Why being a headshot photographer in a selfie obsessed world sucks

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I don’t know if this is a feminist rant or a whinge about modern culture. Either way, let me have a quick word with you woman. Yes, you. The one who automatically assumes the selfie pose when anyone wants to take your photo. Don’t hide from me now!

Stop it.

Seriously. You aren’t doing yourself any favours in your business!
Actually - let me pause for a minute and make a point. This rant only matters for work or business images. If you are posting a selfie from your holidays to FB - knock yourself out! I am talking about the photos you post and share for your business or your LinkedIn profile.

It’s all in the angles.

Yep. You know it’s true. Any woman who’s ever opened up that reverse camera on her phone knows the reality. The angle of your camera matters. We know that the ‘selfie pose’ can be pretty damn flattering (minus the duck face expression of course).
By stretching your arm above your head, you are elongating your face (aka, making it look slimmer). You also look more attractive because your eyes seem slightly larger. Don’t believe me? Look at pretty much every snapchat filter. Ever. Fundamentally, you are making yourself look younger, and in most people’s minds (rightly or wrongly) that equals more ‘attractive’.

The downside of looking young

So that’s cool, right? I mean, who doesn’t want to look younger?
Sure, but what if I told you that making yourself look younger also means that you look less competent at your job? Yup. The pose that you do to look ‘young and pretty’ is also sending the body language message that you are less capable. Because that’s the downside of youth right? Inexperience, naivete.
The camera higher than your eye-line makes you look ‘smaller’ (not just in a skinny way, but in a diminutive way). Eyes that are big, wide open and looking up at the viewer make you look young. Or in other words in need of protection and not able to cope for yourself.
It begs the question. What business babe or career chick wants to come across as LESS CAPABLE?. I mean really…. Science-types have proven that women are seen as less capable at work than men (that’s a rant for another day). Throw on top of that, that our enculturated desire to look ‘young and pretty’ is not helping our cause!

Chin forward and down baby

So what’s the alternative? Look old and craggy?
Well, no. But before I give you a possible solution I want to very clearly say something!
Own your experience and knowledge. It is enough. You don’t need to look ‘young and pretty’ to be valuable in the world FFS.
But, I know that everyone wants to look good in their photos, a good first impression matters. Especially because we are shooting photos for your business or career.
Anyone who has had a shoot with me knows that I ALWAYS say, ‘chin forward and down’. This micro movement does what the selfie pose does, but without you coming across as young and hapless. By extending your chin forward (a bit like a turkey) you are helping to smooth out any potential double chins. By slightly tipping your chin down you are bringing the focus of the image to your eyes. This creates connection and trust, but not in a way that makes you look like a child.

So why am I complaining?

This rant is two-fold. Firstly, I have had clients who instruct me in photoshoots to only shoot them from that ‘selfie angle’.
“I only like myself photos that I take. The selfie photos” 
they say as they stretch their arm. 

Well yes honey, that’s because you are falling into the ‘I want to look young and pretty trap’. I get it. But this isn’t boudoir. We aren’t shooting glamour photos. We are doing photos to 
be used for your business. To help you come across as capable. Experienced. Professional.
Secondly, the crone in me just wants to say again. Looking young and pretty isn’t the freaking be-all and end-all. Have faith in your experience and strengths. Lead with them. Show the world what you can do. THAT is more valuable than what you look like.
And, for the love of all things female empowerment, don’t give me the selfie face. It just makes me mad!
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