How to become photogenic. Tips from the photographer and psychoanalyst
November 8, 2019
Part 1. Ruthless glance
Everyone knows what photogeny is, but few people guess what it depends on. Natural data? Photo quality? Mastery of model or photographer? A high self-evaluation? In fact, each of us can be photogenic - you just have to try a little.
“In my opinion, I am very ugly on the covers of magazines,” actress Charlotte Gainsbourg confessed in an interview with Psychologies. “I do not consider myself photogenic, I prefer to see myself in motion, in the cinema or on video.” Even stars, who are used to professional shots and tricks (from makeup to retouching) that “improve” the image, do not always like themselves on glossy paper. “I am not very photogenic” - this phrase is heard by photographers from celebrities at the beginning of almost every photo shoot. In blogs and on Internet forums, they also do not stop discussing photogenicism and ways to “turn out good on the photo”. This topic may seem empty and banal, but in a hypernarrissistic society, where a person exists only through his appearance, his image, it is crucial. “We live in the days of social networks, and in them the role of the image increases, because there is only what is visible,” explains the psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Vannina Micheli-Rechtman.
Each of us experienced this strange feeling when looking at our own frozen image - as if you could hear your voice in the answering machine. Many try to explain their disappointment and discomfort due to lack of photogenicity. The photogenicism is not as painful as physical defects, it is softer than clumsiness, a small defect that justifies our unwillingness to see our true portrait. The truth that our frozen face in the photo reveals to us taken by surprise, because it shows a fixed, wrong, “alien” face. “Our inner self-image is, as a rule, younger than the face in a photograph,” said psychoanalyst Alberto Eiguer, author of Narcissistic Perversion and Her Accomplice. “That’s why the image seems alien and puzzling.”
We look at ourselves without condescension, biasedly study every dash, pursue the slightest flaw, subject to the slightest criticism the slightest awkwardness, and our harsh sentence is not subject to appeal. Those who stone in front of the lens or avoid it, in fact, are afraid of the eyes of others. Maybe because as a child they weren’t looked at sufficiently and were little loved, or maybe because they assume others have the same lack of indulgence and the same rigor with which they value themselves.
Part 2. Allow yourself to relax
Lighting, angle of view, posture - the look and skill of a professional are able to show our individuality on film. Some photographers are known for discovering hitherto unknown aspects of a person’s personality — almost like psychoanalysts. But in order for a miracle to happen, a balance is needed between self-awareness, model self-esteem and respect for others, in this case the photographer.
Of course, some people are easier to photograph, others more difficult, but our job is to see and beat the features of each. I remember how once I asked my girlfriend, who was afraid of the camera lens, to come to me for a photo session. At first we talked for a long time, she told me that she didn’t like herself: her nose, those extra pounds, folds under her chin. At the beginning of the shooting she was tense, nervous, did everything to spoil the photo. It took a whole hour for her to finally relax. For a good portrait, time is the determining factor. When I showed her the resulting photos on the big screen, she began to cry - because for the first time I saw myself beautiful. She never thought that she could be.
Are we all photogenic? “The answer is definitely yes, but only if you agree to trust the photographer. If you relax and allow the photographer to direct you, he will be able to capture your beauty, that subtle moment when your inner light meets the outer light, when something unpredictable and exciting shines through the skin, is read in sight.
A short course of photogenicity from the photographer:
1. Look at yourself in the mirror, examine your face, its expressions, while talking to yourself, as if you were playing the role of yourself. Play in front of the lens - thanks to this game, actresses often turn out better in photos than models.
2. Find your best three quarter view.
3. Exercise to relax the muscles of the mouth before shooting: move your lips silently, so they will take the ideal position.
4. Forget about the long list of your shortcomings: if during the shooting we try to hide them, the result is unnatural. On the contrary, look at them as unique advantages.
5. Do not be afraid to give free rein to your emotions - the film loves them very much.
6. Open your eyes - this is the main secret of photogenicity. The photo is mute, and the one who is depicted on it can express his desire only in his eyes. The look should be directed to the eyes of the photographer, that is - to the camera.
7. Trust the photographer, do not even avoid the lens mentally, otherwise shooting will be like hunting.
... and from a psychoanalyst:
1. Determine for yourself what your dissatisfaction with yourself is rooted in (self-image, self-esteem, beauty)?
2. Look at yourself in the mirror and answer the question: what do I see? what worries me? why?
3. Reconcile with the thought that there is a gap between what we see and what we show, and this difference is the same for all.
4. Do not forget to remind yourself that other people do not see in us the same that we see ourselves, and certainly do not notice the small details of the exterior that upset us so much.
5. Train yourself to calmly meet the views of other people - this will allow you to relax and not strain your face