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Photographers' Pictures (in Their Profile)

By MidgePhoto, written 1540923804

Some photographers put a picture of themself in their profile.  Periodically one of them[1] enquires why this is not the norm.  Each time there are several good reasons and alternatives offered, and considerable bad temper.

Should all photographers do so or have to do so?  A general consensus is that it should be neither compulsory nor forbidden.


Generally reasons given to publicly display a portrait, mugshot or identity image are related to others.

Some models like it, quite a lot.  Many are not bothered.  None, thus far, complain about it.  One model, once, felt it might sometimes be creepy, so far as the author has seen. 

Models might be being polite about the aesthetics, but probably not.


There are** advantages and utility to doing so.

Models* who would like to see what the person collecting them at the station is meant to look like could do so without needing to ask, generating an additional task, and perhaps being inhibited from doing so.  This is a strong recurring theme.


Reasons to not display an image tend to be related to the self.


There are** real disadvantages, dangers and therefore legitimate concerns.

At least one job has been lost, an account of it is somewhere in the forums.


Q.  Does it have to be (the avatar or) in the profile. 

A.  No.  However it does have to be provided unasked in order to satisfy many models who could, indeed, technically ask each time and wait for the image to arrive, or not. 

Q.  But I have a real reason to hide my image. 

A.  This is known to be true for some photographers, and the existence of an actual hazard has been established.  Say so, unbidden and unrequested, in advance of the model thinking of asking.  Offer an alternative way of indicating that you are you.  Carnation buttonhole, Lime Green hat, odd socks, board with model's name on it in your hand.  You may be over-confident in the protection withholding your headshot confers on your employment.


Q. what use is the out of date image that doesn't look much like the photographer?

A: it'll tell you something about their industry and competence. Seriously? A photographer can't produce a picture looking like themself? They can't do that from within the last year or so? They want you to take your clothes off and they'll photograph you beautifully? TFI, yes, timely delivery is assured. Come on guys, with cameras.


Q. Isn't the avatar important as a brand, and the face of the photographer not the best thing for branding?

A.  This perhaps applies to professionals, who will have a brand already, if they wish their other photographic identities to be linked to this one[2]. That may be applied to the header picture, or might indeed be a good use for the avatar.   other places to include their image include embedded in the profile text; as the first image in the portfolio, or the last; in a folder; or by linking to it elsewhere, perhaps on their business or personal website.  The free accounts do not offer all of these options, but perhaps professionals with businesses and a brand should be using the full account if this is business.


Q.  What could be done instead of posting a picture where everyone can see it?

A.  Post one where not everyone can see it.  PP offers the facility of embedding an image in a template for messages.  Adding a couple of lines of information and an image to that may even save repeated effort.  Don't go overboard.  PP allows an image to be placed in a private folder, and the private folder to be shared at will to individual users.  (In principle that could be a feature built in to future versions, a button alongside the book a shoot one to share an ID picture with one click.)


Q. Specifically, where is a photographer's photograph useful?

A. It is widely agreed that it is helpful or reassuring in meetings at stations and other rendezvous. It is generally agreed that it is not useful in the same way if the meeting is at a studio (though a picture of the studio is) or at the photographer's house.

Q. how about at the model's house.

A. Seems likely. An image could be provided by a private channel.

Q. As an image can be provided by a private channel, why put one on the port?

A. 1.  Efficiency. Avoiding a repeated question or effort. Avoiding a model or studio owner or other having to ask, feeling impeded from asking. But see reasons for hiding the face above.

    2.  In the event of an account being compromised - so the person operating it later is different from the one who set it up - the picture being visible to other people does make it more difficult to pretend to be the original person.  There is a balance between this and the risk to the photographer of being known. 

    3.  It makes it more difficult for someone to pass off a photograph of someone else as being of them.  (If they have even one reference or acquaintance on PP.)


Q.  Specifically, what can't a photographer's photograph do?

A.  You can't judge someone's character from a photograph, just whether they can and will apply themself to make a good image in one case where nobody else is interfering.  Make whatever other checks you need, even if they are handsome, distinguished, pretty or whatever.



 [1] Or a model.  I don't think a studio or MUA has yet.

[2] Which they may well not, either as a matter of keeping different brands for different photographic genres, or because PP sits poorly with their customer group.

* Photographer here should be taken as anyone who isn't a model, and model should be taken to include anyone else who might be collected at a station, etc.

** Assertions there are not and arguments on that basis therefore fail and are not worth making.  By all means say you (don't) want to.


(This article has had some maintenance and revision, most lately in August 2019)

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