Inside Out Blog

Mandy Harvey: Showing Impossible Is Nothing!

Mandy Harvey: Showing Impossible Is Nothing!

So yet again Monday rolls around. The weather could be better on the back of hurricane Gerty, Dublin has a new traffic system causing chaos on the quays and it is very easy to get caught up in the misery and wish you had just stayed in bed. 

We all have those days. The days where you don't feel you can be an adult human for the day. Days where it is just too dull both outside and on the inside. If ever we needed inspiration to carry on and find a way, Mandy's story is that inspiration. 

Mandy a young singer lost her hearing at the age of only 18. Losing her love of music and her joy. 

In an age where we can quite literally overcome almost anything Mandy learned to use technology and her other senses to compensate for her hearing loss. To regain her voice and learn to sing without ever hearing a sound. 

So it's Monday and Grey. The weather is poor and you have mountains to climb for the week. Remember the view from the end point is worth it and by Friday you will have achieved so much that you probably won't give yourself credit for. 

How you walk in the skin you wear is your decision. Why not embrace it? What other choice do you have?

Summer Ending Sale

Summer Ending Sale

To Finish off the Summer in style. We are having an end of summer headshot Sale. 

While the Tan is still topped up and before the Autumn comes in. We are having a Headshot Session Sale on all Individual Packs. 

Headshot One Pack: 
A One Hour, One Look Session designed to bring the best in you for any marketing purpose. Be it Linkedin, Company Website or even your online dating profile. 

Headshot Two Pack:
A Ninety Minute, Three to Four Look Session designed to give you a variety of looks that communicate best who, and how you are. This session is the most common session for anyone marketing themselves in a business capacity as it gives a range of final images for public speaking, news articles, website and social profiles. 

Headshot Three, The Portfolio Pack:
A Three Hour, Six to Nine Look Session designed to primarily for Actors and anyone with a need for many different looks and range of images. This session brings in more of the coaching element with focus on mood, expression and projection. 

For Details or to book your session get in touch here.

Success is the Journey. Not The End Result.

Success is the Journey. Not The End Result.

Talking with a client today it struck me. We all have this preconceived notion of what success looks like. Sold the idea success is somewhat of an end product or goal. Somewhere to rest on our laurels after the hard work is finished. 
There are many who only see the end without seeing the hard labour and suffering of the trip there. 
Being successful means being successful as a person. As a mother or father, facing failures and set backs and carrying on regardless only to arrive at the end goal. 

How you walk in the skin you wear is your decision. Why not embrace it?
What other choice do you have?

Do You Exercise With Your Staff? Why you should have a Corporate Wellness Plan

Do You Exercise With Your Staff?
Why you should have a Corporate Wellness Plan

Gone are the days of companies offering staff free healthcare, dentists and paying to open parks in the community. The money, and time just aren't there. We are busier than ever, both in our professional lives and even more so with our home lives. Dealing with kids, pets, relatives and that's just when things are going well. Factor in an illness or injury and everything is thrown out of sync. 

Finding a Work/Life balance can be difficult. Considering for example an average person commutes over two hours per day to and from work, is on site for work eight hours per day and engaged in other work related or stress activities for two hours. We spend a disproportionate amount of time worrying about, preparing for and at work. 

Take Mary: Mary is a married working mother of two kids. She wakes at 5:45am every morning, in North Dublin city. Spending the next hour readying herself for her corporate banking job before the kids wake, the next 45 minutes arguing with them over breakfast, uniforms and homework before saying good bye at 7:30am to commute to work. 

Now Mary, squashed onto the bus is in the "Grey Mass" as she joins the ranks of thousands of nameless suits isolated within crowds with no eye contact or conversation travelling in droves to the city centre for work. Each with their own hurried, head down shuffle. Already answering emails, checking Facebook and reading about the bad news others around the world have had since she last checked her social media before bed. 

Great start to the day? Sound Familiar?
Now she is to work for the eight next hours, before doing it all in reverse finally ending in her finally sitting down after cooking dinner and some house work at maybe 7pm almost 13 hours after she started. 

Where is the time for health and wellness in this and what can her employers do to help her and her colleagues while in turn helping themselves?

Corporate Wellness Programmes are designed to bring some sense of equilibrium to this Work/Life balance.  

So you have for the most part Three main components. Fitness, Nutrition and Mindset

We have all done the manual handling course companies mandate we do. Red tape to cover the company incase of work place injury. Lift a box, put the box down. Walk with a trolly or move a chair. Sit ergonomically at your desk. Okay, it has it's uses, but for the most part it is crap and here is why. 

