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The Surefire Way To Look Amateur



1. engaging or engaged in without payment; nonprofessional.

2. inept or unskillful.

What is an amateur? Welp, the dictionary definition(s) is above. But there's a better definition of this term I'd like to share with you. In fact, it's the very best definition of the word 'amateur' I've ever heard and one I couldn't agree with more: 

Amateur = Someone who expects something for nothing. 

I don't believe how much money you make determines if you're professional or not. Sure, there is some correlation sometimes but it's not a hard fact. What is a fact is that there are people that I knew in the military who were the most consummate professionals I ever met, none of which made over $15,000/yr - whereas I know people who have no effing idea what they're doing who make 5X that. Money does not equal professional. What does? 

If an amateur is someone that expects something for nothing what happens when we flip that over?

Professional = He or she that is willing to do whatever it takes to deliver consistent results regardless of circumstance. They show up and don't wait for inspiration. They practice relentlessly. They innovate. They are committed to excellence and take total responsibility for everything. 

And, let's be honest here, when there's something important you need done in your life or to/for someone you care about - you go to a professional. No questions asked. 

But this post isn't about the difference between an amateur and a pro - it's about the surefire way to look like an amateur. This applies to anyone. Even to the best professionals in the world. 

The Surefire Way To Look Amateur

Is to look uncertain - in your photograph. In the ye olde days (meaning like 20 years ago) the only people that had to really audition were actors. They were the ones that had to have a headshot that needed to be submitted ahead of an audition. And based on that headshot and sometimes the resume - they got called in for an audition. Or not. The people looking to cast or hire someone created an instant perception about that actor whether or not they were worth calling in. And the more professional and attractive the actor looked, the better chance they had of getting called in. But how does one look professional? Because it's a fact that perception is reality. 

How To Look Professional (in your photos)

1. And this should go without say, hire a professional to take the photo. Not your friend, or cousin with a camera. A professional. How do you know if they're a professional - use the definition above. 

2. You have to look certain. It's a must. A pro photographer will help you do this. An amateur photographer won't and can't. 


The surefire way to look amateur is to look uncertain. AND MOST PEOPLE LOOK UNCERTAIN IN THEIR PHOTOS! They could be the best doctor, lawyer, actor, coder, banker or whatever. It doesn't matter. Nowadays EVERYONE is auditioning. And the first contact anyone has with you when they're looking for someone to hire is your photograph. But here's the craziest part about this...


The guy who is sitting in the Oval Office knew this. And, I'm sorry, but he's a genius because of it. Did he have ANY experience in any way, shape or form when it came to being President? NOPE. NONE. ZERO. But let me ask you this... Was there ever a time when he appeared on-camera where he was uncertain? NEVER. I dare you to find an instance where he was saying something in a kinda sorta or uncertain way. He knows that perception is reality. Now I'm not saying what he said, most of the time, was absolutely insane. But darn it, he was always looked certain when he was saying it. 

Take Away

Here's what I want you to take away from this - you have to look certain in your photos. Notice I didn't say you had to be certain - you just have to look it. If you look certain you will be more attractive and perceived as more competent at whatever it is you do. I can't tell you how many headshots I see where the subject looks uncertain and hence, amateur. It doesn't matter how good they are at what they do, because they'll never get the chance to show anyone.

So when you hire a photographer ask yourself a question: Is the the guy or gal that's going to help me look absolutely certain in this unfamiliar and somewhat nerve wracking situation? If not, keep looking for someone you know who will. Your opportunities depend on it!