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Glamour Shots 2.0
July 11, 2014 11:23 AM   Subscribe

The NYT Style section reports that "image-conscious digital natives" are paying for expensive and elaborate portrait sessions to get one-of-a-kind shots to use in social media profiles and on professional websites. These photos (which the Times incorrectly calls "glamour selfies") are not your professional headshots; instead the subjects are depicted in a warehouse, in a field, in a pickup truck, etc. The motivations? Enhancing a personal brand, celebrating a milestone birthday... and, of course, getting lots of "likes" on Facebook. Slate's XX Factor blog defends the trend (if you can call it a trend) by suggesting that the portrait subjects are trying to avoid age discrimination.
posted by trillian (101 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wonder if anyone would be impressed with a picture of me angrily writing SQL code.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:30 AM on July 11 [16 favorites]


NYT Style section reports
if you can call it a trend

Calling it: not a trend.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:30 AM on July 11 [16 favorites]


selfies of me angrily grimacing at the phrase "personal brand" will be the next big thing mark my words
posted by elizardbits at 11:31 AM on July 11 [13 favorites]


I like to think of these as the adult version of "teen senior portraits" which, when I was a kid, only the richest and most popular kids did at school, but in talking with all my small town photographer friends, is a huge industry that pays their rent and seems to have hit the mainstream where many kids today do in school.

So in the hopes my small town photographer friends continue to get work out of this, I call this trend a great idea.
posted by mathowie at 11:34 AM on July 11 [9 favorites]


I know people are going to make fun of this but it makes total sense to me - you need pictures for everything now. Online dating profile, Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, Meetup - most of my pictures are from the iPhone and even if they're not selfies it's something I awkwardly asked someone to take of me mostly so I could try to get a range of pics for this kind of stuff.
posted by sweetkid at 11:35 AM on July 11 [10 favorites]


"The goal, she said, is to create 'personal brand buzz.'"

I cannot express the depths of my disappointment that this statement wasn't followed by a photo of her wearing a beard of bees.
posted by griphus at 11:35 AM on July 11 [25 favorites]


which the Times incorrectly calls "glamour selfies"

Glelfies, NYT. They're called glelfies.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:35 AM on July 11 [12 favorites]


But they're not selfies at all, right? They're just portraits.
posted by trillian at 11:38 AM on July 11 [16 favorites]


I'm also going to vent here that every site (even eBay and LinkedIn now!) are asking you to have a "header background" image as well as your profile image. So now I need to keep both a square headshot handy for every service I use, but also find a big landscaped picture I like that might have me in it. It's kind of a pain to double up the images you expect out of users.
posted by mathowie at 11:38 AM on July 11 [9 favorites]


eh why not.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:40 AM on July 11


even if they're not selfies it's something I awkwardly asked someone to take of me mostly so I could try to get a range of pics for this kind of stuff.

My friend uses her super awkward and hilariously cute 5th grade official class photo for all those things and it goes over pretty well.
posted by elizardbits at 11:42 AM on July 11 [5 favorites]


I noticed the last time I was taking publicity shots for a play i was helping to produce, how much more easily the younger actors came up with natural-looking, yet photogenic, casual poses and expressions. It struck me that they've spent their entire lives having to be constantly prepared for that picture that's going to be seen by a million of their closest friends, family, acquaintances, classmates, coworkers, and total strangers while us old fogies just sat around slackjawed all day until someone told us to sit up straight and say cheese.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:42 AM on July 11 [7 favorites]


I can count the number of people who want to see pictures of me on one finger. It used to be two fingers but my dad passed away earlier this year.
posted by tommasz at 11:43 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


They're glamour shots, publicity shots or head shots. Not selfies.