If you are a 40 year old man, who sits at a desk for 8 hours plus a day and the only form of exercise you undertake is running for the bus. You just don't have the flexibility or mobility to get down to the floor in order to lift the box. We are running before we walk and it is wrong, all just to cover the companies ass in the case of an accident. 

By implementing a corporate wellness programme on the other hand, you go the other way. You encourage a healthy lifestyle to better educate and equip the staff to perform at their peak in order to prevent injury rather than just cover for when it happens. So here are the benefits.


Fitness & Nutrition:

  • Increased physical fitness and a better diet means more stamina. Staff can sustain higher standards for longer without peaks and dips in performance and mood. 
  • Less mood swings mean morale in the office is better as are interactions with customers.
  • Less work related injury. Staff are fit for the job and less likely to be hurt doing it.
  • Less short term or uncertified sick days. Fit, healthy people are less likely to become ill or injured. Elevated mood means less social depression and the It's cold and wet out, I can't be arsed going to work syndrome.
  • Less long term or certified sick leave. 

    One US Company, Coors Brewery reported an 18% reduction in Absenteeism after implimenting a corporate wellness programme. 
  • Happy and healthy employees have a higher work volume than Unhappy, Unhealthy staff members. 
  • Staff retention is higher, meaning less valuable time and cost wasted on recruitment and training.
  • Team work and Community. By staff working together for a fun reason, we precondition the brain to associate the other people with fun and positive feelings. 



  • Increased Esteem. Increased Self Esteem in staff members lead to many benefits including less time focused or recovering from negatives. Increased interaction and engagement, less sick leave and absenteeism and less fear of failure or preconditioned negative attitudes. 
  • Increased self awareness. Emotional intelligence is one of the biggest things lacking in society today. If you had a broken arm, you would check it. Your mental and emotional health is just as, if not more important. Increased awareness means staff are more likely to take care of their mental health resulting in better overall health. 
  • Increased Self Acceptance and sense of Social Entitlement. Again supporting staff and helping them understand, who they are is good enough. Encouraging them to learn more about who they are as opposed to what they believe the world expects. Leading to less negative mindsets, more self belief and increased acceptance of challenges and responsibilities. 

Each and every one of these benefits, not only bring back some sense of normality to the lives of staff, giving them more control and appreciation for what they do have, it also means increased revenue for the company. Returns in increased work rates, less smoke breaks, higher workload turnover with less stress. Less spent on absenteeism and recruitment. Higher rates of customer satisfaction and better interactions with happier staff which means more returning business which in turn means business growth and more jobs. 

No matter how big or small your team is. Everyone benefits. What are you waiting for?


How you walk in the skin you wear is your decision. Why not embrace it? What other choice do you have?

For more information on Corporate Wellness Projects. See

Success, It's harder than it looks

Success, It's harder than it looks

                  Karl Bowe Aug 2016                                                                          Karl Bowe Aug 2017

I suppose this kind of touches on my previous post. "Free is for me. Exposure Vs. Paying Bills" in that we place as a society very little value on non conventional jobs. Anything outside of the 9-5 slot. Creatives, Models and Actors being undervalued or their years of building their business and learning their craft dismissed or even just forgotten about. 

In late 2013 while shooting a piece for the Sunday World Magazine. I got to meet Karl Bowe for the first time. A model and full time private security guard/ Body Guard who wanted to break into the acting and TV game. 

Jacamo Feature, Sunday World Magazine. Christmas 2013

Jacamo Feature, Sunday World Magazine. Christmas 2013

An unassuming yet hard working model. Karl had a vision of where he wanted to be and was willing to work at it. Taking direction and trying to learn where he could. 

Jump on almost Four years later to where Karl is now and his list of achievements, Winning Mr. Ireland and competing for Mr. World. Acting on stage and screen in hit shows like Redrock, Mamma Mia, Pantos in the Gaiety Theatre and even featuring, almost breaking twitter on Take Me Out UK.

Not bad for a boy from Crumlin who was bullied for being overweight. 

Success doesn't come from sitting on your backside. Dreaming. It comes from having a goal, taking knocks and rejection and carrying on regardless. 

Well done Karl. Onwards and upwards. 

Today. Which You, Are You?

Today. Which You, Are You?

As with most mornings, today you at some stage probably stood, facing yourself in the mirror. Looking for some reassurance you are still young, not going grey or haven't put on weight. Rushing to get yourself ready for the day ahead with only enough time to critique what you see in the mirror. 

Standing facing all that you are and only seeing the bad. Self correcting, squeezing your eyes, correcting your posture or even just psyching yourself up. Telling yourself "I can do it". 

