Need a new headshot photo but hate being photographed? What’s a business person to do?
It’s pretty common, and sometimes even feels expected, that people dislike having their photo taken. Many people genuinely cannot look at a photo of themselves without immediately seeing all kinds of flaws in their appearance. And somehow the camera always seems to emphasize the things we dislike!
Why do we dislike photos of ourselves?
The mere exposure effect
To some extent, there are psychological reasons behind why so many people seem to dislike photos of themselves. One of these is the “mere exposure effect,” where we tend to prefer things just because we have seen them more often. That means that we get used to seeing the reversed version of ourselves we see when we look in the mirror, and whether we love how we look or not, we prefer the mirrored version to the “true” version that a photograph gives us. In a study from 1977, people were shown two images of themselves. People in the study preferred the mirror image of themselves, while their friends reliably preferred the true image.
Another factor that comes into play is confirmation bias. We believe certain things about ourselves, and we want to be proven right. If we think we just don’t photograph well, every time we look at another photo of ourselves, we see what we want to see that confirms our theory. We have in our mind a list of flaws and shortcomings in our physical appearance, and that is what jumps out at us from photos.
Previous photo experiences
Let’s face it, some pictures really are actually bad pictures. Bad camera angles, weird expressions, all the years of fake smiles in school pictures—nobody wants to see these types of photos of themselves, and we all have some in our back catalog. There is a lot that goes into making a flattering picture. Whether it’s family reunion photos by Aunt Debbie or goofy-looking candids your friend took, or even supposedly professional portraits by a photographer who just didn’t do a great job of coaching your posing and expression, not every photographer knows what they’re doing. It’s easy to see why people hate being photographed, and it’s not their fault.
Is it possible to get that new headshot without hating it?
But it might take some mental work!
A lot of the reasons you hate being photographed aren’t real to anyone but you
Confirmation bias, mere exposure bias, whatever—no one else has the same biases against your photos that you have. Have you ever looked at a friend’s beautiful portrait and then listened to them tell you all the reasons it’s a terrible photo, and they hate it? None of the flaws you have in your mind about yourself are things other people notice. Remember that, next time you are in front of the camera!
If you’re really serious about turning your attitude around, consider some exposure therapy—consistently look at photos of yourself. Get used to how you look in photos. Maybe you have a friend or partner who you can enlist to help by being your personal photographer and taking a few photos of you now and then.
Do some research
Another helpful element is being knowledgeable about flattering angles and lighting. With the internet at your fingertips, there is lots of information available to you. You can find quick tips for selfies as well as in-depth studies of posing techniques. If you’re interested in this, check out our DIY headshots series! Our headshot photographer, Jennifer, shares some great portrait tips and tricks.
Know that you deserve to be photographed
That advice comes from portrait photographer Hannah Millard. She goes on to say, “Millions of people take photos of their cup of coffee every day, and you’re worth infinitely more than a cup of coffee.” We couldn’t agree more!
If you’re looking for a new headshot, consider getting it done by professionals with over fifteen years of experience in portrait photography. Even if you hate being photographed, we’ll make the process painless, and we’ll get images you love. Get more information, or contact Berks Headshots today.