Most of my friends and colleagues now use professional photos of themselves as their LinkedIn avatars. It makes sense there, since they are ostensibly trying to build a "brand" for themselves to get hired as professionals.
posted by zarq at 11:44 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


I have performed this service (as a photographer) for one of my NYC-based friends who apparently needs to have a personal brand, or at least portraits that keep up with his ever-changing appearance. Is it a trend? Probably not. Will he be calling me to do it again? I'm sure he will.
posted by komara at 11:44 AM on July 11


"glamour selfies"

ugh why does everything have to be a selfie or end in -elfie it's just a picture
posted by troika at 11:44 AM on July 11 [7 favorites]


Can I pay one of them to model for my photos as well? Filling out my LinkedIn already feels like writing about a fictional character who shares my name.
posted by rollick at 11:45 AM on July 11 [21 favorites]


I cropped an engagement picture and turned it into my LinkedIn profile picture, because all of the other recent photos of me feature gargoyle faces, hugging columns, taking Constantine selfies, and so on, so...yeah, I mean, it is kind of silly and indulgent to have professional photos taken I guess, but a lot of online networking basically requires a decent photo in some form. I already look pretty young and I'm super goofy, so having a photo that actually reflects and emphasizes my professional abilities has been nice. I'd much rather look at professional photos than a filtered and fuzzy phone shot or an overly awkward traditional portrait. There are a lot of really great photographers who take great pictures, so hey, more power to them for finding a business niche.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:45 AM on July 11


My friend uses her super awkward and hilariously cute 5th grade official class photo for all those things and it goes over pretty well.

I was a gap toothed monster with huge glasses in fifth grade, with a haircut that was meant to contain my curls but was in truth ridiculous. i would not want to relive what people thought of my childhood class photo pictures from about age 6-18 when things finally started to sort out.
posted by sweetkid at 11:45 AM on July 11


As much as I love the internet, and spend a lot of time on it, I just increasingly lose interest in marketing or branding myself in any way. It's too much effort (and I don't care to know most of the stuff I learn from other people via social media).

Most importantly to me, I am not a product and I am more than what I consume. I resent being pushed to present myself as such. The phrase "personal brand" makes me queasy and I really do worry about how we all are being conditioned to think of ourselves as products and always on display.

It's hard enough just being an authentic person without having to craft a public persona, too.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:47 AM on July 11 [13 favorites]


This is one NYT trend that actually is one. I am one of the few in my LinkedIn connections that does not have a professional portrait. Alarmingly, a lot of the pro photos are in black and white. I'm not clear why; I guess to make yourself look even more pretentious?
posted by sfkiddo at 11:48 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Black and white hides a lot more skin/aging flaws than color, from what I can tell. And any subtle photoshopping of these flaws seems less obvious in b&w.
posted by elizardbits at 11:49 AM on July 11 [7 favorites]


Alarmingly, a lot of the pro photos are in black and white. I'm not clear why; I guess to make yourself look even more pretentious?

Maybe they used photographers who are used to doing headshots for actors? I think it's still pretty standard to have black and white ones for theater work, though I also think they look weirdly stark outside of playbills.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:50 AM on July 11


I thought about using this excerpt in the post, and maybe I should have. It's ... interesting.
Ms. Petterson turned to a duo of Bay Area photographers, Heidi Margocsy and Tara Baxter, for a series of shoots in which she performed more costume changes than Lady Gaga does at a concert. One look was a wind-swept California waif traversing the golden hillsides in a white lace dress; another was an urban vamp crouching against a warehouse wall in a slinky red Catherine Malandrino number. For her Google+ profile, she wore a theatrical chain-mail top, complete with Kabuki-esque makeup and a gold circlet crown. It was her inner “dark princess,” she said.
posted by trillian at 11:50 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


Maybe they used photographers who are used to doing headshots for actors?

Well, my connections are all office drones, so... Aha! That explains why some of them are just acting like they're doing their jobs!
posted by sfkiddo at 11:54 AM on July 11


Frankly, this has been a long time coming and it's great for society that its here.

Brandon ignited the double cloth diaper revolution in the 1970s with his lactose intolerance and reinvented the after school detention revolution in the 1980s with the his patented smarts crackery. Brandon is committed to bringing the best smartass experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through his innovative hardware, software and internal offerings.

Press Contacts:
Barbara Cotton
(555) 974-6209
info@brandon.com
Brandon, the Brandon logo, Brand, and Don are either registered trademarks or trademarks of his parents. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:54 AM on July 11 [17 favorites]


The selfie I took of President Obama will look great on the autobiography I'm writing of Mick Jagger.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:56 AM on July 11 [12 favorites]


If I was doing online dating, I'd either rope in a talented friend or pay a pro to take casual-but-good-looking photos, since almost all the snapshots of me look terrible. So this makes sense to me in a general way, even if some of the described photos aren't my thing.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:56 AM on July 11


For a birthday a few years ago, I booked a photo shoot for me and a bunch of friends. We had our hair and makeup done, got slightly plastered on champagne, ate cake and had pictures taken by a professional photographer.