Like so many others fighting or denying the negative thoughts. Shaking them off in the moment yet carrying them around with you all day. In the back of your mind or just in the weight you carry on your shoulders. 

Maybe this morning it was different. Maybe you took the time in the mirror to remember the things you can be thankful for, the successes in your life and the little wins that make up each day. 

Clint Eastwood once said "Kill a man, kill every opportunity he ever had." 
What if you don't need to kill someone to kill their opportunities. What if, just in the way we walk, and the way we talk or how we hold ourselves physically because of our sense of place in society was killing our own opportunities. Self condemnation rather than self belief. 

Remember no matter how difficult today may seem. You decide how you are going to feel about it. You, and only you are in control.

How you walk in the skin you wear is your decision. Why not embrace it? What other choice do you have?

Own Your Face. Robert Hoge

Own Your Face | Robert Hoge | TEDex Talk

Today while doing some some research for another talk, I came across Robert Hoge's story. Robert was born with a large tumour on his face that altered his prenatal development. His story takes us through his mothers struggle to accept him, the decisions on treatment and his own journey through childhood, bullying and learning to own his appearance. 

I work with clients almost every day who have some struggle with their own image. Swimming up stream against articles about celeb transformations and makeup advertisements. 

Robert shares his story here. 

How you walk in the skin you wear is your decision. Why not embrace it? What other choice do you have?

Self Segregation: Fueling Hate with Words

Self Segregation: Fueling Hate with Words

Are you sexist, ageist or racist? No? Think again, you probably are. 

Over the past few days, my Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin feed has featured this story quite a lot. The title Plus Sized Model Trolled showing up over and over, with people commenting about body confidence and beauty in every form. 

As is the way with these things, the come on a loop. This story from September 2016, coming around yet again. The issue here, nothing other than the use of the term "Plus Sized". 

It is not just weight related either, we use terms segregating ourselves and others all the time. Then get upset when people use them back, or reference them to identify us. 

In an age where we quite literally have the world at our fingertips, where we are better educated than ever before. It is crazy to think we are going backwards in terms of segregation. Fuelled by the insistence of media to place labels on everything in order to catch the attention of readers. 

Headlines like "Muslim man attacks" "Plus sized model trolled" "Black teenager arrested" and "gay man assaulted" are rife. "Female President" and "Lady CEO" all too common. What are we actually doing by opening ourselves up to these terms. 

Opening ourselves up to scaremongering and hate by assigning terms like this to groups of people. There is no terms like White Model, Male President or Male CEO. It shouldn't matter what religion somebody is or their sexual preference when they are the victim of, or perpetrate a crime. The race, sex or sexuality did not cause the action. Some idiot did. 

While I do appreciate the difficulties in the past with the race movement in America andwith opening up marriage to gay people, where people actively had to take a stand to be recognised and be given their rights there needs to be another change. 

We need to stop self segregating. Stop using terms referencing difference. Stop Identifying people as black when you don't reference others as white, stop calling people gay when you don't call others straight, stop calling women plus sized models when others are just models. 

We are all just people. Every colour, creed, shape and religion. People. 

We tell children all the time, it's what's on the inside that counts. Then we go and make statements about what is on the outside. 

Successful people like Oprah Winfrey, and Kelly Rowland making bold statements and re-enforcing terms like "Strong Black Woman" and "Successful Black Woman". 

While it is vital we celebrate our culture and history. We need to stop looking at the past to shape our future. People are people. We are, as we are. It shouldn't need validation. 

Let's not make it more complicated than it needs to be. 

How you walk in the skin you wear is your decision. Why not embrace it? What other choice do you have?

Dating Photos. Get The Right Swipe

Dating Photos. Get The Right Swipe

There seems to be a common thread in headshot sessions with single clients. The conversation usually starts with them saying something like "Do you think it is okay to use these for a dating profile?" or while looking at the images laughing at one that shows a bit more life, dropping in, "That is SO a Tinder image, what do you think?"

It relates to images and how people view them so I always bite and end up in deep conversation about it. So much so I have gone and done a little research and asked around about peoples pet hates. 

I am gonna get it out there early in the don'ts and just say it. BOYS! Pelfies. NO!

So the things that work and the things that don't work. The do's and the don'ts. 


 The Group shot: Don't try hide in groups of people. The general consensus among everyone I have asked is that this tops the list. If they don't know which person you are. They won't be interested. 

The Holiday Image: Don't start off with a holiday image of you, in the distance somewhere interesting. While it is okay to have them in there somewhere. You can write I am interested in travel within the blurb instead of just throwing out photographs. 

