Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Pretty Filter

It seems like I just talked about this on here. Girls who don't think they're pretty in pictures. Sigh. We just met with a bride and groom, and the bride was SO PRETTY... but she told us one of her concerns was that she often doesn't look good in pictures. If you saw her, you'd get what I mean. Her features and skin were flawless, and she had great bone structure for pictures. It boggled my mind...

Let's discuss that right now. Cuz I hear it a lot. Like at least once a week.

First things first. When I was in my first college photography class, in the first 30 minutes the professor said something I have never forgotten: There are no bad subjects, there are only bad photographers. It was a lesson I took to heart because I truly do see beauty in the faces of my subjects. If that does not come thru, it's my fault, not theirs. Over the years I have learned more and more about light, posing, angles, lensing ~ all of it makes the person in front of my camera more beautiful in their pictures.

In fact, many clients have asked us how it is that everyone in our albums, studio samples and websites are always pretty. It's lead to one of our favorite jokes. A question really... The first time I heard it, I laughed out loud. It originated with a couple getting their engagement shots done and the groom -- kind of a rough, ragged manly type -- blurted out... "Damn, do you have a pretty filter on this camera? Cuz even I look good!" He became one of our biggest fans and has sent us many clients over the years because of "the pretty filter." We always know his references because they come in and ask specifically for the pretty filter.

It's no coincidence that our clients are all pretty. And we don't really have a pretty filter (sorry!), and we don't only book with gorgeous people. The common denominator is that we work really hard and make sure everyone looks great before we call our job done. A skilled photographer can bring out you at your very best. You as a rock star. And that is before Photoshop even enters the picture, too!

We recently did holiday portraits for a returning client named Stephanie. Her old headshot was incredibly popular on our website for years because she has this huge, heartfelt smile.

When she came back to us last week, she looked really different. Her sweetness was still there, the smile was just as warm, but she had grown up from being a cute girl to being a more sophisticated and elegant woman.

When she saw her photos she reminded me of the guy who coined "the pretty filter" -- Steph said "Oh my God -- I look so, so PRETTY!"

Well, duh. Of course you do -- you are pretty. And it was our job -- our privilege, to remind you just how pretty you are!

And really, it's not just the ladies. It's guys too. Years ago we had a call from a young actor who told me first thing on the phone just how ugly he was. "I need all the help I can get -- call your make-up people and hair people, " he said. We were braced for the worst. I mean, yikes. But when he walked in... he was handsome. Not ugly at all. Photographing him was like working with a male model. His pictures changed his life. Six months later, he called and told us that he had moved out of his mom's house, got a girlfriend, started working out, found a better job -- and landed a role in a play. That's the pretty filter for you.

So hopefully this has put to rest some of those worries about looking good in pictures. We will take care of you. You'll be gorgeous.

Now, it's true that there are things YOU can do to look better in front of a camera. Here are some tips, and some of this is common sense, but is truly good advice...
1) Drink lots of water & be hydrated -- it makes your skin and hair look great naturally.
2) Get ample rest. Dark under eye circles are never cute.
3) Groom yourself! Not to be weird... but I mean brows, nose hair ... stuff like that. On men and ladies.
4) Take care of your teeth. A bright, beautiful smile is always attractive.
5) Relax. Pictures are about body language, so if you look tight and tense, the people looking at your pictures will intuitively see that. Just be chill!
6) Don't use shiny, sparkly or glittery make-up, ladies -- it reflects light back into the camera and makes you look washed out and sick.
7) Buy and use blotting papers. They're cute little sheets of rice paper that magically suck shiny oils or sweat off your skin and don't disturb make-up on girls.
8) Consider a professional make-up artist for important portraits and days -- they know about camera ready make-up and can contour your face like a movie star.
9) Learn to pose. Be like Zoolander and seriously stand in front of a mirror and practice posing -- stuff like looking relaxed and having a great on-camera smile can be done easily with practice.
10) Be yourself. Of course you want to look like Jessica Simpson or Tom Cruise or Angelina Jolie -- me too! But we're not, so make peace with yourself and be who you are! Nothing is more gorgeous than that!

And after all that... we've got the pretty filter.
~ Rissa

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