Maybe it was totally pretentious, but it didn't feel that way at the time -- we had a really fun evening and now we all have pretty pictures for our various online profiles.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:56 AM on July 11 [12 favorites]


I'm going to return to basics and have my portrait painted by a 16th century Flemmish painter, me and fellow burghers will live forever in colorful oils!
posted by The Whelk at 12:02 PM on July 11 [23 favorites]


So, uh, people are getting pictures made of themselves? And this is a hot new trend?
posted by echo target at 12:02 PM on July 11 [7 favorites]


This totally makes sense, although slightly overblown by the article. I mean, I don't really appear clearly in many photos, and my Facebook profile picture is from 2010, and if I had to keep a more public profile, none of the photos that exist of me would really cut it.
posted by General Malaise at 12:03 PM on July 11


Jacquilynne, that looks super fun! I don't think your party was pretentious, per se, but some of the LinkedIn photos I've seen are. One of my connections is doing duck-face. (I wish I could link to some of them but obviously can't because that'd be mean.)
posted by sfkiddo at 12:03 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I'm going to return to basics and have my portrait painted by a 16th century Flemmish painter, me and fellow burghers will live forever in colorful oils!

PLEASE MAKE THIS A TREND

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:05 PM on July 11 [10 favorites]


I like to think that my "personal brand" is a small boutique brand that doesn't need to rely on heavy marketing or splashy photography. I am happy to stay with a small, sustainable market of loyal customers, rather than sacrificing authenticity or quality in the attempt to grow my business.

(Translation: my Facebook pic has me in a bathrobe holding my cat, my Twitter profile isn't connected to my real name, and fuck LinkedIn.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:05 PM on July 11 [5 favorites]


selfies of me angrily grimacing at the phrase "personal brand" will be the next big thing mark my words

Hey look, if Corporations are people, then that means People are Corporations and so now we need Marketing and HR and IT support and....
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:07 PM on July 11 [5 favorites]


Eh, the image I've used everywhere online for the last 15 years or so is a self portrait taken at a gallery opening with a Lomo LC-A using expired slide film.

I seriously doubt any of these fancy modern children can beat that in terms of raw unadulterated twuntery.
posted by jack_mo at 12:08 PM on July 11 [4 favorites]


Guys. The sooner that we all ignore the NYT style section, the sooner that it will go away.
posted by schmod at 12:12 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


I just have no interest in having my actual photo on anything representing my personal or professional life online, ever at any time, and it is always really fascinating and incomprehensible to me that others urgently want the exact opposite for themselves.

yes i realize that i am the weirdo outlier in this scenario, idgaf
posted by elizardbits at 12:14 PM on July 11 [13 favorites]


It must be mostly personal preference, but almost all of the "before" photos looked much better to me than the professional portraitelfies.
posted by snorkmaiden at 12:14 PM on July 11


It must be mostly personal preference, but almost all of the "before" photos looked much better to me than the professional portraitelfies.

More like the "after" shots are carefully cultivated images designed to appeal to certain segments of the population or an industry. Whether that's good or bad is a matter of debate for the individual.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:17 PM on July 11


NYT Style Section

Five people do something and they call it a trend.

It makes sense to me to have pictures done for professional reasons, but I don't get the point in having something over the top for your personal facebook page.
posted by supermassive at 12:18 PM on July 11


Hey! I have a question.

I remember a time when people put their photos on their resumes, and then were admonished to remove them, lest it help prospective employers to illegally discriminate.

But now LinkedIn is a thing, the go-to way to network and get your foot in the door, and you're supposed to advertise your race/sex/age at the get-go?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:18 PM on July 11 [18 favorites]


I hate the "personal brand" meme too, but to me this is just like picking out nice clothes to go to the office or to a party. Profile pictures are a serious way to represent yourself to a social group maybe an existing one, maybe an aspirational one. And being part of your social group is what its all about.
posted by shothotbot at 12:19 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


then that means People are Corporations and so now we need Marketing and HR and IT support and....

