Day: April 24, 2016


This is a fascinating TED talk given by NY headshot photographer Peter Hurley and psychologist Anna Rowley in which they explain their theory as to why most people feel awkward or afraid in front of the camera.

Here at Your Best Self we tackle that fear head on and kick it into touch.  We are making a portrait of who you are and not how you look and once you get the hang of that shift in focus you will love your portrait session.

The Peter Hurley/Anna Rowley talk is not new (2013) so you might have seen it already but If not, and you are about to visit a portrait photographer to get your picture taken, then it’s well worth a few minutes of your time.

In case you don’t have time to listen to the full presentation, I summarise below some of the key points which they make so cleverly.

First off, we all have a gap between the way we see ourselves and the way that others see us.  Whether we are comfortable in front of the camera depends largely on the size of that gap and the level of our acceptance of ourselves.

The key question for us is this:

“What happens to people when a camera is pointed at them and what can we do as photographers to quieten their internal critic?”

So what happens appears to be this: the camera shines a spotlight on the individual, a mostly unwelcome spotlight.  We are raised in a fault-based society – we learn early on how should we look better, prettier, thinner, more handsome, more fashionable, – and this is a big one – younger.  When we are in front of the camera the lens becomes an extension of our harshest critic; ourselves.

No matter how great the picture or how beautiful the subject it is our self perceptions that determine our self-worth and therefore how we look at ourselves in a photograph.

So we need to rethink the way we feel about ourselves.  We need to honour our substance – cherish and celebrate our souls rather than concentrate on the surface.   If you have a think about your values and beliefs rather than the size of your nose or the shape of your face then this will shift your perspective from judgment and criticism to a focus instead on inner truth and self acceptance.  You will then begin to own your experience in front of the camera and see a different type of beauty.

Even with the most reluctant sitters, we understand just how to pull that confidence and self belief out of you on the backdrop and get a radiant and reflective image which you will be proud to show off.  And we have a huge amount of fun in the process.  You just need to look at our testimonials to see that our event experiences are to be relished rather than feared.

As Vidal Sasson said

“If you don’t look good, we don’t look good.”

Love yourself, love your picture.

How Much!!


What should you pay for a headshot in London?

Backed up with detailed statistics London photographer Michael Wharley assesses what a headshot will cost you in London.   Not surprisingly there is a huge range.  The article concentrates on actors’ headshots but applies equally well to any portrait photographer.

Michael finds the range to be anywhere between £50 and £500. My favourite photographer of the moment operates in New York (amongst other places) and I understand he successfully commands $1,000 a headshot.  So it raises the question as to what should a portrait session with a good photographer cost?  The article draws its own conclusions and is well worth a read but it opens up another debate for us.  We get asked ‘why so cheap?’ so this seems like a good time to explore and explain our pricing policy.

The perception can be that a less expensive headshot likely to be no good.  According to Michael Wharley’s article we at Your Best Self are at the very bottom of the fees spectrum in London yet a browse through our facebook page and website will show clearly that our headshots are fabulous!  Of course we need to make the distinction between a very simple but excellent commercial portrait for say LinkedIn or a new website as opposed to an actor’s shoot which will involve more time and costume changes but we thought the point warranted discussion.

As small business owners ourselves we wanted to introduce a new type of headshot experience whereby short, quick, low cost headshots could be available to the entrepreneur or person just starting out with their venture, at no sacrifice to the quality of the image, and with no hidden costs.

We are able to do this for our clients, partly because we are experienced so are able to work swiftly and partly because we are prepared to work really hard during the event days.  We make up and shoot up to twenty people in one day (once we were so busy we did two consecutive event days which was mad) and this is made possible because we belief in and love what we do.  We get a buzz out of helping people in their business endeavours and seeing the photographs we produce reappearing time and time again over clients’ social media platforms.

So our message is this: look at the quality of a photographer’s work.  Don’t automatically assume that because he or she is the top end of the price range that they are brilliant or if they are at the other end of the spectrum that they are not up to the job.  Check out the work and look at the testimonials – and make sure you like the person who will be photographing you.  And finally as Michael says in his report – watch out for those hidden costs.

How good is your Headshot?


In his book LinkedIn Riches, the author John Nemo shares with us how to set up a killer LinkedIn profile.  The very first step he says is getting a really good professional profile picture.

“You have to have a great photo on LinkedIn, and what I mean by that is a professional high quality headshot, one where you are smiling, friendly, attractive; really at your best.”

People do business with people they think they can work with; the photograph of you on your LinkedIn profile is that first step to someone making contact with you, so it is really important that you upload a good one.  So what is a good profile picture?

LinkedIn reports that people with profile pictures get 14 times more hits than those without.  People like to see pictures.

It takes a tenth of a second for someone to make a judgment about you just by looking at a picture of your face. Think of your own profile picture right now; is someone likely to pick up the phone to you to do business or offer you that new job or are they  more likely to move on to the next person on their list?

It goes without saying that your approach to your profile picture reflects your attention to detail and professionalism.  A shoddy picture equals a shoddy professional outlook.

In an interview for CEO, Californian portrait photographer Emily Bourdage explains the importance of the professional profile picture.  She says:

 “When recruiters look online it helps the job seeker come across as being somebody who cares about their professional appearance enough to invest in it. It takes your standard black and white resume and turns it into a real-life human being.”

To see the full interview go to

A trawl through LinkedIn reveals countless profile pictures which are not up to the job; the one of you with the family dog or a child under one arm and a glass of wine in your hand.  Even worse, you on the beach, or next to the face of your friend who you have badly cropped out.  You get the picture; sure it says fun, sociable, fit, busy but it doesn’t project ‘professional’.

So don’t risk missing out on whatever opportunities there are out there for you.  Book on-line to see us now; fabulous profile pictures at an acceptable cost; it’s a no-brainer!