1% Better S2,

John Murray – Duchenne Smiles, Self-Acceptance Gaps, & Selfie Psychology – EP070

July 20, 2018

Welcome to the 1% Better Podcast.

This week’s guest is John Murray. John is, primarily, a Headshot Photographer. But as you’ll hear from this conversation, he has many other strings to his bow. He’s been adding new skills and competencies over the years and is clearly a lifelong learner that has a passion for what he does.

John talks about the neuroscience and psychology of photography, how we read images, how we read each other, Duchenne smiles v squinch, what is the self-acceptance gap, picture avoidance syndrome (PAS), the impact and benefit mindfulness has had on John, and so much more!

Below is a high-level summary of topics covered with book recommendation, 1% Better tips for taking pictures, and links to connect with John at the end!

Enjoy the show.

Topics discussed:

  • Personal & Professional Turning points – working with and training with Peter Hurley
  • Experience with @Peptalk – Workplace wellness focusing on mindset, fitness, nutrition and financial.
  • Psychology and Photography – psychography
  • Selfies and the psychology around this
  • PAS– Picture Avoidance Syndrome
  • When you see yourself in the mirror – is not what you look like in reality.
  • We see ourselves in a photograph the wrong way around!
  • Reading Facial Expressions in about .3 of a second
  • We don’t see the flaws of anyone else – we just see what we see in ourselves
  • The Duchenne Smile– A genuine smile – above the cheekbone
  • A disingenuous smile – The Sister-in-law Smile, a Smize or Squinch
  • We respond to a real smile – whether it’s in a picture or in a physical form!
  • Self-acceptance Gap – how you see yourself and how the rest of the world see you?
  • How we all respond to our own images – generally at some point we just stop caring
  • Interests growing up – human biology
  • As a member of St. John’s Ambulance, further developing an interest in how the human condition works
  • Always being a people watcher growing up, working in bars and having to deal with people made John more of an interest in people in why and how they do things
  • Studying CBT & Mindfulness
  • Being Terrified at the start photographing people
  • Photographing a friend’s wedding – if he was having a laugh with these people, the photography was great – it was the post process that was tough
  • Needing stimulation – being constantly on his toes – on the go, thinking of what’s coming next, planning and moving – directing people through their day!
  • Meeting Peter Hurley – this changed things
  • Making the decision last year to just focus on headshot – a key decision
  • Everything has fallen into place since making this decision
  • Now being super happy with how he is and what he’s doing.
  • When things all changed– A stand out moment or image that John always looks back at that stands out from a wedding a few years ago
  • You remember the last thing you saw just before the light goes out!
  • Camera Invisibility phenomenon – when the camera just fades – special moments
  • Peter steering John in the right direction, shooting headshots making him happy, but it was the PepTalk and working with LinkedIn, actively trying to make people happy and more balanced, it’s all better and now on the right path.
  • The viscosity of the human eye – a sign of great health – sparkle of the eyes
  • Shooting with clients and learning something from each one
  • Approach or Processes used during a shoot but having to tailor this for everyone as there is no two faces the same
  • 4 types of people – who own it & not phased, people who pose (hiding low self-esteem), diminishers (pull away from the camera), avoiders (runners – real world – don’t try). It’s a very individual experience
  • Mindfulness & Photography
    • How John got into it and what value he got from it
    • Mindfulness has helped in the process
    • Self-awareness and how this has been useful in the shooting
    • The Gap – how we see ourselves & what the rest of world expects
    • Learning to be happy and confident in yourself – be happy with that!
  • Make connections & eye contact
  • LinkedIn Local – connecting with people
  • Unknown fact – with Michael Jackson


1% Better Tips:

  • Squeeze your lower eyelids to make you more focused
  • Do work that you can do to help others, and making them happy, can make you happy!
  • Make Connections & make Eye Contact – engage with people and be nice!
  • Make an effort to be nice & make contact with people
  • Do’s & Don’ts
    • Understanding is more important
    • Good Posture is key & essential
    • Facial Expressions – accept how you look and embrace it
    • Bring your head forward & engage
    • Get near a window and make sure the window is behind the camera
    • Light is key!!!
    • Don’t do Duck Lips!!!
    • Stand Tall!
    • Selfie – Don’t take photograph from below eye level
  • Just don’t be afraid of getting the photo taken – it will become more normal!
  • Fake it till you make it and you will become more comfortable in the camera!

Connect in with John – on his site & all social links from there:


Please do let me know what you think via the feedback page or any of the socials – links below.

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