Your face is a muscle. Have fun and use it!
Having a professional photograph you should be fun. If it’s not, it will show in your eyes, face and minds of those who view your profile.
The challenge lies beneath our skin where hundreds of involuntary muscles are responding and expressing themselves outside of your conscious control. If you’re just the slightest bit uneasy, your face and body will whisper to the world that you’re not present. Another challenge for many of us is that the primary relationship we have with our face is the one we have in the mirror, not a camera. Socially, we’re just not accustomed to flexing our facial muscles and delivering on cue. This is why all those great “looks” you see in your bathroom mirror get lost in photographs.
Professional models understand the muscles in their face and easily cultivate “looks” on cue. Some of the easiest photos I’ve ever taken have been while working with professional models. With a little coaching and good rapport, you too can easily deliver the best you.
Rapport is everything. I usually start with a conversation and see how people hold themselves before the camera is even brought out. I naturally tend to mirror my subjects in a way that lets me be in their skin a bit. From there, I go through some basic poses with them until something organic emerges. That’s the tipping point. I capitalize on those moments by bringing the subject’s natural stance into the classic forms that speak well for their personalities, body type and professional role.
As I’m shooting, I imagine the photo in the context of how it will be used, how it feels and what it is saying. I tend to move fast at that point to lessen the chance for any negative self-talk. For my subject and me, it’s a great place to be and where the best shots occur.
Don’t be afraid to share with your photographer how you feel and what you like and don’t like in your self-image. A good photographer listens and knows techniques to minimize or capitalize on those likes.
When hiring a photographer, be sure to look behind their portfolio. Ask about how they work with regular people (non-models). If you’re doing the hiring and things go ugly with the CEO, it will be more than the photographer who has a bad day.
For more on the hidden language behind the human face and body, read Joe Navarro’s book, “What Every Body is Saying.” It’s a book for photographers and just about anyone else who works with people.
Purchase “What Every Body is Saying”: Amazon
Joe Navarro: joenavarro.com