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.