"Natural beauty takes at least two hours in front of the mirror."
- Pamela Anderson
When clients come to me to have their photos taken, whether it's for personal family photos or whether for business in the form of head shots to use in their social media profiles and branding, I always start with a question..."So how do you want your photos to look--what style and feel would you like to convey?"
Mostly, I get the same answer. Did you guess it?..."I want to look NATURAL"..."I want to look REAL"... And that's great, because we want to be perceived as authentic, right?
But the reality is, you don't want to look too real (unless it's pure documentary photography). Trust me on this. When you use words like 'REAL', your version of it will vary greatly from the person next to you, because we're all different. And in business, the difference can be extremely important.
So let me show you 'Real'. Below is the original or unedited photo of my client, Nicole Taryn. She had light make-up applied and hair styled before heading out on location. In the real version, you can see lines on Nicole's forehead, her eyes and teeth are a little dull and we can see a few more lines in her skin (Nicole is beautiful as she is and has lovely skin, by the way). It was early morning, so the light was a little dull and overcast. We photographed her in two outfits, with this one being in relaxed and casual attire, to reflect who she is and which she felt would resonate more with the clients she was wanting to attract, as a writer and spiritual counsellor.
Now here's the 'edited' version...
Which is more appealing? Or rather, if it were you having your head shots photographed, which one would you put on your website and across your social media platforms? I'd hazard a guess it would be the second photo.
Now with having the orginal as a reference, you can clearly see that I've decreased Nicole's lines, smoothed out her skin, brightened her eyes and teeth and shaped the light to ensure that your eyes are drawn to her face and her eyes, and that beautiful smile. It's standard practice when creating portraits or head shots to do a minimal amount of retouching to bring out your best qualities.
Would you now say that the above photo looks 'Natural' or 'Real' after seeing the original? Maybe not, because you've now seen the original photo. But feedback from Nicole, and her many friends was that her photos captured who she is perfectly!
You see, it's all about perception. And the reality is, you wouldn't have the 'original' image on your social media page, because you want your potential clients and your audience to see the best version of you. But Nicole's edited image is still natural and it's real. It's really her!
And I've come to realise something. When you say you want REAL, what you're really saying to me is..."KERRY, I WANT YOU TO CAPTURE MY ENERGY--MY SPIRIT!" That's what you're really saying. Because natural and real and what is acceptable to people about how they look is different depending on who they are and their personality and style. For Pamela Anderson, her version of real is no doubt quite different to yours or mine--or maybe not. It doesn't matter in the long run. What matters is that your energy and spirit are encapsulated in your images. Isn't that what you want people to see? And when they meet you, that energy that they pick up through your images, they then come into contact with and their trust in you is strengthened.
Have a great week!
Kerry :) x
*P.S. --Do you want head shots that capture your spirit or energy and are relevant for your business? You can check out our Head Shots package here. Or looking to customise? Then I can help you customise a package to suit your budget.