Of all the different disciplines and types of photography, portraits or portraiture to use the correct term, is perhaps one of the most difficult with which to impress the customer.
It’s not because our professional portrait photographer needs to improve, the problem is an underlying one it’s all connected with how we all perceive ourselves – our mental self image.
You see our expectations of what we should see in a photo of ourselves is derived from what we experience everyday when we look in the mirror, but how we appear in a mirror is not how we appear to the rest of the world.
A mirror doesn’t just reflect our own image it also flips it left to right, at least from our own perspective. It’s easy enough to understand why this is, but it can still come as a surprise because we tend to be more familiar with our reflected projection that we are with our true projection.
To view one’s self in true reflection can feel alien, and for some even a little disconcerting and certainly it’s true few people are immediately happy when presented with their true reflection. Those who do tend to be familiar with both their reflected and true projections, people like professional models or public figures for example will have seen them selves in photography many times and so for these people the phenomena can loose it’s impact.
For most of the rest of us, this inherent quirk of portrait photography normally raises a smile but we’re soon able to get over it, however for one gentleman that visited our studio last year to have his portrait taken I needed to come up with an alternative solution. He was so uneasy with his true reflection that for his final edits I reversed the images in Photoshop.
Upon seeing the results our client’s face lit up into a beaming smile. He loved the photos he just couldn’t see past a projection of himself that he didn’t recognise.
These shots were captured at a fashion editorial shoot that took place last week. The stunning costumes and dramatic backgrounds adds a real vibrancy to these images and so I really like them.
Just For fun, I’ve reverse two of the images. See if you can guess which ones are reflected and which are true projections. Let us know your answers in the comments section below.
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