One of the highest praises I get in my work as a photographer is this: “I normally don’t like pictures of myself, but I love the ones you took!” When I hear it through the privacy of an email, I let myself smile so big my cheeks hurt; when I hear it in person, I sort-of scuff my toes in an arc on the ground and say, “Aw, shucks. I’m so glad.”
It occurred to me at some point that I was hearing this both from people who’d never had professional photos taken before and people who’d had photos taken often. It would have made sense to hear this from my subjects who weren’t used to having photos taken in general… but what about the other ones?
I started listening more closely, to see if there was some specific, consistent thread tying together the photos that stood out to my happiest clients. Apart from trying to make my subjects feel totally at ease (so I could capture genuine laughter instead forced smiles), and being conscientious to ask questions that gave me an advantage (such as, “Is there anything you’re self-conscious about? Do you have a preferred side of your face? What’s your favorite physical trait?”), when I listened closely to their feedback I realized the steps I take during post-processing were some of the most valued measures in my process.
My clients didn’t realize it, but in between the lines, that’s what they were telling me.
Just to be sure, I looked at other local photographers’ work to confirm that these few steps I always take were truly setting me apart, and to my surprise, I seemed to be the only photographer in my area consistently doing the 5 things I outline below. If you’re a photographer, or even if you aren’t, perhaps you will enjoy learning what they are, and the thought process behind them. Read More