I could probably write a book on all the tales I’ve heard relating to people in front of cameras. But always particularly recall this one…

Many years ago, a lady came to me for business headshots. She explained she had asked her adult daughter to take some photos of her, but it hadn’t worked out and relayed how that event panned out. Her daughter got her to stand in front of her and took a step back, held the camera up, snapped, looked at the camera and said it wasn’t very good and would try again. Again she held the camera up, snapped, looked at the camera and explained “well you had your eyes shut that time”! This continued for a while, but without apparent success in the daughters eyes. Eventually, daughter announces, “Mum you’re just not photogenic”!! Ouch… 

They may have had a giggle with it along the way and nobody fell out. But the comment went deep and caused mum to doubt how she looked.

Now here’s the thing – if the daughter had gone outside and taken a landscape image and decided it wasn’t as good as she’d hoped – she wouldn’t turn to the landscape and say “you’re just not photogenic”. So why would you say it to a person? Can you see where I’m heading with this? The word ‘photogenic’ gets taken out of context from its true dictionary meaning in a big way. 

Do you know how to get the best out of someone, do you know what would be the most flattering angle, height and lighting to produce an image they will like of themselves? Are you happy if the person you are capturing takes a look and doesn’t like what they see and thinks it’s all their fault? Would you stand up and take responsibility?

Well here are a few things to know and consider – it’s very difficult to know how to be or how you are appearing in front of a camera without any helpful guidance. You won’t have any idea of the height or angle someone has their camera pointing towards you, so how can you know what the result will be? Yes others see us often quite differently to how we view ourselves, but that doesn’t relinquish our responsibility to how we capture others.

Cameras give us fabulous technology, so we can all be photographers now. But it’s what we do with it that makes a difference… a difference that could so easily affect others, both positively and negatively.

Perhaps you might stop and think next time you want to take photographs of people, or, get in touch and I can give you some help 🙂 

Did you read ‘Photographer Responsibility’ Part 1? 

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