Tony TaafeTony Taafe, photographer, joins David Delmar to share his process of helping people take amazing headshots by incorporating full consciousness. He is openly transparent about the real anxiety people experience around getting their picture taken. Also, how he’s been able to reach his level of success as one of the top headshot photographers in the country. So, listen in and get advice about how to look at getting your picture taken in a whole new light and experience the power of full consciousness photography.

Hello, this is David Delmar your host of SuperPower Creatives, and you’re listening to our episode Full Consciousness Photography. I believe everyone is a creator and it’s this inherent birthright that’s the source of our superpowers. Stepping into this personal authority is scary though. This show celebrates creatives, staying true to who they really are, making a living using their creative superpowers. The stories they share will excite and inspire listeners to do the same, making positive change in the world.

I’m ecstatic to introduce our guest for today’s show. He’s an extraordinarily talented photographer and creator, who takes headshots that are world class, and signatory of his artistic ability to capture human essence like none other. His art is helping everyday people take headshots that make them look like total pros. It’s an art, and a superpower all together. Getting people past the stress of taking photos, to look their true self and not posing for a photo kind of look, like just trying to get it done kind of thing. And his mission is for people to look amazing, teaching them some little secrets that celebrities have known for years, that shouldn’t only be reserved for the rich and famous, so everyone can look spectacular.

Tony Taafe is a professional headshot photographer from Liverpool, England. And he moved to the States in 2010, falling in love with it here. Spending his first seven years based in Los Angeles, and then moving to Arizona in early 2017, where he opened his own headshot studio in Old Town Scottsdale Arizona. He feels lucky enough to have spent the time since, moving around, traveling around the country on assignments from different editorial publications worldwide. Photographing people, doing what he loves to do every day. He considers it to be the best job on the planet, which is super cool.

He also feels very, very much gratitude to have been trained in Los Angeles by a world renowned headshot and portrait photographer, Peter Hurley. And he’s very proud that Peter has given him the honor of being a mentor for his coaching group, Headshot Crew. Meaning he’s one of a very small group of headshot photographer’s, and the only mentor in Arizona who Peter trusts to train the thousands of up and coming headshot photographers from around the world, who are taking part in his coaching program, on Headshot Crew.

He fully subscribes to the idea that great technique, proper direction, and genuine expression, is the key to powerful professional portrait photography. It’s in LA where he met his beautiful wife, Catherine, a Colorado native. And when he’s not in the studio, or on location, you’ll most likely find him off on some adventure with her and their pet dog Winston. The rest of his family are, they’re still back in Liverpool. He’s very, very close with them, but tries to get to see them as often as he can when he’s not here helping people to look their amazing selves.

Tony, thank you so much for being here today. Welcome, welcome.

Thanks David. Thanks for the introduction. That was pretty special. Appreciate it.

Well you’re welcome. It’s special just like you are, and you inspired me to do that, and that’s what’s great.

Thanks a lot.

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Yeah. So that’s what’s great about having really amazing, and talented guests for the show. They just, they bring that part of me, which is what I love to express as the host of it. And I wanna also say, thank you for staying true to who you really are, and helping people to stay true to who they really are, in something as important as a headshot, that in today’s world is so important.

It is important to stay true to who you are

It is important to stay true to who you are.

Yeah. Absolutely thank you. And yeah, no you’re right it is important to do both. It is important, definitely important to stay true to who you are. But you know, in these headshots, it can be difficult for people to stay true to who they are.

I’ll bet.

Because you know, we all have this thing when we’re taking any photograph, especially a headshot, which is essentially a close up of the face.

Yeah.

You know, to have that added bit of pressure of the camera being a few inches away from your face.

No doubt.

Yeah. So it can be difficult to stay true to yourself when that’s happening, because we do all have this photo face if you like. The face that is programmed into us when we’re kids. When people tell us to say cheese for a photo. Or your mom, or your grandparents tell you to smile bigger. You know?

Yeah.

Which looks great when you’re a kid, but not necessarily when you’re a CEO of a multinational company, you know.

That’s funny. That’s funny dude. That says plenty, just in that little bit you shared there. Well we’re talking about our show, Full Consciousness Photography, and in particular how Tony finds photography increases his inner knowing of himself as an artist and a person. And what has that awareness provided him, that makes him able to have his clients to be in full consciousness, making their photos look so amazing. Based on what he was just sharing there, that is no easy feat, by any means. So Tony, we always ask the guest the same first question, and it’s possibly the obvious one, but here it is. What is your creative superpower?

What is my creative superpower? I would say my creative superpower is to connect with people.

