Photophobia: Dreading that business headshot
What is business portrait photophobia? If you Google the word photophobia and we find that it is a real ailment: a sensitivity to light. If you’re looking for that, you are in the wrong place. What we are here to talk about is the dread that many people feel when they have to take a posed, professional photo. We all take selfies with our photos and love to do that. Posting them on social media to show friends how much fun you are having. But, when it comes time to dress up and pose in a studio situation, that mood changes to dread.
In doing hundreds of business headshots over the years there is one response that I get from just about everyone: “I don’t take good photos”. No matter who you are, there seems to be a universal dislike of the formal posed headshot. When you sit down in front of the camera for a posed shot, most of us get very nervous and uncomfortable. Of course, with those feelings going on, it will be hard to get one you’ll be happy with. Once again you’ll say “I don’t take good at taking photos.
Bad experiences in the past
Often, that dread comes from bad experiences you have had in the past. Many times, the photos that are used for a business website or flier are not taken by a professional photographer. Someone in the office who has a good camera has been asked by the boss if they can take photos of the staff.
They take everyone outside the building, set them about six inches from some shrubbery, and fire away. Maybe they even do the dreaded count to three routine. If you’re the one getting your photo taken, you’re not happy, you’re busy, and need to get on with your work. Maybe the boss has just told you about the photo that morning, giving you no time to prepare. (that boss was a man no dought) The photo is snapped and you take a quick look at it and say “it’s ok, use that one”. You’ve selected it just to get it over with, and to make it worse no retouching is done to that image. (Everyone needs a little polish) Once again, not the best situation to have a great portrait of yourself, and once again, you come to the conclusion that “don’t take good photos”.
It’s often not your fault.
So there is often a good reason that “you don’t take good photos” and it’s often not your fault. By the way, you’re certainly not alone in feeling this way. When my wife and I began dating, she had such photophobia that she would literally turn around when I tried to take her photo. Imagine, someone who disliked their photo that much ended up dating a photographer.
Helping you get over your fear
So how do you get over this? I can’t magically change you into someone who loves to take photos, but knowing what is going to happen will help. First, you have made an appointment and taken a look at our post “the making of a great business portrait“, which will help you get ready for a great portrait session. You’ll find that the sitting is simple and fast. We’re set up and ready to go when you arrive so that you’re not having to wait. The whole process takes about ten to fifteen minutes.
I try to put you at ease by talking about what you do and why you’re having the photo taken. I find other people’s professions very interesting and learn a lot from just talking to people about what they do.
The session is quick and painless
You’ll have a seat and I’ll pose you, shot about four photos. We will then take a look at them on a laptop. We’ll select the one you like the best. If you don’t like any of them we’ll start over. We’ll take photos until you have one you love. Most people leave saying that it was easier than they thought it was. Given people’s photophobia, that makes me feel that I have done my job.
But we’re not finished after you leave. We’ll take the image and digitally retouch it to make you look your best. not too much, it will still be you, but just to smooth things out. It’s that little bit of “polish” we mentioned earlier. Once we’re done retouching the image we email it to you. We’ll keep the image in our files indefinitely, so if a year later your hard drive crashes, you can give us a call and we’ll send it to you, again without an additional cost to you.
So this article may not get you over the Photo Phobia, but hopefully, you’ll see that the process, when you come to our studio is easy and painless. Plus, we even have a piece of chocolate for you when you leave, a little treat.