Snapchat Images: There seems to be more contempt and frustration at this one than others. Images of you with grandparents or pets that have a text banner across the front saying "Love this one" or "BAE" would appear to be more of an irritant than attractive. 

Snapchat filters also seem to be a big Nope! Personally I can't count the amount of women I have gone on a date with who arrived with a puppy nose and their tongue hanging out. Or a crown of flowers around their head being encircled by tweeting birds. 

The Ex (Scratched out): I don't think this one needs explanation. Dating, searching the world for your new love, while holding onto your former love is not a good way to go. Maybe you are secretly hoping your old flame is on the same app as you. Maybe you are hoping they will see it and know you haven't given up hope. Ross and Rachael happened. Why can't you!

Colouring in the face of your friends or ex in photos also seems to be a bad move. It adds a question mark over the company you keep. So again this looks like a be alone in photographs. 

Duck Lips: The trout pout, duck lips or face like a cats arse. This seems to be one of the main don'ts in life. Not just dating photographs. It was #1 in my article on Selfies for The Sun Just don't do it. 

The Party Photo: You, emaciated, on the verge of coma. You know you are good fun. You can show it on the first date. Just maybe not this much fun. 


Be Natural: This is always the best option. No matter what photograph you are in, be natural. We all like candid photographs of ourselves. The ones where we didn't know the picture was being taken. This is because the expression is natural and we trust it. So when you share your images with prospective partners. Make sure it shows that you. 

That is it. Be natural. Don't try pose. Don't try to be funny, or witty or even show your inner hero. 

Who you are is good enough. 

How you walk in the skin you wear is your decision. Why not embrace it? What other choice do you have?

Input from , Facebook Group Irish Bloggers, Twitter and Members of Headshot Crew.

Free Is For Me: Exposure Vs Paying Bills. The valueless work of creatives

Free Is For Me: Exposure Vs Paying Bills. The valueless work of creatives

As a new photographer, I was glad of the work. I think it's something every Irish mother does. Volunteering their kids for things. "Sure, John has a Camera and that photoshop thing. He will do it for you". In doing it for your parents I suppose we are in part paying them back for all they do for us, however much we may moan about it. 

I am not the cheapest photographer in Ireland. Far from it. I have spent over 10 years honing my craft, creating relationships, humping heavy gear around and working days up to and including a round trip to and from a wedding that saw me on the go for 23hours. 

I have worked with and for brands like Canon, Sandisk, and even managed to earn my way into being a supplier for Google. Relationships based on my persistent striving for perfection, my dedication to research and understanding what it is, what is going on behind the eyes of the people I photograph. Learning about light and colour and basics of physics that alter what I do. 

but sure.... John will do it. What? It has a financial cost? No. Sure I couldn't be paying that. All you did was spend an hour at it. 

I feel there is a vulgarity to money. I remember working behind a bar when the Euro came in. There was an elderly couple that came in every weekend and had a pint and a glass of Guinness. The price went from just over £4 to over €7 for both. There was no physical difference although the sound of asking them for so much almost turned my stomach. Bills need to be paid. So they had to pay. 

I often feel when sessions with clients have ended and I have spent up to 3 hours staring into their soul. Holding conversations as intense and deep as the eye contact we share. Taking payment is almost an embarrassment. The great joy of Invoicing and online payments. 

But, I have value, my time, my years of skill and dedication, my tens of thousands spent on equipment, software and education. The cost of studio rent, paying VAT and Income tax from every cent earned. The cost of refreshments for clients, even down to buying toilet paper for the studio. Every tiny expenditure needing to be accounted for and considered. 

Very often I am asked for quotes, Please let us know how much it will cost for you to shoot our staff, to open them up to the endless possibilities they have and to afford them the same self confidence and self respect we all deserve. For some companies, the value goes beyond the expenditure. For some individuals it is entirely worth every hard earned cent. 

Then there are the other kind of people. The ones who believe that their sense of social entitlement and mere presence alone is payment enough. Those who despite being sent a quote, or information on pricing will book and confirm. Only to ask later about cost and look on with glaring horror when they are given the information yet again. Offering barter or trying to negotiate terms. 

Seriously people. Come on. I can't walk into Dunnes stores or Supervalu and ask them for that bottle of water you are drinking from my fridge or the toilet roll and soap you used in my bathroom for free because it will look good that I was there. I can't refuse to pay the rent based on the fact I am a hotshot headshot photographer and will offer great exposure to photographers and people all over the world just because I am great. 

