Being Photogenic

I had the pleasure this week of photographing around 600 people every day at our church’s VBS.

As I went through the photo’s, I discovered 3 things:

  1. I am not so good at taking candid photo’s of people. I need to practice that more.
  2. 3000 photo’s is a LOT of photo’s to go through, especially if someone wants you to pick just 60 of them for a slideshow.
  3. Some people are naturally photogenic.

Emily smiling

It seems that the last group of people (the photogenic ones) are split into two subgroups.

  1. People of whom it’s impossible to take a bad photo. Whether they know you’re there or not, photo’s of them just ALWAYS look good
  2. People who the camera sees as they see themselves.

It’s this second group that really caught my attention, because I think we all have the ability to be like them.

Hannah Sasser looking like herself.I took this photo of Hannah and she really liked it.

I wasn’t sure why she liked it so much, but to me, it really showed her personality. I asked her if the picture showed her how she sees herself and she said yes, which was when it clicked for me.

A reflection of you

Hannah doesn’t have the greatest smile on her face, she’s not primped and primed and ready for a photoshoot and, in fact, this image may not even look all that perfect to people who don’t know her. However, what you see there is Hannah, from the inside out. This photograph completely reflects who she is – and that’s the kind of photograph I love.

Sure, she’s naturally pretty and with some staged lighting, makeup and costume, we could take some beautiful photo’s of her – but those photo’s would just be a reflection of her outside beauty, not what comes from the inside.

For most of us, subconsciously, we tense up whenever we see a camera. We might think we’re acting naturally but that inner tenseness changes our facial expressions and our body language just slightly.

It may only be slight, but it’s enough that when the camera records what it sees, we look at the image and what we see just isn’t quite right, it’s not quite the person we know.

The secret is being natural

The secret is learning to relax and to really just be yourself. Ignore the camera. pretend like it’s not there and allow your natural expressions to take over.

Kimberly Weihert looking PhotogenicAlthough I didn’t get the focus quite right here, Kimberly looks so natural, so… well, so Kimberly. I had just walked into the room and she was sitting on the floor, yet she was able to just look natural. She didn’t tense up, instead she let the camera see her as she is.

That’s the kind of photogenic I love. The kind where the camera can capture more than just what’s visible, but can record something of the beauty on the inside, too.

Try practicing being yourself in front of the camera and you could become photographic, too!

Thank you to my three beautiful models for allowing me to use their photo’s in this post!

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8 Comments

  1. It’s probably got something to do with being able to be natural generally not just in front of a camera. But always being just who you are in any situation.

  2. Sunshine

    Thanks for taking all those photos and donating your time and talent. You captured my Kimberly perfectly! I can’t wait to see the slideshow!

  3. Lara the

    Great pictures! I look forward to seeing the moments you caught.

  4. Beautiful captures, Peter. I love when photos show the true self of the individual in them. It’s kind of why I tend to love the quirky shots of myself and/or family members – they just reveal so much more.

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