Why aren't I photogenic?

7/10 Fern & Fountain couples confess very early on: "Hey, we love your work, but we're wondering- will we look as good as all the other people on your website? We're not professional models and we're a little nervous in front of the camera."

I get it. I myself am uncomfortable in front of the camera. I have my good angles, and my not-as-good-angles, like everyone. It can require a little bravery to step in front of the camera because it's a naturally vulnerable thing.

When a couple starts asking me if they are going to look good in my photos, the first question I always ask them is, "Have you ever been professionally photographed on a fantastic camera?"

The couple usually says, "well, no."

My next question is, "have you only ever taken selfies or been photographed on a cell phone camera?"

Usually they say "well yes, but why?"

I'll tell you why.

Have you ever been to a clown house with the funky mirrors that make your body or face look very warped?

Cell phone cameras are similar to those mirrors in clown houses. Clown house mirrors alternate back and forth between convex and concave reflective surfaces. Cell phones are "wide lenses," so they are comparable to a convex lens which is meant to pull in extra room around the edges of a photo, for an overall "wider" image with more background and scenery. It makes some areas in a photo wider, which overall distorts an image.

Think about the size of a cell phone lens. It's like a half inch thick, isn't it? Very tiny, not a lot of room for mechanical function. Think about the size of a digital camera lens. They are quite large. My lenses range from 3 inches to 10 inches long. My lenses are mechanically created to accurately capture things like scale, proportion, distance, contours, and so on.

Cell phones don't do any of that. Cell phones don't have the mechanical advantage of accurately capturing things like scale, proportion, distance, or contours. Sure, some of them capture RAW footage these days (RAW means high information that can be more easily manipulated in post-production software) but the cell phone lens itself is made to be compact and tiny, not proportionately accurate. So cell phones are mostly useful for flatlays and landscapes- not faces, which are highly contoured, and not bodies, which have a lot of shape and depth.

If you've only ever been photographed on a cell phone, and you never like the way you look, you're recognizing the shortcomings of cell-phones, which has nothing to do with whether you're photogenic or not.

You are photogenic. You just need to be photographed by someone who can guide you. Someone who is looking out for your best angles, lighting, coloring, posture, and who is using a high quality camera and lens that are intended to photograph the human body and face.

Of the 7/10 couples who share that they're a little nervous to be photographed, after I deliver their engagement session, they usually gasp and are shocked by how beautiful and natural they look. It's usually the first time they can see themselves the way other people see them!

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