Consider the true cost when someone tells you the price. 

Your headshot or Portrait session you are surrounded by tens of thousands in equipment. With a photographer who has thousands of euro in overheads every month. To provide you with a comfortable environment in which to have your photograph taken. 

Just like buying a suit, you can pick one up in Top Shop for €60 and get away with it. Sure its not tailored but it has the basic shape you want. Jacket shirt and the trousers are a bit too big. Or you can go to Louis Copeland and have one hand made. Fitted to your exact shape, with advice on style for you in order to bring out the very best in you and make you feel at the top of your game. 

If you don't argue over price in Dunnes or Centra. You really shouldn't be doing it with professionals. 

Self Esteem & Faking It

Self Esteem & Faking It

I am very lucky, I spend ninety percent of my time, less than five feet from my clients. Creating a connection and more often than not, lasting friendships.

Clients send me links, from destination weddings specialist Ann Smyth of sending me articles and links to Dr. Joe Dispenza, Psychologist Dr. Olivia Hurley from IADT and sending me links to Psychology papers relating to what I do, and other friends and clients sending me news articles relating to peoples relationships with their own self image. 

I was sent this article yesterday. In the middle of a client changing looks during their headshot session in studio. I only had a couple of seconds to look at it. From the Style and Beauty pages of the Irish Independent. Blogger Joanne Larby "Opens up about cosmetic surgery regrets"

Now, I have a number of observations about this. I don't follow Joanne, but since sharing the article and commending her for speaking out, I have since read the part of the article I missed and been contacted by a number of people, shocked I would share it. 

We all have a "GAP", a difference between how we think we look and what we believe the rest of the world expects us to look like. For someone who spends so much time in front of a camera, Vlogging and shooting selfies for Instagram and snapchat, Joanne is subjected to significant stress on her image, and stress on that "GAP" between who she feels she is, and what she thinks the rest of the world expects her to be.

The over riding factor in anyone altering their appearance so dramatically is low self esteem. On the spectrum of people who Own it, Pose, Diminish and Avoid, People like Joanne are posers. Posturing and trying to portray what they believe the rest of the world expects. 

So, I commended her for speaking out against the lip fillers she has had. Entirely altering her face. In this she has essentially admitted that having them done, didn't make her happy as she thought they would. 

She goes on within the article to talk about her changing body as she trains for a fitness competition. Especially looking at her breast size. Now considering having breast surgery. 

Am I the only person who sees this as contradicting herself? Admitting changing herself and altering her face. It didn't do what she thought it was going to do. So now she is going to try something else and do the same thing again, only somewhere that doesn't make her look like a cast member from Donald Ducks house of horrors. 

We have this obsession with image, and an obsession with convenience. We want everything immediately and without considering the cost. The truth is happiness doesn't come from an hour in a chair. It comes from taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Finding out who you are and learning that that is good enough.

How you walk in the skin you wear is your decision. Why not embrace it? What other choice do you have?

What a Blank Linkedin Profile Says About You!

What a Blank Linkedin Profile Says About You!

Job seekers often hear that they should be on LinkedIn to improve their chances of landing a new position. However, joining just to say you’re on it isn’t going to get you that dream job. In fact, an empty or blank LinkedIn profile could actually cause damage.

Missing or Bad Photo

According to Business Insider, LinkedIn profiles with a photo are seven times more likely to be viewed than ones without an uploaded photo. A quality image puts a face on your brand—projecting credibility, helping with memorability, and enabling viewers to start envisioning you in their work environment.

Incomplete Information

Think of LinkedIn as an online resume, and treat it with the same respect. You wouldn’t dream of sending a potential employer sloppy material with critical elements missing, so why present yourself in anything but the best possible light on a popular social media platform?

Lack of “Non-Essential” Sections

It’s tempting to neglect certain categories on the profile, figuring potential employers aren’t interested in them. However, offering more than basic background info can spark connections with readers and present a more complete picture of who you are and what you bring to the table.

“If you have a strong secondary hobby that may have business applications, LinkedIn is the place to post this,” Oliver says. “For example, I write career books, but I also do a lot of volunteer work. The ‘Volunteer’ section of the profile allows me to show strengths other than writing. This helps me show a more rounded profile. Another spot which accomplishes that is the area called ‘Organizations.’ If someone sits on a board, this may be a good area for her to fill out the information.”

No Testimonials

Finally, leave this area blank and run the risk of employers wondering if you couldn’t find anyone to say good things about you. Positive statements from others are a subtle way to toot your own horn and add substance to what the rest of your profile is trying to convey—you’re a great person to hire!

