5 Reasons You Are Not Photogenic


Photogenic is defined as “suitable for being photographed: likely to photograph well”.  It seems about half of the people who come to Frameable Faces warn us that we are going to have a tough time with their session because they are NOT photogenic.  Usually we just tell them we can’t help because we just don’t want the burden of trying to make such bad looking people look good.  It’s probably hopeless right?  WRONG!!!!!!!


Ally did NOT take this photo. I repeat – Ally did NOT take this photo… haha

Some people will go on and explain to us that “No – I’m serious.  I don’t photograph well at all.  I just don’t”.  If you are one of those people then in all seriousness there are likely some legitimate reasons you feel this way.  Here are 5 reasons you are not photogenic:

5 Reasons You Are Not Photogenic

  1. You are not pleased with the way you currently look.  Maybe you aren’t in the best shape of your life, or for whatever reason you aren’t thrilled with the way you look at the moment.  Hey no one is perfect, but you are the best and most unique version of you!  I wrote about this recently here.  Embrace and love yourself!  It’s okay!  If you indeed have not been taking good care of yourself then make that change and start now!  Meanwhile this is not the only reason you are “not photogenic”.
  2. You aren’t naturally comfortable in front of the camera.  Some people on a moment’s notice can just light up when someone is going to snap a photo.  They take more pictures, they practice more, they are prepared.  You are already convinced that you are not photogenic so you aren’t confident about being in a picture and you are not comfortable.  That does not mean there cannot be an environment created with proper planning where you will be comfortable.  There absolutely can be.
  3. You are being photographed by non-photographers.  This can impact a photo in a number of ways.  The person taking the photo may not have an eye for it and/or you may not connect with them.  Those two factors are really important for making a good photo – it doesn’t matter if it’s a ten thousand dollar camera without those two things.
  4. You typically are not lit (or posed) properly.  This is a continuation of the last point.  There is so much more than just knowing how to work a camera to produce a good photo.  Lighting (and posing for that matter) is a huge factor.  For example when we first opened the studio a photographer friend asked us why we had our main soft box set up on the side of our studio opposite our window.  He said that our main box was competing with the light coming in from the center court of the mall and impacting our lighting set up negatively.  He was right.  It wasn’t a difference I would have noticed but Ally sure noticed it after we made the change.  This is just one example of many factors that contribute to the composition of a photo that all combine to make you look better.  Real pros go to seminars and work with their peers – constantly honing their craft to improve all of their skills all the time.
  5. You typically are not prepared to look your absolute best when a random photo is snapped.  Maybe because of your line of work, your daily schedule or your hectic life in general you don’t have your best clothes on and your hair looking its best at all times.  If you are female your makeup also might not be done when someone says “C’mon!  Let me just get a quick picture!”

In short, not everyone is always at their perfect weight walking around 100% totally ready for their close up at a moment’s notice in perfect lighting with their favorite outfit on and hair perfectly styled to be taken by a random family member or friend with an iPhone who doesn’t know how to use the camera on it.

Here is the shamelessly self-serving part of this article – as you have probably figured out, these 5 reasons you are “not photogenic” can largely be addressed by going to a real professional whom you connect with.  I don’t just say this as an ad for Frameable Faces.  I mean it in general.  It applies to any professional who knows what they are doing.  Just don’t be hard on yourself if you haven’t always been pleased with how you look in photos.  It is not necessarily your fault!

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Frameable Faces Photography
Frameable Faces Photography is a small biz retail mom & pop shop of Doug&Ally Cohen located in the Orchard Mall in West Bloomfield, Michigan, United States Of America!
Ally & Doug can be reached at the studio at tel:248-790-7317 or emailed at mailto:info@frameablefaces.com
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2 responses on “5 Reasons You Are Not Photogenic

  1. Janice Sullivan

    Nice post! So true about going to professionals for portraits. I’m a professional photographer BUT not a portrait professional. It does take skill to know how to shoot a portrait. I shot portraits in college but that’s it so I go to professional portrait photographers if I want a great shot of me and the family. 🙂

    1. Doug Post author

      Thanks Janice! And I agree – portraits, events, macro, landscapes – all different beasts for sure. It’s hard to be an expert at all of them and it’s really not the best idea for anyone to try to be. You are certainly a pro in your field that’s for sure – love your work. 🙂

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