“I’m not photogenic, no, I know everyone says it, but I’m REALLY not.”
I hear that at least once a week. And I’m not exaggerating.
It makes me sad, because it is not true.
OK, I might agree that you aren’t a model. Models do have a high incidence of photo-ability. (Yes, I just made that word up.) So maybe that’s not you. But I have a feeling that most people actually are photogenic. They’ve just been photographed in the wrong pose at the wrong time. And maybe even in the wrong frame of mind…
But let’s look first at the definition of photogenic.
- (esp. of a person) Looking attractive in photographs or on film.
- (of an organism or tissue) Producing or emitting light.
When you think of being photogenic as the first definition – looking attractive, (rather than being super glam perfect for every paparazzi flash) it seems a little more do-able, doesn’t it? Take it from me, even the best models I know hit clinkers every time they step in front of the camera. Nobody’s perfect. You know what happens to those images? ‘Delete’! I get those bad boys gone as quickly as possible. Wrong pose, wrong time, delete. Like a negative thought that you banish from your day, that image, out.
You’ve heard it a thousand times before – we are our own worst critics. It amazes me how much we judge ourselves based on what a little piece of technology produces in a sixtieth of a second. Do you know how many ‘sixtieth of a second’-s you have in your lifetime? If, in the rest of your lifetime, you were photographed every sixtieth of a second, oh OK, let’s be realistic and say once every hour, I GUARANTEE you’d have more good shots than bad. Why? Because you’d be laughing. Enjoying life. Being determined. Working hard. Thinking. Connecting with the outside world. Living. And with pictures, just like with life, you get to know what works if you do it long enough.
Which gets me to definition number two, and if you came to this post looking for concrete ideas on how to look better on camera, hang in there, it’s coming. The second definition is WAY more important than the first, it applies to us all, and let me tell you why.
The best and most attractive images are defined something by something inner, a light that we produce and emit that says something great about who we really are. The physics of a successful portrait are something that can be taught. I can show you how to stand, how to breathe, put you in terrific light, help you with wardrobe choices, keep you engaged and happy during a shoot, delete the bad images, pick the best ones. You’ll look good, and with enough images like that of you floating around Facebook (and for heaven’s sake, un-tag yourself in the icky ones – remember ‘wrong time, wrong pose’? DELETE), people might actually start to say that you are photogenic. Because, guess what, you ARE. You look attractive in photos!
The best way to take a great picture is to understand that just like you must work to cultivate the way you view yourself inwardly, you must pick and choose the accurate reflections of yourself in the outside world. Don’t let an IPhone camera, wielded by your three-glasses-of-wine-in-a-dark-bar friend, be the judge of you. Take that personal discernment you use when shaping your inner self, and to the extent of your influence – which is considerable – pick and choose your reflection to the world. As within, so without. C
Me, a couple of hours apart. It is all in the moment.