If you work in freelance art/writings self employment than yes, this is very literally true.
posted by The Whelk at 12:19 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


(I'm turning 30 soon and might look around for this cause I a) need new press photos and B) want proof that I am exceeding more attractive now than I was at 25.)
posted by The Whelk at 12:20 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Sometimes a good photograph is worth paying for. The social media environment is currently at total saturation of candid smartphone snaps. I'm sure there are people at Facebook who are paid to constantly run A/B testing to ensure the firehose of friend's selfies is sipped on our feeds at the optimum rate to maximize eyeball retention. They are now the background noise of our lives, and if you want something to stand out, it has to be different.

I'm going to return to basics and have my portrait painted by a 16th century Flemmish painter, me and fellow burghers will live forever in colorful oils!

The next step, of course, is to go all the way back to something that produces a unique artifact. But who can afford a Vermeer or Rembrandt these days? There is a guy who does the art fair and farmer's market circuit in Toronto who does tintypes and he cleans up. I suspect it's only partly the old-timey fetish. Most of the appeal lies in it being a one-of-a-kind thing. A dull silver-on-black positive image on a lacquered metal plate.

Still, if price was no object, I'd rather have Vermeer paint my portrait.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:22 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


no way, you have to go full dali, i wanna be an elephant with spider legs
posted by elizardbits at 12:24 PM on July 11 [5 favorites]


Or Mae West, your face is a room.
posted by The Whelk at 12:26 PM on July 11


I don't have much to add except that, although I wouldn't necessarily push people who cultivate a "personal brand" into a fire, I also wouldn't necessarily intervene to help them out of one.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 12:31 PM on July 11


There is a guy who does the art fair and farmer's market circuit in Toronto who does tintypes and he cleans up.

I've seen those at the Junction Flea, and while I would give my eye teeth for one of those, I would apparently not give $40, which is how much they actually cost. I am super, super tempted, though.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:31 PM on July 11


I'm going to return to basics and have my portrait painted by a 16th century Flemmish painter, me and fellow burghers will live forever in colorful oils!


The problem with that is when your portraitist gets sick of the commute from Haarlem, and then you're stuck with a half-finished painting, and a bunch of halberds, lace collars, and fancy hats.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:32 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


I satisfy that craving by Photoshopping my face onto scans of old cartes de visite.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:33 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Also, I will have my portrait captured in mosaic form, and installed in the basilica.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:36 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


My business card has a QR code that contains the necessary data to 3D print a portrait bust of me. Get on my level
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:36 PM on July 11 [27 favorites]


Metafilter: raw unadulterated twuntery.
posted by sfkiddo at 12:49 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I want one of those roman portrait busts where they just stick the current emperor's head onto an idealized body regardless if it makes any damn sense at all.
posted by The Whelk at 12:51 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


For maximum authenticity there has to be a cast from life sculpted cock attached to the plinth though.
posted by elizardbits at 12:52 PM on July 11


But now LinkedIn is a thing, the go-to way to network and get your foot in the door, and you're supposed to advertise your race/sex/age at the get-go?

This is what always baffles me about having the photo there.

Who are these people who have to see folk. I just imagine what everyone looks like in my head and it works very well. True, there are people who in my head are actually giant animatronic cats and glam rock toasters and pedigreed livestock from alien stars, but that is better than just regular old people.
posted by winna at 12:52 PM on July 11 [5 favorites]


It used to be you would never include (or solicit) a photo with a resume to avoid the appearance of any kind of *-ism. These days I'm pretty far removed from this type of corporate work world, but I'm always struck by how this doesn't seem to be an issue anymore.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:53 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


But they're not selfies at all, right? They're just portraits.

Sadly, people now regularly use "selfie" to mean both "A picture of myself I took myself", AND "a picture of myself someone else took" AND "a picture of myself and some other people I may or may not have taken myself".

Look, internet, we already had a word for that and now you're using the dumb word you made up to fill a need that the old word wasn't covering to both replace the old word AND invalidate the usefulness of the new dumb one?

