Eye of the beholder

It’s interesting people’s reactions to photographs of them. I heard two totally opposing comments about portraits on a job the other night. It was a formal social event, black tie ball.

One lady said, “These portraits are a hundred times better than what we were offered last year.”

30 minutes later when another couple saw their portraits, “Your photographs are horrible”; I responded. “You mean, you don’t like yourselves in the pictures?”; their reply was surprising to say the least, “No, it’s not that. Your pictures are horrible”.
They went on to tell me that the portraits looked ‘posed’ (they were) and that they had ‘no character’ (professionalism kept me from saying what I was thinking, but you know…). This couple obviously didn’t like what they saw in the photograph, but rather than say that they didn’t like how they appeared, the fault was with my photography. Yet, nothing such as lighting or posing had changed from the time that the “hundred times better” lady had her portrait taken.

It’s not the first time. I actually had a bride ask, “If we don’t like ourselves in the pictures, do we still have to pay you?”

Cameras don’t make stuff up or put things in that are not there. that’s what photoshop artists and retouchers do. Cameras only capture what they are pointed at when the shutter clicks. As an experienced, professional it is my ability and knowledge of the camera, lighting, posing and connection to the client that all has to come together for that fraction of a second. Good to know I get it right 99.9999999999% of the time…mostly.


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