Reactions When Viewing Portrait Images

I readily admit that it’s very difficult to be objective when viewing a photo of yourself. We are nevertheless frequently put in a position where we need to ask a subject to not only look at the photos we have collected at a portrait session but, even harder, to pick the one he or she likes the best.

Hardly anyone says “Wow, don’t I look great?” because that would of course imply vanity.

When asked if I can add hair, or remove years or pounds, I smile and say, as diplomatically as possible, I left that filter back at the office.

Family resemblances are frequently noted. (“Wow, I’m looking at my Dad there.”)

Bad experiences with previous portraits also surface. (“Don’t make me look like a sack of rocks as I did in my last photo.”)

After hearing innumerable initial responses, nearly all of them humorous in a self-deprecating way, I decided to start a little list of my favorites. The one-liners are the most fun.

  • Impish
  • Tired
  • Disturbing
  • Coy
  • Shifty
  • Possessed
  • Deer in headlights

I just smile, say encouraging things, take some more photos, and nearly every time the subject comes to terms with what he or she is seeing.