I know, I know, descriptivism, etc. etc, but also COME ON.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:55 PM on July 11 [9 favorites]


A selfie is a photo taken by someone who is both holding the camera and present in the photo. It is okay to refer to a photo in which you are present and was taken by someone else who is both holding the camera and present in the photo as a selfie as long as you refer to it as that person's selfie.

i have spoken
posted by elizardbits at 12:59 PM on July 11 [8 favorites]


Actually, wait I know an awful lot of illustrators and artists I bet I could commission a portrait in Not Oils for under 1k if I wanted someone reasonably famous between jobs ....
posted by The Whelk at 12:59 PM on July 11


I mean, if I wanted to copy a specific style like Northern Renassiance ....
posted by The Whelk at 1:00 PM on July 11


Wait no I've decided I want one of those Bronzino's where everyone is ten feet tall with swan necks and shiny metallic skin
posted by The Whelk at 1:01 PM on July 11


I want one of those roman portrait busts where they just stick the current emperor's head onto an idealized body regardless if it makes any damn sense at all.

They really are the best. Though really, you got to make sure your artists know what's up: my favorite "portraits" are the alien goiter series of Nero.
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:02 PM on July 11


My girlfriend does HR for a club downtown, and she showed me this resume she received for a bartender job. It was done up like a show poster, white text on a dark background, full colour with logos plastered all over it. It had three different headshots of the guy, and proudly featured his reality TV appearances, including a short stint on The Canadian Bachelorette and his single appearance on Keys to the VIP, a Can-Con reality show that every week had two PUAs compete to pick up the most women in some sleazy club while hidden cameras recorded the action and a bunch of greasy assholes provided play-by-play and judged the performance.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:06 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


I'm not going to lie, I signed up for and did one of those ridiculous mud/obstacle races at least in part because I figured I'd get a good Facebook profile picture out of it. (And I did.) So I guess that's the "method acting" approach to getting a profile photo.

Could have saved a lot of time if I'd just let someone beat me with a large stick and throw mud on me, and then take a photo from 15 feet away with a DSLR and a good lens.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:11 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


i hate the future
posted by elizardbits at 1:12 PM on July 11 [12 favorites]


Those examples are over the top, but I've been contemplating something similar.

My employer has been pressuring us to add photos to our Microsoft SharePoint/Outlook profiles to "help employees put a name with a face". The picture guidelines state it must be a "business or business casual" headshot, of you alone, with nothing blocking your face.

I'm a champion blinker and weird face-maker, so I have just been ignoring this and hoping it would go the way of most management fads. Then came the announcement that everyone in the company is having new photos taken for security badges. I suspect folks who didn't provide their own photo on Sharepoint will have one of those unflattering DMV-style beauties applied to their profile whether they like it or not, so it is probably time to get with the program if I want to control my image.
posted by superna at 1:24 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


In the grim darkness of the future, every shitty job will make you brand and market yourself like a goddamn Realtor™
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:32 PM on July 11 [9 favorites]


This makes me feel vaguely guilty that I never did get the complete photo sets to two MeFite friends who used me for headshots. While they seemed happy enough with them, I fell into photo editing hell and never completed the sets with all of the retouching and balancing that I think the shots need. That, and the best shots were on film and that takes extra effort. Really, though, they were a lot of fun to take. I've had coworkers ask me about doing other headshots (since I do most of the photography at work for staff headshots and photo illustrations), but the only way I can shoot at a price that's affordable for people is to really like them and have people know what my photography tends to look like upfront. I can shoot in a more generic style, but editing from that tends toward the, "Ugh, your fucking face," after a little bit and people don't always want to look weird or casual or morbid, which are way more fun to shoot.

I do hope that this "trend" sort of expands — A good portrait is orders of magnitude better than most selfies, and I like the idea of democratizing portraiture, so I hope that expanding demand helps move prices down and helps keep pro photographers in business.

This also reminds me that I need to get a new headshot for my bio on the website, since it's a particularly bad one taken after a long day of outdoor work, and I'm all greasy and unkempt.
posted by klangklangston at 1:34 PM on July 11


My company did a "spruce up your LinkedIn" thing that included having employees who do photography take portraits of us for our profiles. I honestly think I liked the awkwardly cropped candid I used to use better. Maybe I just need to find a better semi-pro photographer willing to do me a headshot for free.