Tips with thanks to Tracey Carroll, Recruitment Specialist.  FlexJobs

The Soup, The Steak & an Instagram Kit: Too Far?

The Soup, The Steak & an Instagram Kit: Too Far?

Maybe I am just looking at it wrong. Maybe it is because I am a photographer and spend so many hours every day with a camera in my hand. Maybe it is because I am an old soul, but is this a step too far?

This morning I read this aritcle on after food, travel and car journalist Melanie May of I can recommend a trip to read her work. It sickens me there are people who have all the craic of top gear and get to stuff themselves too. ;)

Okay, back to the Instagram kits with your dinner. So the Kit consists of a battery pack, LED light, Lens stick on for your phone and a Tripod Selfie Stick. 

From a business sense, of course there are positives. Every visit is logged, you get free social media content. In fact, your customers are paying you to take photographs of the food they paid for. The content is as good as it will get from each individual person and your interactions with customers goes up. 

At what cost though? Doesn't it just feed into the Gap between who we feel we are and who we think the rest of the world expects us to be? Does it fuel the need we have to display the perfect life on social media in order to keep up with the people we follow? This inherent requirement to show plumage like a strutting peacock. 

What damage does this do to us individually? Do we sacrifice our individuality for the sake of showing off to others? Do we create a sense of insignificance within ourselves if we don't conform to social pressures?

Is it a step too far? or am I just getting too old?

How you walk in the skin you wear is your decision. Why not embrace it? What other choice do you have?

The Psychology of Selfies

The Psychology of Selfies


We have all done it. Getting caught in a group as someone shoots a selfie becoming all too aware of our body shape and height as in comparison to everyone else in the photograph. Turning side on for a better profile or using pro tips and tricks to get the jaw line and facial expression right. (That last one may just be me). 

Even Former US President George Bush stood on a stool for photographs with Mexican President Vicente Fox in 2005. Bush isn't short either. He is 6 feet tall, but as the leader of the free world didn't want to appear smaller than the 6'4" Mexican leader. 

So why would the "Leader of the free World" want to appear taller next to President Fox? Primal Instinct. 

All animals use size to show dominance or submission. When your dog has been bold and you raise your voice. They become smaller. When the post man or that child across the road they hate walk past. They become bigger and their hair stands on end. 

As humans we do this too. World leaders addressing the masses are elevated, standing proud on podiums, kings and queens sit high on thrones while their subjects look up at them. 

There is another way of adding a few inches to your height. The Selfie! 

Not only are we showing the world how great our life is, competing with the social demands we place upon ourselves. Showing how fun and exciting our lives are, we show dominance and proud stature.

Holding the camera at eye level, taking into account how wide the camera is and the changes that causes, it shows what we look like normally. You get a stronger angle on your jaw, focus more on your eyes and make your shoulders look broader and waist look smaller. On the whole looking taller and in better shape. Shooting from below makes your shoulders look huge and make you look taller and dominant as if the person looking at the image is shorter than you. 

Florida State University psychologist Anastasia Makhanova and her colleagues tested the hypothesis that people would manipulate camera angle when taking selfies as an impression-management strategy. The rationale for this idea is derived from evolutionary theory.

In the mating world of Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, two processes are at play, intersexual attraction and intrasexual competition. Intersexual attraction refers to the set of strategies that people use to arouse the interest of members of the opposite sex. Bob brings Carol an extra-large piece of meat from the hunt to show he’s a good provider. Meanwhile, Ted shows his thoughtfulness by bringing Alice an animal skin to keep her warm on a chilly night. Likewise, Carol and Alice are flaunting their youth and fertility to garner the attention of Bob and Ted.

At the same time, Bob and Ted are in intrasexual competition with each other as they vie for the ladies’ attention. To do this, Bob and Ted jockey for a position of dominance amongst themselves, since the more powerful male will likely attract the sexier female. Women are attracted to men who dominate other men, but they also expect those same men to be supportive toward their spouses. Likewise, women rely more on social influence than physical size or strength to establish their position in the pecking order.

Thus, Makhanova and colleagues argue, people will manipulate the camera angle of their selfies depending on their intended audience. In one study, they examined self-portraits posted by men and women on internet dating and professional-networking sites. In this case, the internet dating sites were viewed as contexts for intersexual attraction, and the professional-network sites as contexts for intrasexual competition.

Specifically, they made the following predictions:

  • Men will take selfies from below when their audience is other men (to show dominance).
  • Men will take selfies straight on when their audience is women (to show supportiveness).
  • Women will take selfies from above when their audience is men (to show submission).
  • Women will take selfies straight on when their audience is other women (to show supportiveness).

