Artist - Photographer                           Susan Alvarez headshot photographer



The Miami Herald Interview
                     with Jill Bauer, featured writer

How can hiring a professional photographer to shoot your online photo help you meet the man or woman of your dreams?  Learn all about it in an in-depth conversation with LookBetterOnline photographer Susan Alvarez.

Q: What are the advantages of having your picture taken professionally?
A: If a friend or family member takes a picture of you they most likely won’t understand lighting and background. A professional photographer can tell you what type of outfits are going to work best for you and that’s the main thing too because people, especially guys, will pick a t-shirt with a big logo on it. Or lots of times they’ll wear a shirt that’s not ironed. I’ve even ironed for them a few times. One guy showed up and all his clothes were thrown in the back seat of his car. So we went into the studio and I ironed them. He said, “Well, they’re not that bad, are they?” And I said, “Yes they’re really bad and the camera will pick up every wrinkle and every stain.” As for wrinkles on your face, lighting can soften it up. You used LookBetterOnline because you didn’t want staged or glamorous pictures, you were looking for something more natural. Not the kind they use for business executives. When it comes to online dating photos you want to look approachable.

Q: What are some dos and don’ts for people being photographed for online pictures?
A: You want to take natural looking photos and you don’t want any props in your picture, like your dog. I had a client who wanted a picture with his soccer ball. I asked him if he was a soccer player and he said, “Well I play once in a while?” What do you do? I’m a real estate agent… Another guy wanted a picture with his surfboard.

I normally advise women to not try out a new hairdo for the pictures, they should wear their hair the way they normally wear it. And they should wear some makeup because the makeup accentuates your features. As for clothing, women should make sure they don’t wear a blouse that’s too busy…and white normally washes out your face. Black is always elegant and can be casual as well. It shows up well in pictures and it’s thinning. Also, bring a couple of outfits along because when you wear different outfits you project something different. It’s a different side of you. Wear something casual like if you’re going to dinner and a movie and then maybe something a little more dressy.

Q: How do you get people to feel comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera?
A: I chat people up right away. It puts them at ease and it gives me a chance to see their expressions and I start taking pictures in my head before I even start shooting…And they start to relax and I encourage them to try different poses. A lot of times people are nervous in front the camera, especially if they haven’t ever taken a professional photo. It’s my job to relax them. And they won’t even know what really happened during the shoot until they’ve seen the final photo.

Q: Do you recommend any specific poses?
A: Once I know what the person looks like I can tell when they’re slouching, which angle will be the best for them, how to hold their hands so they don’t look stiff, how to stand so their legs don’t look like they’re toy soldiers.

Q: What do you look for in your subjects?
A: The minute I start looking through the lens I start seeing things. I know this sounds cheesy but I see beauty. I always do. I find beauty the minute I start looking through the lens. I will continue to shoot until I know we’ve gotten some amazing stuff. I know sometimes right away but sometimes it takes a while. Even though the person doesn’t know what’s going on, I already know what I have in the can.

Q: Any funny experiences?
A: This one guy said we could stop shooting if I agree to go out with him. He said we could save all this time and energy. I saw the nice side of him in my lens but that’s where it ended.

Q: Are most of your LookBetterOnline clients men or women?
A: I get 95% more men through LookBetterOnline. Men have all told me that they want their photos taken by a woman.

Q: Do you prefer to photograph clients in a studio or someplace else?
A: Location is always better. When you’re outside you become more comfortable. We can walk around and try new things… Even when people are in their home they think it’s more comfortable but not really because there’s a stranger in their house. I prefer to take pictures outdoors. I use the studio when the weather’s really bad. I have standard locations where I like to shoot. Usually around the water with lush tropical beach backdrops and that’s where I usually meet clients.

5 Helpful Hints to Taking a Great Picture:
1. A smile always works. It doesn’t have to be a big wide grin with lots of teeth. The smile is going to come from your eyes. I shoot the eyes and sometimes I don’t even know what the rest of a person’s body is doing. The eyes are it.
2. You want to look approachable.
3. No big logo t-shirts, nothing staged and no props
4. No new hairdos
5. Natural makeup

For more info: or contact photographer Susa Alvarez at SoBe Head Shots (305) 527-9662 or



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SoBe Head Shot Photographer for Actors, Models, Musicians, Online Dating, Business Professionals, and Real Estate Agents. New Pop Art series of your Photos makes a wonderful, unique, personalized, cheap, inexpensive gift for Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation, or Graduations,  Birthday, Mother's, Father's Day or any holiday.
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Last modified: 01/05/10