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Debating the Value


A Picture Versus A Thousand Words

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The Photographer’s Soul

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Advertising Exec Fred R. Barnard Dec 8, 1921

Debating The Value

Is a picture really worth a thousand words? Maybe it’s worth 2000 words. Or possibly only 100.

How does that line up against “The pen is mightier than the sword”? (The exact sentence was coined by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839) What’s weightier, the pen or the camera? The words or the image?

The answer is, as we are debating the value, “it depends”.

And now-a-days, in our culture, the portrait and the crafted word might just be fading into the past because the algorithms prefer video. Done well, it’s worth a lot and in a new class of it’s own.

The value of any media depends on the skill and heart of the craftsman behind the project, and the quality of her tools…

My feeling is that I have to sift through a lot of thoughtless videos, crappy photographs and pathetic prose to find anything that brings value to the human race. And the reason for that is, it’s cheap to produce, at least on social media.

I might just book mark it here. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

This Rant

This rant on crappy profile headshots for social media is brought to you by the “Up Your Image Headshot Portrait Event” produced my Mike Winslow Photography.

Let’s just say it’s true. A picture is worth a 1000 words. As a public service, I pulled these images off LinkedIn as an example of what might constitute a crappy profile headshot. This is not a commentary on the person or their profession, just the image.

I could only come up with a handful of words for each one.

Physicians Assistant

Just lost his luggage after a week long ski trip in Utah and that’s only shirt available. No comment on the tie.

Bad Profile Headshot
Bad Profile Headshot

Senior Executive Recruiter

Looks like a soft focus pic for Match

The Good Stuff

With a cell phone and a little thought, you can make a damn nice photo, but my guess is that people don’t consider their headshot to be of any value.

The following photos were made under studio lighting with my Canon 5D Mark 4 camera.


Confident, alive, vibrant

portrait of a woman

portrait of a man

Project Manager

Masculine, trustworthy, gets shit done.

Obscure Photographer

Artsy, cocky, empathetic


On-site Professional Headshots

While I do a lot of professional headshots in my home studio, I can offer corporate clients on-site. This week I photographed 7 top sales professionals at their location. Here’s a short video of the setup.

Final Thought

I realize that probably half the population could care less about their profile image. I’m no speaking to them. I do work that matters for people who “care”.

For Saint Charles and St. Louis Counties, I’m offering a headshot event where people who care can get an updated image in about 15 minutes at event prices. Click here to learn more.

Thanks for dropping in. I hope my images, words and videos some how enrich your life.


2 thoughts on “Debating the Value

  1. Just a thought about context. An advertising executive in 1921 was likely referring to an illustration by an expert commercial artist for the express purpose of selling a product. The use of photography for advertising purposes came later and proved effective. There is a term “Stoppers” coined by Phyllis Posner (also the title of her book on the subject) when she was the editorial art director at Vogue. The idea is that the photo stops you from flipping the pages and lures you in to reading the article it illustrates. And then there is photojournalism, where a camera in the hands of an expert can tell quite a story, but usually to draw a viewer into reading accompanying printed words. Long way of saying words and pictures can be a collaboration, not mutually exclusive.
    As for the “pen is mightier than the sword” – um, not unless we’re talking a good tactical pen in the hands of a Yawara stick expert, and the “sword” doesn’t involve gun powder.

    1. I always appreciate your insight, Preston.

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