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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Walk in Someone Else's Shoes

This is an article from an excellent local photographer Stephanie Mohan, who took some incredible photos of my daughter Jubilee for her headshot and promo photos.  After these photos, Jubilee was signed to Stars Agency and is enjoying getting auditions and is getting some work.

Stephanie offers a very interesting and self analytic article on her profession as a portrait photographer.  I thought it would make a nice re-post in this blog.

Thanks for being Stephanie, Stephanie!

a walk in someone else’s shoes…

Earlier this month, I went to a Los Angeles workshop to beef up my headshots skills!  I learned SO much and had just an incredible time (  Not only did I learn a million new techniques, but I feel completely re inspired!.
One of the most valuable aspects of the workshop was that I had to stand in the shoes of a model.  Each participant had to have their headshot taken by instructor/photographer Peter Hurley .  I was so nervous….I completely freaked out in front of his camera.
I cant say enough about the experience of being a photographer who is camera shy and feeling what my clients go through on the other end of the lens.   I was not an exemplary client.  Sweating, twitching, giggling…. I was a total mess.
Round 1: my photo shoot! I proceed to stand in front of his camera and ignore all his instruction.  I cant stand still.  I look away constantly.  I’m completely embarr
assed.  If I were the photographer, there is a great likelihood I would be rolling my eyes (at least in my head).  In seconds, after viewing the images,  I determine my had is freakishly large and my eyes are small and beady.   I think that I must immediately  go on a diet.  After a firm lecture by Peter, I get to try again.  He tells me to follow his directions.  He tells me to stop freaking out.  Round 2….I still wiggle and twitch, but I think I am following direction better.  I try to trust him, through I still felt like a train wreck.  What am I freaking out about?????
I had no idea this could be so traumatic.
Now I really “get” how intense it can be to have your photo taken, particularly if you are not a professional model or actor.   I really do!   But why is it so hard? I know I am not a super-model, but after looking at these photos nearly three weeks later, I really REALLY like them.  Why couldn’t I love these photos back then?
Obviously I can mention a cliche like  we all need to love ourselves more, or point out that we never see ourselves how others see us.  But my summation as a portrait photographer who works with models, who may or may not have their photo taken regularly, is that self image can be very fragile.   I think we all can take ourselves too seriously, and  once trust is there, we can then work together to make a great image as a team.  Also, once the initial shock of seeing ourselves is over, than we can “take in” the beauty of our own image.  This was a completely eye-opening experience.

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