The single most asked question I receive when I am photographing people is: "Can you make me look 10lbs lighter when you edit and photoshop the pictures"?
My answer, is typically "Yes! I can. But No! I won't".
Society has brainwashed us into having a pre-conceived notion of what is beautiful, and most often the positive perception never transfers to ourselves. With the internet, media, camera's in our phones, magazines and TV, we are bombarded by millions of images and what beautiful "should" be.
When I look through my lens, there are no pre-conceived notions of what beautiful is. The one sole thing that overwhelmingly always jumps out as beautiful to me is someones personality, their soul! Whether I'm photographing joy, passion, sadness, love, or any other emotion or event, it is the persons energy and personality that must resonate through in order to make a beautiful picture. That coupled with some great light and wow! an amazingly beautiful picture is born.
I have photographed old and young, black and white, overweight and skinny, tattooed and clean cut and all other types of individuals, and each and every one of these people were absolutely beautiful when their personality and uniqueness showed through.
Some very famous photographers agree:
- George Zimbel, who has been a photographer for 60 years and has photographed Marilyn Monroe, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon and Jackie Kennedy, said that to him, beautiful faces are the ones that jump out at him, and there is no rhyme or reason as to which ones will catch his eye. Personality, he agrees, adds a lot to a person's beauty.
- "Certain people seem to have some soul behind them or some old-fashioned sort of kindness that shows through," said NYC fashion photographer McMullen.
The one message I want to send to everyone who tells me that they are not photographic, that they hate their pictures being taken, and that they want me to edit their pictures to look differently, is that "YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL". If you've had bad pictures its likely because you've had a bad photographer and perhaps you have been hesitant to REALLY let the real you shine through. I guarantee that you are photogenic, and that with the right person holding the camera and with a little bit of YOU thrown in, you will be amazed at how much beauty really is there without any editing at all.
I'd love to know what everyone else's perception of beautiful is. Please feel free to leave your thoughts by writing a comment below.