This is exactly the pattern of results that Makhanova and colleagues obtained. But this was just an observational study, and the researchers wondered if they could produce these effects experimentally. So they approached students on campus, handed them a camera and asked them to take a selfie. Half of the participants were told their picture would be viewed by members of the same sex, and the other half were told it would be shown to members of the opposite sex. Again, the results patterned as predicted.

So, people really do manipulate the camera angle of selfies to create an impression of dominance or submission. But are other people actually influenced by camera angle? To explore this question, the researchers took pictures of men and women, each from all three camera angles—above, straight on, and below.  

Another set of participants then viewed these photos and rated them on a number of characteristics related to dominance and submission. They also rated the attractiveness and other physical characteristics of the person in each photo. As predicted, the men were perceived as taller and rated as more dominant and attractive when the camera angle was from below. And conversely, the women were perceived as younger and rated as more submissive and attractive when the camera angle was from above.

These results show that people really do manipulate their perceived height to indicate dominance or submission. Furthermore, people actually are influenced by these attempts at impression management. But what’s the take-home message?

Here’s the advice for men: If you’re trying to impress other men in a professional context, take your selfies from below. This will signal your dominance. But if you’re trying to impress women in a romantic context, take your selfies straight on. This will show your supportiveness.

And here’s the advice for women: If you’re trying to impress other women in a professional context, take your selfies straight on. This will demonstrate your social intelligence. But if you’re trying to impress men in a romantic context, take your selfies from above. This will make you look younger and more attractive.

Despite our modern beliefs about gender equality, the dynamics of intersexual attraction and intrasexual competition are still deeply engrained within us. However, this doesn’t mean we’re powerless pawns of our evolutionary past. Rather, it means that if we understand how these dynamics work, we gain power over them and can wield them to our own advantage.


Makhanova, A., McNulty, J. K., & Maner, J. K. (2017). Relative physical position as an impression-management strategy: Sex differences in its use and implications. Psychological Science, 28, 567-577./ Psychology Today: Dr David Ludden

What Makes a Great Portrait?

What Makes a Great Portrait?

I am often contacted on social media by photographers of all skill levels, ages and from all over the world. Some just dropping a quick "Love your work" to some asking questions. 

This morning I got a message on Instagram from a photographer. Telling me he had read my blog and is in the same place I was when I first picked up a camera. Terrified to photograph people because they might not like the images. 

He asked what it is that makes a great portrait. The photographer in me wanted to say, The sharpness, the lighting, the composition and the engagement between the sitter and the lens. 

But that would be wrong.

"Briain" ©John Murray Headshots 

"Briain" ©John Murray Headshots 

The truth behind a good portrait isn't really any of those things. I suppose those things are there to support the great image. Sure it's nice to have a good lens, a good camera and nice expensive lighting. 

None of those matter though if who you are photographing isn't visible. I don't mean the form we know as human. I mean who they are on the inside. 

My reply to the message could only be one thing. 

A great portrait is when you see the sitter, for who they are. Not what they look like. When they are just being them and you just happen to push the button. That is a great portrait. 

How you walk in the skin you wear is your decision. Why not embrace it?
What other choice do you have?

Don't breach clients trust!!

Never use clients private information for personal gain

I wouldn't be one to rant for nothing, and as a business owner I am very conscious of privacy with peoples emails. 

Last week I got an email the private email of the owner of a business with a fairly substantial online presence. Asking me to vote for him to win a car. Needless to say, I didn't vote. For a start, he had taken my email address from his companies online database to ask me to do something for him to win a car. Secondly, this is just not cool. 

So this morning, I get an email from Nissan, Thanking me for my vote. Shocked to say the least I investigated to find that he had been using my email address, and god knows how many others to vote for himself. 

Ever one to give a man a chance, I emailed him, on both his company and private emails asking for an explanation. His excuse. He assumed he could do it and Nissan told him he could. 

Just a quick note - anyone who votes for me here (Nissan Generation Next's competition to win a free car - takes two seconds) and then emails me back with the email they used, after confirming the vote, will be in with a chance to win some Positivity Packs.
The reason for this is I'd be putting in your email to vote each day (They said you're allowed do this with permission).
Stay happy,

Lets dissect. In the beginning, he states anyone who votes for him will go into a draw to win some free positivity packs. (Don't order on the 23rd of the month. He only ships on the 22nd and it will take 5 weeks to arrive, from Ireland) Then goes on to say that he will be entering your email address in every day to enter. 

