In this age of selfies and surveillance, it's a real curse to dislike photos of yourself. In my case, I actually don't mind having my photo taken — I was raised by photography enthusiasts, so a lot of my childhood was spent being told to "hold still just like that for a second" — but I'm not crazy about my own looks. There's a reason why my last Twitter selfie was a picture of a small mirror with only part of my face reflected in it.
But I need photos for LinkedIn, and for the About page on this web site, and (eventually) for books I publish, and and and... so I've been keeping an eye out for photographers who are good at photographing people.
I was lucky enough to make Ardean Peter's acquaintance on Twitter a while ago. She posts regular blog and vlog entries that are fun and positive while remaining level-headed, and she does portrait photos and business photos. She has a fantastic web site showing off her work. I really love how she uses light, both in her portraits and her architectural photos — and I love that her photos of people, while usually posed, look like the subject is comfortable in their own skin.
Ardean's based in Toronto, same as me, so I signed up for her mailing list and entered the contest she held for a business portrait. And I won!
The session took about an hour and a half. That might make people who hate having their photos taken cringe, but it was a lot of fun. Ardean has enough energy for both herself and her subject (and probably to power a small town if we could find a way to collect it!). The photos where I'm smiling or laughing — I really was smiling or laughing about something we were talking about. The ones where I'm more serious-looking are from naturally quieter moments. I was really impressed by how well she built a rapport. It was like having a really good café chat and by-the-way-you're-posing-for-photos.
Ardean went through and picked out what she thought were the best shots, but made the whole set available, and sent me a link to download everything. I made a subset of the photographer selection, and cropped them down to make them more "head shot" (most of them are photos of me from the waist up).
There are cameras and photos everywhere. There are not too many real photographers. I am very grateful I got to get photographed by one.