If you have convinced yourself you look horrible in pictures, you will look horrible in pictures. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard “I’m not photogenic” I would be rich. Most people who do not think they photograph well can easily be coached in to the right pose and right situation for great photos. From time to time, though, you run in to a person who is thoroughly convinced they do not photograph well and have strong feelings against being photographed. There’s no helping these folks. I had a client come in for headshots recently. She had just started a new job and her company wanted the headshots for their web site. Her first words were “I just want you to know I hate having my picture taken and do not want to do this.” Not hello, not ‘hi my name is…’, just instant negativity. I asked why she didn’t like to be photographed. She said she doesn’t like how she looks in photos, believes she has never looked good in photos, and reiterated her deep hatred of the process. Despite reassurances from me that I would do everything I could to ensure she looked good, she was convinced that anything short of a model stand-in would result in a horrible photo.
For a photographer, there’s no way to help someone like that. Even if you have just recreated the photographic equivalent of Botticelli’s Venus, that client will believe they look horrible. When having your photo taken, for whatever reason, try to go in with a positive attitude. It can be a fun experience and your photographer will ensure that he or she is doing all they can to ensure you look great. Yes, being forced to take a photo is no fun. I do a lot of passport photos, those are no fun. But even if you are required to get a headshot for work or travel, having a relaxed attitude and trusting your photographer will go a long way to creating great images.