Good one.

Regardless of the situation, and being able to adapt to different people. Because whilst obviously I’m a photographer, and that would be the obvious answer I suppose. I actually don’t believe that that’s my strongest point, and I don’t believe that that’s what makes a good headshot is being a good photographer. I think you can be a great photographer and you know, take an absolutely beautiful photograph for somebody, but if it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do, then it’s not a good headshot.

Wow.

You know, right? Yeah. I would say it’s an ability to make a connection with people. Regardless of the high stress situation that they’re in most of the time they meet me.

Well, and I mean it’s, I mean for just to have that ability in life, it’s huge. But as someone whose taken headshots for very high, influential people, high profile clients, and these types of folks, and everyone in between, it is certainly a distinguishable characteristic to have available for somebody who is showing up with those insecurities. Or the mindset of, “Smile big.” Because that’s all they were really ever taught was to smile big, and that doesn’t exactly work for, like you said, for the type of photos that need to be taken for a professional. With that said, and your superpower to be able to connect, which is the essence of how your photography turns out to be such an amazing product. Why do you do what you do with your superpowers?

I do what I do with them because I absolutely love it.

Yeah.

You know, it’s a way to, honestly to just make people feel good about themselves. Because a photo for, honestly as I photograph, like you said, high profile people. I photograph people who run multi billion dollar companies, and the one thing that they all have in common is that getting their photograph taken is a stressful situation to be in.

Yeah.

You know, it’s just, it’s something that we all struggle with. And some of us struggle more, and some of struggle less with it. But I think it’s a really nice way to get people to like themselves a little bit more. Because we live in a world where Instagram filters, and Instagram everything. I love Instagram, but there’s a lot of image issues with that type of social media, that it just makes people feel bad about themselves at times. So I like to play my tiny, tiny little part in having people see a photograph of themselves that they really like, and they also feel is not heavily filtered, or heavily photoshopped. You know, it feels like them, and as I say, I love it. I genuinely just wouldn’t change it for any other job in the world.

Well and that, I mean it translates just in the session for someone who will work with you, or that time where they’re looking at the pictures, and they’re deciding which ones to choose. All the way to when they finally get it, and they start utilizing it for the reasons that they would come see someone like yourself. Like every small little bit that you contribute of intention, like you just shared. I mean it’s amazing how, I mean it really truly reinforces the adage that every little bit counts, in ways that we can’t even tell. Because I mean, from the second someone meets you, to the second that they put that out there for the world to see, you’re essentially the guide that they’ve chosen, that they’ve trusted for something like this, and wow. I mean it’s not something that they take lightly.

And to be able to have that guidance is huge. Just huge.

Yeah. Absolutely. And you know, it’s something I don’t take lightly either.

People have a different attitude to a headshot and they have different attitudes for different reasons

People have a different attitude to a headshot and they have different attitudes for different reasons.

Because I understand people have a different attitude to a headshot, and they have different attitudes for different reasons. You know, some people just wanna get it over and done with. And for that reason they’ll just want a headshot, they just want a photograph of their face, and they’re happy to move on. And that might be because they just don’t, I mean I’m almost certain that’s because they just don’t like getting their photograph taken. They don’t wanna go and feel that familiar feeling, that we all feel when we see a photographer of ourselves that we don’t like. So you know, but by not putting the effort in to find the right person, and really try and get that good photograph, then there’s no disappointment. You know?

Yeah.

But for the people who do, for the people who kind of wanna face that fear, which is what it is, I like to think that I am the right person to reward them for facing their fear.

Wow. I can attest that you absolutely are that person, for sure.

Thanks.

For sure, man, for sure. Very awesome stuff. Well we need to take a quick break, and I wanna dive in a little bit further here with Tony, and what he’s sharing today, and how those listening can find something out that might provide some positive direction for yourself. And how you see pictures, and whatnot, about how you feel insecurities around when you look at yourself on a picture. But before we jump into a break, let’s tell people where they can find out more about you Tony.

Yeah, sure. So I am on Instagram, and my username on that is tony_taafe. My website is tonytaafe.com.  They’re the two main ways that you guys can find me.

That’s outstanding. Amazing stuff, for sure. Alright, so we’ve been talking with Tony Taafe today, about our episode Full Consciousness Photography. We’re gonna take a quick break, and when we come back, we’re gonna settle in with Tony a bit more, continue hearing from his perspectives as a full consciousness photographer.

To listen to the entire show click on the player above or go to the SuperPower Up! podcast on iTunes.

Music Credit: Words and Music written and performed by David Delmar. Engineered and produced by John Keenan.