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About “Good” photos or
“What your mother never told you…”

Written by G. Gregory Geiger. I am a Certified Professional Photographer and a Photographic Craftsman, two degrees that are earned, tested and reviewed before receiving these degrees from the Professional Photographers of America. I’m also a nationally certified print competition judge for PPA. That certification takes about 32 hours of training and testing. My experience level covers 40 years of doing still photography, film and video and being published in the top 3 bridal magazines; receiving Kodak Gallery Awards (2), a Fuji Masters Award, a regional Emmy and a DuPont Columbia award. Since the mid-1990’s I have been on the teaching/lecture circuit to other photographers, event planners and caterers. In 1999 I was the President of the New York City Chapter of the International Special Events Society (ISES).  

If you have heard that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” that’s correct if you are looking at clothing, a house or getting a BF/GF. In the commercial and professional photography industry most times that doesn’t work.
I will tell you that “beauty is in the eye of the check-book writer”. For the educated and trained people that will actually hire a model;

  1. Photographer
  2. Ad agency art director & account manager
  3. Client that you will represent in photos, video or in person

Those people know these rules while looking at your portfolio:

  1. The viewers eyes want to see the mask of the face (the area between the eye brows and lips)
  2. Anything that detracts from seeing the mask of the face is not a photo that sells you!
  3. The viewer’s eyes are drawn to the brightest part of the photo, that better be your face!
  4. Having a hand to your face will detract from your face; worse is when your hand is between the main light and your face.
  5. Light coming from below the height of your eyes will make your nose look funny; light coming from below your jaw will make your jaw look larger.
  6. If your nose has a bright or white spot on the end, you have “Rudolph Nose”!
  7. Vertical lines are boring, great photos have “dominate diagonals”! Your head, shoulders, chest, hips and legs are tilted. Standing square to the camera is boring…
  8. “Photography is painting with light”. Photos that are taken with the pop-up camera flash, an on-camera flash or the sunlight coming over the photographers’ shoulder, are flat and boring…
  9. The only person with plastic skin is Barbie. Over Photoshop the skin and you will look like Barbie.
  10. On a ½ body  photo, you better be able to see both of your arms and hands. The same for thing ear-rings when you are looking right at the camera, you see one, you better be able to see the other one.
  11. Legs straight, knees locked, both facing the camera is bad. First it makes your knees look ugly, second it’s not an exciting pose and to me, shows little creativity.
  12. Other no-no’s: hips square to the camera; poses where your thighs are the first large body part in a photo (makes ‘em look big!) arms straight & locked at your sides; hands at the same height on your hips or sides; hands and arms up to your head with your elbows pointed at the camera; blocking the light on your face and your face; ankles rolled to a side, hands & fingers open against dark clothing on your body; your body in light with your face in the shade; bending your butt down like you are about to use the potty; objects growing out or through your head, worse is an object that is pointing up to your crotch! Also: anything that crosses the photo and that cuts your body in half; your hand(s) buried in your crotch (you masturbating?); clothing that blends into the background; photos that are over processed in Photoshop (too much of the blur filter!).

Remember this: “Bad photos will definitely NOT get you a job offer!” Only good and great photos with get you a call back and second look. How many job offers have you received? How many call backs?