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Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Why do you hate having your photograph taken?

As soon as you begin to photograph adults you will repeatedly hear the fact that ‘I hate having my photograph taken’. I realised early into my business that my new career involves a huge amount of psychology and it’s been crucial for me to understand how my clients are feeling before, during and after a shoot.

And I’ve also learnt not to take the rejection of some imagery personally.

To help me understand the issues I’m dealing with I looked into some of the reasons why people feel this way about photography. If you can add to this list from your experience of shoots please do!


  • There is definitely a generational thing at work. Generation Y (generally marked by an increased use and familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies) are used to seeing hundreds of digital images of themselves – good and bad – and accept this as normal. Whereas for older generations the proliferation of digital cameras, mainly compacts with on-camera flash, has resulted in losing control and a loss in quality in how we are viewed by others in photos.

  • It is important to accept the fact that the human face is complex and different angles of view can substantially affect how flattering an image is. Having your portrait taken by an experienced photographer should at least result in more flattering images.

  • Many people do not recognise themselves in photos and it is worth remembering that people know their faces in reverse – you only see mirrored reflections and this can be quite different to a 2D photographic image. This leads back to the first point where frequency of exposure probably results in more realistic expectations. I had my portrait taken recently and whilst writing this post I went and flipped the image. To me the bottom version (ie the mirror image) is correct because it is the one I’m familiar with. But it’s only correct to me!


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