A friend of mine remarked recently that there are no photos of me on my company’s website or social media pages, and she thought it odd, considering my occupation as a photographer. I joked that the whole reason I became a photographer was to avoid having my picture taken. This was obviously in the years before “selfies” became ubiquitous.
When the studio I worked for built their first website, we were told that we’d need to include portraits on the “About Us” page. My boss was even more camera shy and reluctant than I was to have his photo taken, so we opted to use photos of ourselves as children. I scanned the images and Photoshopped our first cameras into each of the scenes. We almost got away with it. The web developer told us that was nice, but our current and potential clients would want to put a face with our names when considering us for potential work. We knew he was right, and decided that the only way it would happen was if we each took the other’s photograph. It was a painful process for both of us, but we eventually got it done. My boss retired years ago and closed the studio, and when I built the first website for my studio, I was faced again with the prospect of including a picture on the “About Us” page. Once again I was told that current and potential clients want to see who they’re talking to, and once again, I resisted. Since I’m the “boss”, I won.
It’s been a few years and website versions since then, and many things have changed. Our world has become increasingly more visual with the advent of social media platforms and instant messaging. At any given moment, we are bombarded with imagery from around the globe. It’s incredibly easy to create photographic content and broadcast it instantaneously, and we have come to expect frequent updates from family, friends, clients, and co-workers. The pace is crazy and ever-changing. Digital photography has also changed the way I work as a commercial photographer. Many of my clients ship their products to me, and all of our transactions are electronic. I have several clients whom I have never met in person, and many potential clients who find me through referrals and my online presence have no idea what I look like. I realize the importance of connecting with my current and future clients, and understand the need to put a face behind my company, but I’m still camera shy. It’s way more important to me that the stuff in front of the camera looks great, regardless of what things look like behind it. Even though I’ve remained relatively anonymous in the digital world, I have not totally avoided being photographed. My clients all have social media accounts and, if we happen to be together, have been known to tweet about a shoot we’re doing, or post an image on Instagram of the set we’re working on. I’ve collected some of them and am including them here as proof that I exist in the digital realm. I’m hoping that they will satisfy the “About Us” photo requirement , and give current and future clients a glimpse into the world of this elusive photographer.