“Mirror Mirror On The Wall”…

Posted on 12 July, 2016

“Mirror Mirror On The Wall”…

You are the fairest of them all.

Well, you could be, if you got some help. Everyone can. I don’t mean in the botox and liposuction sense, although I’m not here to judge. Allow me to explain.

By far and away the two most common things people say to me at the beginning of a headshot session is “I’m not photogenic at all” or “You’ll never get a good photo of me” Both of these statements are always unconditionally false. Why? Because being photogenic is not genetic. Being attractive is a learned skill. Yes, you did read that right. You can teach yourself how to look hot.

Before I delve into how this works I need to clarify what ‘hot’ actually means in the context of what I do, which is business headshots. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, I don’t shoot those kinds of photos.


Your headshot plays a key role in affecting how both your current and potential clients perceive you. When people look for someone to hire they look for two things. Firstly, they need to know that you are a confident individual as confidence is directly linked to competence. If people see you as confident they assume that you’re good at what you do. Secondly, they need to know that you are friendly and easy to work with. So we’re not looking for sexy hot, we need confident and approachable hot. Obviously a big difference. All in a photograph of your head and shoulders on a non distracting and clean background.

So how do you get this you all cry?

You need someone to be your mirror. Someone who knows how to make someone look confident and approachable. Photographing business headshots is not the same thing as event photography or landscapes or food or even family and children photography. It’s a specific skill set that goes way beyond what equipment is being used.

When you’re being photographed you have no idea what you look like at that specific moment in time. Unless you have someone to guide and coach you through the process you tend to just act ‘normally’ or (even worse) over emphasise everything. This is how you end up with fake looking cheesy grins, which look desperate and not approachable, which is what we need. It’s like you’re saying to the viewer “Hey! Look! Over here! Hire me! Please!” That’s not good.

Acting normally in day to day life works fine. It looks, well, normal. Your subconscious has your expressions under control and everything else just doesn’t matter as much because of life. However, in a headshot, a light quite literally shines at you and now the details matter.

There’s two elements at play here

How you look and how you come across. How you look relates to things like “god, look at my double chins” or “my left eye looks massive” or “my bottom lip is too thin” Actual elements on your face that you’re aware of. How you come across relates to being confident and approachable and not bored and miserable. Mostly without you being aware of it, I’m dealing with both how you look and how you come across. I have serious OCD. It’s a blessing and a curse but my eye has developed over time. So, I notice the little details that you’re self conscious of and can work with you to eliminate them without Photoshop. I’m also constantly aware that the end result has to showcase confidence and approachability or it’s game over.


Please don’t make the mistake of grabbing the first photo you can find to put in that little square box on your social media profile or on your website. It doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. At best these are usually ‘professionally’ taken but you’re still not portraying yourself in the right way and at worst it’s a holiday snap or taken in the pub. These are literally losing you money. People who are thinking of contacting you are moving on because they’re not taking you seriously.

Remember your clients are mostly resource rich and time poor

We have so many more options available to us now and so little time to consume them all that we make a very quick judgement on whether something fits our needs. If it does, we go deeper. If it doesn’t we move on to the next one within seconds. Do you remember when you used to read every word of every email you received? Do you do that now? I’d take an educated guess that you don’t and neither do your clients. So let’s scrap that iPhone snapshot and start getting serious about your perception.

I take bookings for headshot sessions throughout the year and run a #QuickFire event every 4-6 months. These special events are aimed at business owners or employees who are client facing that need a high quality headshot in super quick time and at a reduced rate. The next one is on August 16th at the Grain Store Studio in Faversham. More information can be found in the link below. Very limited spaces apply.

For more information on my range of services and to view my portfolio please visit richardtorblephotography.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @rtorblephoto.