As a portrait photographer I often wonder about what makes my clients like their photographs.
I have been doing some research and reading on it, and there seem to be a few factors, one of them particularly interesting. I see on regular basis that the reaction from the person in the photo, and their friends' are different, the 'subject' says: 'this doesn't look like me, have you photoshopped it?' and their friends oh! and ah! over the photo saying she looks great.
So why such a difference?
You see, WE see a different image than what others do! not only we are prone to mostly seeing our flaws (wrinkles, spots, dark circles under the eyes) but most importantly we see the MIRROR IMAGE!
photo from news.cision.com
Our faces are NOT symmetrical (see the photo of Scarlett Johanson below), we have a better side and a worse side (ever heard a photographer asking which profile you prefer?) If you cut your photo in half and place each half at 90 degrees to the mirror you will see 2 different faces - neither of them yours though!!! and you will like one more than the other.
You only know your face from the MIRROR (well, unless have heaps of your photos on display around your house), which means you see a different picture than other people looking at you! The camera is like the other people. It sees you as you are, and not as you know it from the mirror.
I assume it's the Mere -Exposure effect, a psychological phenomenon where people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them, and looking at your own photos must be the most intimate way to experience it! So they like the mirror image more because that's what they are more familiar with!
There's another aspect I feel is very important here, which I like to call 'I don't normally look like this'.
No you don't!
Portrait of the Duchess of Modena as Hébé by Pierre GOBERT, French painter (b. 1662, Fontainebleau, d. 1744, Paris)
What you see in your photos is not the same person looking at you from your passport or a driving licence. These images are special, think of it as of a modern take on a commissioned oil painting like the one above - I imagine the Duchess of Modena didn't look like this everyday!
Together with the help of my Hair and Make up Artist, we create the best photos of yourself, these are carefully planned and styled to achieve the best results, find the best angles and most flattering poses. These images will make you feel confident and beautiful, even if you didn't feel that way before your portrait session.
Why not book a portrait session to see for yourself what we can create together?
Beautiful twin sisters
After a photoshoot with Anne we have talked about how great it would be to capture both her and her twin sister Emma together, especially with a big birthday around the corner. The problem was we are in Banbridge, and Emma lives abroad. The opportunity arose when Emma came over to celebrate Christmas with her sister and the family. I finally got to meet her, and found it fascinating to see someone I know in a stranger! Well we are not strangers now, and I loved the session: we had some tears, and lots of hugs, and I'm very proud of the photos we created!
I'll let Anne explain the rest...
Or could they?
In 2010 when the Twin Research Unit in London asked us to provide blood samples for one of their studies we agreed to do so, and asked if they would ALSO perform a zygosity (dna) test to find out if we were identical. When the results came back with the 99.9999999% probability that we were identical it was far more emotional than either of us could possibly have imagined.
Knowing we had once been the same tiny cluster of cells (after spending years trying to convince ourselves we hadn't!) definitely changed our relationship.
Finding out you're not quite who you thought you were at the age of 34 is pretty odd, but it also felt like a new beginning. It brought us a new perspective and showed us how special our connection really is.
So, we decided to gift ourselves (and each other) a session with Dagmara to mark our 40th year. We wanted to capture this milestone in our life together, in a way that appreciated our many differences and similarities. Dagmara fulfilled her brief perfectly, and I know we will treasure these images - as well as the relationship they capture - for the rest of our lives.'
If you're a twin and would like to volunteer with the Twin Research Unit, there is more information here
Contact me for more information or to book your makeover and portrait photoshoot!
What to bring to your photoshoot
How would you like to be photographed?
I ask to bring 4-6 different outfits so we can try different looks.
Do you need personal branding images? Maybe bring a business suit or uniform, or clothes that shout 'YOU'!
Would you like to feel like a lady at the Races?
Maybe you'd like to do one boudoir set?
Have you always dreamed to be a princess? Do you have a dress in mind, can you borrow it or do you already have it, but it's been sitting at the back of the wardrobe as there was no occasion to wear it?
Or could you be a fashion model for a day?
Here are some outfit suggestions, try to find one from each category you like (sexy, flowing, classic, lacy and EPIC) and have one of them dark and one light.
To make the most of your photo shoot it's important to bring everything you will need to keep comfy and to achieve the best photos possible.
Please bring nude bra, and pants
If you feel like you may benefit from using some shapewear bring it as well, preferably in nude.
Please also bring white and black bras/pants, depending on your outfits.
Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions, I am happy to help you prepare for your session!
Contact me NOW to book your makeover and portrait photoshoot!
I met Frances at Benraw Creative Convivium in Turnip House she is a multi-talented artist, she makes beautiful jewellery, glass pieces and also crochets, her work can be found HERE. We had a great chat and she told me she's celebrating her 50th birthday - for the whole year! - doing all sorts of things, and ticking off bit by bit her bucket list.
She loved the idea of having her portrait done and I couldn't wait to photograph her. When she arrived to my studio she was excited but a little unsure, but after she left, Frances sent me this message:
'You boosted my confidence by huge amount today! thank you'
My dear friend Anne let me experiment on her in preparation for starting my new venture - Contemporary Women Portraits. She is always busy with children, helping others, art and work, but she managed to get a few hours of 'me time' and to come to my home studio near Banbridge. She could finally look to the bottom of the list and remember who she was. She's not only a beautiful caring person, she can also write a lot better than me so I'll let you read what she sent me after the photoshoot.
I wanted to write you a note just to say a heartfelt 'thank you' for the session today.
As I get older I appreciate more and more that time waits for no man (or woman!). However, this time last year you helped me to make time stand still, and you captured an image of me pregnant with my third child which I will treasure forever. I look at the picture and not only do I see myself, but I also see so much more. I see a timeless state of being, and the beauty that comes - not from me - but from life itself.
When I look in the mirror day to day I see a familiar face, but always in passing. I stop just long enough to do some quick repair - job, and then it's back to my busy life. Today you paused time for me again and gave me another perspective on myself.
These last few years - like many women, I took a step back from my career to focus on my children. I stopped putting myself 'centre stage'.
But the photos you took of me with my instrument today reminded me a little more of who I am. Seeing yourself from another perspective is a powerful thing.
It might sound cheesy to say it, but they have reminded me that motherhood has only added new dimensions to who I am. It hasn't made me a different person!
Today I learned that a photograph is more than the likeness of a person or a scene. It's goes much deeper than that. Thank you so much for this experience and the opportunity to learn more about myself, it has been truly therapeutic! Much love xx'