One thing I've found frustrating as I get more and more into developing my photography skills, is the distinct lack of people who will actually let me photograph them.
I mean I don't really blame them as I tend to dislike most photos of myself and much prefer to be behind the camera than in front of it. But I do take a lot of self portraits for a couple of reasons. First I'm the only person who's always on hand to try a lighting setup or new technique, and secondly I believe the more I learn what to do while in front of the camera, the more I can help people when it's their turn to have their picture taken.
Anyway there's a couple of videos that have been going around the various photography sites I visit. They were produced by a company called Dove who make skin, hair, and body cleansers etc. While they're a little cheesy and predictable, they do actually highlight one of the main reasons we find it hard getting our photos taken. We don't see ourselves the way others see us.
Now we see ourselves a lot. Whether we're looking in the mirror while we shave, or doing our hair, or even just checking if we put the buttons in the right button holes of our shirt. (hey it can happen to anyone!)
The thing is we see ourselves so much that it's too easy to pick out those little flaws that everyone has and magnify them. But what we don't realize is that while it's plain and obvious to us that one eye is bigger than the other, no one else has ever noticed it, and probably never will unless you point it out the them.
Peter Hurley, a former model, and now leading headshot photographer gives the perfect example of this effect with a very common logo. The FedEx logo is seen around the world by millions. But what isn't seen by those millions, is the arrow. Now take a look at the FedEx logo below and see how long it takes to notice. If you can't see it, click the picture to highlight it. But I warn you, once you've seen it, you can never unsee it.
Now so many people will have seen that logo hundreds of times and have never ever noticed that arrow, and most people never will until it's pointed out to them.
The problem is, you've already seen all your "arrows" you can't unsee them and they are so obvious to you. Why did you have to be born with that kink in your eyebrow, or a nose that leans to the left. Thing is, everyone else looks at you and just thinks "FedEx"
Once you understand this, having your picture taken becomes so much easier. In fact a good photographer will work with you and photograph you in a way that will make these things even less noticeable. One eye bigger than the other? No problem, don't look square into the camera, turn your head slightly to one side putting the bigger eye a little further away from the camera. All of a sudden in this 2 dimensional picture they look the same size.
Now I realize this isn't the only reason people don't like their pictures being taken, and in part 2 of this blog (I did call this one "Pt1" so I'm afraid there will have to be a "Pt2") I'll go into another big reason. Plain old crappy pictures!
In the mean time, what's your biggest "arrow"? I have one ear higher than the other which I only ever noticed because it makes my sunglasses always tilt down on one side. As a result I have to bend the arm down to make them sit even! O_o
Oh and then there's the constant dark circles under my eyes, but hey that's why we have photoshop. Then there's the grey hairs, and the stubble that just never grows even, not to mention....