As far as the black and white thing, someone did a study and found that black and white photos cause viewers to rate the photo as having more status or something. Maybe a lot of other people saw that article, too.
posted by Karmakaze at 1:50 PM on July 11


I wonder if anyone would be impressed with a picture of me angrily writing SQL code.

No. A shot of you happily writing SQL code, though...
posted by Thorzdad at 1:55 PM on July 11


I don't use my social networks as part of my job search (well, LinkedIn, but it has no photos, and has yet to result in even the hint of a job lead) so I'm going to stick to angry cartoon women and pictures of people wearing those creepy horsehead masks as my avatars for now.

My personal brand has always been "Hey! I'm not incompetent like the last three fools you hired, so bring me in and I'll straighten out this mess!" It's worked pretty well.
posted by emjaybee at 1:56 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


My personal brand has always been "Hey! I'm not incompetent like the last three fools you hired, so bring me in and I'll straighten out this mess!" It's worked pretty well.

Surely a professional photo of yourself on salt flats doing tai chi in wizard robes would convey this better
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:00 PM on July 11 [14 favorites]


really though where is the lie
posted by elizardbits at 2:02 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


These do remind me of those high-school grad photos. I have one somewhere of me jauntily posed with one foot resting on a giant white 89 (my grad year), elbow propped on my knee and chin on my fist. I had bigger hair and more makeup on in that photo than ever since, including my wedding. It seems to say, behold! I have conquered 1989. Bring on THE FUTURE and I will battle it in my giant shoulderpads and rhinestone earrings.
posted by emjaybee at 2:14 PM on July 11 [6 favorites]


I just can't picture spending $1,000-$3,500 for this. Note: I am not saying that these photographers, or any photographers, are overpaid.
posted by trillian at 2:17 PM on July 11


YOU SEE that is the photo you should be using professionally, yes yes yes.
posted by elizardbits at 2:18 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I love the term "personal brand".

There really can be no finer goal than to be a publicly identifiable herd of one owned by yourself.
posted by srboisvert at 2:21 PM on July 11 [4 favorites]


Presumably the folks wearing normcore also use bad selfies (or bad 6th grade class pictures).
posted by bad grammar at 2:23 PM on July 11


My company did a "spruce up your LinkedIn" thing

I find this ironic because I can nearly always tell when someone is going to quit in the next three months because suddenly they feel the need to put a nice photo on their LinkedIn and ask everyone they've ever met to "endorse" that they're a 3rd Level Polkadot-Belt Grand Wizard in Excel Data Wrangling.

I hope that's not like your company telling everyone that they should really freshen up their resume, just, you know, in case.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:49 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


I will sheepishly admit here that a few months ago, I had a portrait session at a department store -- I even asked for help from the Hive Mind. Certainly not anything that rises to the level described in the Times article, but clearly more effort than the selfies or pictures taken with cell phone cameras that I had previously been using.

I currently have pictures from that session as my LinkedIn profile pic, my pic on the Board of Directors webpage of a nonprofit I'm involved with (as well as published in the org's newsletter), on Facebook, Twitter and, yes, on my organization's Sharepoint site/Lync.

Now, I used a Groupon and a mall photographer so it's an order of magnitude less than the "action shots" being discussed, but I totally get some of the concerns mentioned. The previous version of my Board photo was (literally) a selfie. It was ok, but certainly not as professional an image as I wanted to convey in that context.

I originally felt a touch guilty and shallow for spending the money and time to get it all done, but in retrospect, it was well worth it.
posted by QuantumMeruit at 2:53 PM on July 11


The gallery of one of the photographers mentioned in the NYT article is pretty cool, though. Lots of different women -- not all 30ish Facebook waif wannabes.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 2:58 PM on July 11


Speaking of Facebook portraits, check out this woman's style.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 3:01 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


jacquilynne, I love that you guys did it as a party. also your shoes kick ass.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:23 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


This is not weird or crazy at all. The photos in the article are over-the-top, but I bet they're meant to be. Frankly, paying someone a couple of bucks (or shoulder-tapping a photographer friend) for a few photos is not at all crazy when you realize that a substantial part of your professional and personal life is going to involve first impressions based on online photos.

