Headshots and Nervous? All About Self Image and Photography


There isn’t a day where we don’t get a client that comes in who is excited about having their new headshots taken, but is also very nervous! Many clients may have never had their headshots taken before, and so they don’t know what to expect!

Understanding ourselves, our strengths and our weaknesses, is one of the best ways that we can become accepting of our own image. This isn’t an easy task! Even the best models in the world still have great struggles with comparison and their image!

We’ve found a couple of very interesting phenomenon related to personal image, and viewing photos of yourself. Check it out, and we hope you enjoy!

1. The Mirror Image

Whenever we look at ourselves, it is usually up close, and in a mirror. Thus, our eyes and brain get used to our facial asymmetries and learn to not “see” them anymore. However, camera images offer a true reflection, and so when looking at photos of ourselves, the eyes and brain are seeing all the asymmetries for the first time again! Thus, if you never look at headshots of yourself, it can be very disorienting.  One fun experiment: look at someone you know really well in the mirror (significant other, mom/dad, sibling, friend) and you’ll be shocked at the asymmetries that pop out, that you didn’t realize you don’t “see” anymore! Understandably, this is something that is super helpful to know about when looking at your own headshots or professional shots. Check out this article “What’s up with That: You Hate Pictures of Yourself” for more about images and the mirror image problem.


2. How Do I View Myself?

This article over at Counseling Resource has some great questions surrounding personal image, and that can help you reflect o n how you view yourself:

  • What do you see when you look in the mirror?
  • Do you see what others see?
  • Are you governed by it?
  • Can you accept criticism without going to pieces (i.e., “constructively” as opposed to destructively)?
  • Can you live with the idea that there’s room for improvement in the kind of person you want to be?
  • Do you think so little of yourself that you should feel fortunate that anyone else would want you?
  • Do you think you’re perfect and everyone else has to shape up?
  • Do you know full well you’re anything but perfect but resort to impression-managing others instead of committing yourself to the task of self-improvement?


3. Check Yourself Before you Wreck Yourself

Two things you can do to check yourself, and how you are viewing your headshots inspired by Jenn Hand over at the Huffington Post:

#1. Notice the Full You. I know from personal experience, that when looking at photos of myself, I will immediately zoom in on one thing that I don’t like. One, usually small, but feels big to me thing. You have to look at the photo from far away, and take a step back (maybe literally 🙂

#2. No one else is looking as closely as you are! The average person will only spend about 1 second looking at someone’s headshot and are just getting the general feel and energy of that person. Just glance as if you were browsing, as if you didn’t know yourself. Conrad has a saying I really like: “It’s like the night starts, the more you stare, the more stars come out.” Don’t stare too long or even normal things start looking weird!

4. Pictures are Flat, We’re not!

Some more advice from ZMC Science “Why You look ugly in photos – and some ways to solve it.” – A Window into a flat world.

The camera produces flat images. We are used to seeing people in 3D! This is where a ton of posing help REALLY can make or break the shoot. And, one thing really really pride ourselves in over here at Light & Shine! Not only are the images flat, but they are also still shots. We are never used to seeing someone frozen in time, except maybe Han Solo and you can see how traumatic that was! Again, this is where we use a lot of coaching and tricks to get you distracted from the camera, and able to relax.

What do you think? Have you found anything that worked for you? How was your experience getting new headshots, or being the main subject for a photoshoot. Do you agree to disagree with any of the above advice? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!


Shine on,

Mary & Conrad

p.s. as a special note – you probably also hate the sound of your own voice!
p.s.s. For more fun, check out these other blogs to help you prepare!
How to prepare for your photoshoot.
Top Headshot Posing Secrets Revealed!

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