Dont use clients information for personal gains people. It's just plain wrong

Belfast Headshot day

Belfast Headshot Day

The John Murray Headshots team is coming to 1G1 Studios, Crumlin Road Belfast on July 29th. There is still limited places available to work with an award winning team. 

For a free information pack and to book your place, get in touch via our bookings page. 

Heroes Don't Wear Capes

Heroes Don't Wear Capes

So tonight I was sent this on twitter by Train Ability founder Angela C O'Connor with the message 

" sometimes you need to look back to remind yourself, how far you have come 🎗"

This is Lucy. At the time of shooting this Lucy was just 8 years of age and had already done more for others in those few years than most of us do for others our whole lives. 

Not only did she raise Tens of Thousands for charity by selling wrist bands. Not long after this she & her family fought, and changed the way the HSE issue GP visit cards to children with long term illness. Coupled with her amazing parents. Lorcan and of course Angela, Who's company provides invaluable training and education to companies on how to be disability aware.  

We get lost in the monotony of our daily lives. For most we get up and rush around, to sit in traffic or squash onto public transport. To walk silent and alone in crowds of thousands, to be unremarkable for the day. Then go back into the grey cloud of earphones and mobile phones back home. To do it all again the next day. 

You don't have to wear a cape to be a hero, you just need to glow from the inside out. 

For anyone helping their children through a cancer story. Angela writes a blog that will not only inspire but show you, you are not alone. You can get to the blog by clicking here. 

Go make a difference. Be Brave, Be Proactive.
Be like Lucy.

#BeInpired #BeInspirational #HerosDontWearCapes

World Selfie Day

World Selfie Day

So Today is World Selfie Day. This could get interesting. I was asked by journalist Nicola Bardon of The Sun newspaper for some tips. A Do's & Don'ts list. You can see it here.

Remember Be Safe and Respectful when Shooting Selfies

Brilliant, Fast or Cheap. Pick Two

Brilliant, Fast or Cheap. Pick Two. 

Inspired by something Target McConnells chairman Gary Brown once said. I got thinking. Like many things I see and hear, they stew with the hamster on the wheel in my brain because they relate not only to the context in which I found them, but can often translate across life and society as we know it. 

Speaking at the annual An Post, Post Media conference in Croke Park, Gary was referring to clients wants and needs. Often having to tell them they have three things to choose from. Pick Two. 

"You can have it Cheap & Fast, it won't be Brilliant., Have it Cheap & Brilliant it won't be Fast, or you can have it Fast & Brilliant but it's not gonna be Cheap". 

As a former wedding photographer this rang many bells. Both from clients requests, to turn around times, and the ever present question of "Why are you so expensive?, someone on Gumtree said they would do it for €250". 

So I thought about how this reflects on society on the whole. We are obsessed with speed. Getting from place to place or seeing results immediately.
Where in the past we were happy enough with dial up internet modems, now if your 100mb network is only running at 50mb we are agitated waiting on pages to load. Some of us restarting devices in fits of impatience.

Now look at how that carries over into our health and lifestyle. Living fast and frivolous, wanting to stay young and fit. How can we live a long healthy lifestyle, remain youthful and healthy but still be lazy, eating and drinking what is fast and convenient. You can't have it all!

I recently saw two documentaries back to back recorded on our Sky+, Dr. Ciara Kelly Presented BodyShopping on RTE followed by Micky Flanagan on Sky show Thinking Aloud.

First Dr. Kelly met with people going the fast and expensive route. Changing physical appearances to make themselves happier and appear healthier and youthful. Fast & Expensive doesn't mean brilliant.
These cosmetic procedures hadn't done anything to boost health. Merely whitewashing a wall full of cracks won't hold it together. Many of them not finding the inner peace or happiness they hoped to attain. The problems, deep seated within them. Always psychological, not physiological. The Gap between how they see themselves and how the feel the world expects them to be. 

Next was Micky Flanagan on Thinking Aloud. In the episode he was looking at people ageing. He met with an 82 year old fitness instructor, she drank 3 litres of water a day, ate healthy and exercised daily. She didn't look 60. Cheap and Brilliant, but not Fast. 

Over the show Micky talked to a number of people all on the same quest. To remain youthful. Some throwing money at it in the hope it will keep them looking young but being no more healthy, expense without the guarantee they will live any longer or be any happier. You can't have all three. 

I suppose we all need to think about what it is we really want from life. Learning to slow down and get it the right way instead of some plastic pseudo-happy equivalent that seems to come straight away but doesn't last very long. 

How you walk in the skin you wear is your decision. Why not embrace it? What other choice do you have?