John DeMato - NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photographer

NYC Branded Lifestyle Photographer - Blog

NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photography Blog | Hi, I'm John DeMato, and I collaborate with thought leaders to create powerful, purposeful and authentic images. This is my blog where I talk all about the magic behind the portraits we create.

Here's one type of photographer you need to avoid...


It's not you — it's the headshot photographer's fault!

Recently, I was at a conference where I was requested to critique various attendee’s headshots.

The first woman who sought my opinion was clearly not ready for my answer.

Before she could even finish her request, I quickly peeked at her headshot and said rather matter-of-factly, “That’s a fake smile - you can tell because your eyes aren’t into it.”

She sighed loud enough for the other end of the room to hear her!

Then, she added, “Well, it was the headshot photographer’s fault, because he didn’t make me comfortable - he rushed me, and asked me to ‘smile.’”

Without skipping a beat, I responded, “You’re right, it’s absolutely the headshot photographer’s fault!”

I then proceeded to explain my position, to which this young lady nodded in agreement.

I explained that it’s not her job to know what to do in front of a camera.

Her job, as a thought leader, your job is to inform and inspire her tribe into action and compel them to get from where they are to where they want to be in their lives.


It’s the headshot photographer’s job to inspire you to present her powerfully and confidently in her portraits in order to attract those followers who need her help the most.

Long story short, if your photographer asks you to “smile,” you shouldn’t be working with that person.

Rather, you need someone behind the camera that connects with you in a way that makes you comfortable enough to let your guard down, and you are out of your head and living in the moment.

If you are in that place, you will really smile for the camera.

And those are the types of photos that you need for your brand to truly shine, :)

Have you had a headshot photographer ask you to “smile” during your portrait session?

Now, be honest - did the photo of you fake smiling look genuine? Or, did you pull it off?

Please share your experiences in the comment section below.

PS - Speaking of headshots, are you looking to update yours? 
Schedule a call with me here and let’s see if we’re a good fit to work together.