I know I do it.
posted by 256 at 4:14 PM on July 11


Oh, and there's another thing about the hyper-stylized pro photos. It's obvious at a glance that they're not casual snaps, so it gives the impression that maybe you're like a part-time model or something.
posted by 256 at 4:17 PM on July 11


I would rather see someone's professional headshot be a photoshop of them being bit by Luis Suarez tbh
posted by elizardbits at 5:44 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


I usually just use my passport or driver's license pics, because I can only stop grimacing or blinking with the man's foot on my neck. A photographer friend tried to help me out for LinkedIn when I was hardcore job hunting, but only the last few of 300 sort of turned out, mostly because I was too tired to resist (but not tired enough to avoid looking like I was in gastric distress).
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:31 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I really, really need this. I'm hilariously un-photogenic so I tend to just use small blurry photos or silly pictures on social media. Also I wear glasses which for some reason ALWAYS show reflections in photos. A pro or even a talented amateur would be great thanks.
posted by miyabo at 6:37 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: Fuck LinkedIn
posted by wabbittwax at 7:06 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Oh goodness I didn't know this was a new thing. Even here in the backwater Midwest several of my photographer friends have been offering social media photos as a service for over five years.
I don't think it's silly or vain, just a good way to get a good clear shot of yourself.
posted by littlewater at 10:09 PM on July 11


But now LinkedIn is a thing, the go-to way to network and get your foot in the door, and you're supposed to advertise your race/sex/age at the get-go?

But there's no discrimination in tech culture! No sirree!
posted by dhartung at 10:23 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Occasionally I've presented at conferences or published something in the media where they've wanted a photo of me, and I have absolutely no good photos of myself, so I can see the benefit in paying for a professionally done all-purpose portrait. I wouldn't get anything too wacky, but I can see why people do.

And like brain surgery or defusing explosives, photography is one of those things where there is a real benefit from paying someone who knows what they're doing.

Many years ago when our previous dog was a puppy mrs damonism got a series of professional studio shots of him (the photographer took them for her portfolio). I use one of these shots on most of my social media profiles, so I guess my personal brand is a whimsical black labrador, which is probably a lot more appealing than my personal reality!
posted by damonism at 2:51 AM on July 12


I just have no interest in having my actual photo on anything representing my personal or professional life online, ever at any time, and it is always really fascinating and incomprehensible to me that others urgently want the exact opposite for themselves.

Seconded. I hate branding. And yeah, why are we giving people the opportunity to discriminate against us before they even see our resume again?
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:59 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


and it is always really fascinating and incomprehensible to me that others urgently want the exact opposite for themselves.

I don't think it's incomprehensible. They think they'll benefit by discrimination based on characteristics that are visible in a photo, that's all.

It's one of the reasons I always raise my eyebrows when people tell me how Europe has moved beyond racism when it's still de rigueur on the Continent to put a photo on one's resume/CV. No doubt that photo is being used to determine some really important bona fide occupational qualification.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:41 PM on July 12 [3 favorites]


Also, for those of us who are terrible at figuring out what kind of picture to use but have to have one anyway, photofeeler.com will have people vote on your photo in a semi-scientific way. (I don't like being judged by my appearance, but if it's going to happen, might as well make the most of it.)
posted by miyabo at 10:14 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


I've considered paying a photographer to take some work-suitable photos of me because, as others have mentioned, the only other photos I have of myself are weird-context/bad-background smartphone selfies taken at arm's length.

And I'm willing to pay because the times I've tried asking the spouse or a friend to do it, they keep pressing me for a big toothy grin — "Smile! C'mon, smile! You look so serious!" — and I have to fight the urge to snarl THESE PHOTOS ARE FOR WORK DAMMIT CAN WE PLEASE GET A COUPLE THAT SEND THE MESSAGE "CAPABLE, COMPETENT, LEVEL-HEADED" BEFORE TRYING FOR "BUBBLY, CHEERFUL, PERKY" FFS???? Argh.
posted by Lexica at 6:35 PM on July 17


The secret there is for the photograph to either wait patiently until the subject is over their anxiety about having the picture taken and can relax into a natural look, or to just keep taking pictures so that the subject will eventually relax into a natural look.
posted by klangklangston at 6:54 PM on July 17


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