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.

Vanity v. Value


Do you evaluate your portrait pics Through a vanity or value lens?



During my time as a branded, lifestyle photographer...

I have received some interesting requests and witnessed some really interesting reactions from my clients as we’ve reviewed their portrait pics image-by-image.

What I really mean by “interesting” is that these clients go absolutely buckwild and rip their appearance to shreds:

Ugh, I look fat there...NOPE, this photo sucks...DELETE, DELETE, face looks GIGANTIC, get rid of it...NOPE, huge forehead here, goodbye! hands look too old and wrinkly, eyes look completely closed, I can’t!...Jeees, I hate when I smile, get rid of all of those...NO, my arm fat looks HIDEOUS...NO, NO, NO…

Rather than observe the image as a whole, they zoom their attention in and become totally fixated on these issues, which, in most cases, are indiscernible to anyone that is not them.

The next thing you know, they want to go to town and DELETE, DELETE, DELETE everything in their path.

It’s usually at this point where I stop the image review session and have a heart-to-heart with them.

First, I assure them that the last thing I want to do is force them to accept overtly unflattering images for their high-volume, image libraries.  

As someone who understands deeply what it means to fixate and become distracted with issues with appearance, I get exactly where they are coming from.

But, by the same token, your face is your face, your body is your body, and you look the way you look.  Rather than feel this obsessive need to hide, obscure or eliminate, I motivate them to own their appearance in the same way that they own their expertise.

Why is this so important?

Because these portrait pics, ultimately, are not meant to solely satisfy their tastes - they have a much larger purpose.

They visually punctuate the stories about their businesses, brands, and lives that will be shared with those who need to hear these messages the most - their tribes.

So, what I suggest to my clients is that rather than go the slash-and-burn route at the faintest sight of an appearance issue, I guide them to be more diplomatic with their decision-making.

I act as the voice of reason and help them navigate the tricky, balancing act of negotiating their vanity issues versus the overall value of their portrait pics.

As they voice their displeasure with whatever is troubling them with each branded portrait, I offer them a clear and unbiased opinion - and that opinion is based on whether or not their concern is something that will ever be noticed by anyone other than them.If it’s an obviously distracting element, then yes, we delete the image.

If it’s not, that’s when I remind them of the particular value of this image, and not only how they can leverage these portrait pics in their social content, but also, how valuable the message attached to this particular portrait will be received by their followers.

It’s a tightrope act, it’s never a cut and dry scenario, but, at the end of the day, this negotiating between vanity and value is an important process to undertake.

It reminds us that we are all human and we all have hang-ups about our appearance to overcome.

Despite these issues, however, the thought leadership and messaging connected to these portrait pics will serve a greater purpose than simply to just make them look good - it will help people be better than they were yesterday.

Not a bad reason to look past some vanity issues, if you ask me, :)

How about you...

Have you experienced what I talked about here during your past portrait sessions? Has it stopped you from updating your portrait pics?

Set up a time to chat with me here and let’s see what we can do about that.