is that your friends like your smile but you don’t (see above). If your problem is teeth, they can be whitened and reshaped through retouching. But I can’t retouch your smile.