When I was a kid, I thought one of the perks of being an adult meant that I would never have to do anything I didn’t want to do. Bye-bye cauliflower. Hello Pop-Tarts for dinner. (Aside: have you heard about the new peanut butter Pop Tarts? Thank you to the genius who came up with this concoction.) Sadly, I was misinformed. I submit my recent photo shoot as exhibit A.
I was content to use the little alien guy as my gravatar forever. Or, when necessary, photos of Reggie. I mean, he’s pretty cute and quite formal in his ready-made tuxedo. But it was strongly suggested by some wise people that an actual photo of me might be more professional. It might instill a vote of confidence if someone wanted to hire me for editing services or buy one of my books. This presented a problem because, as I scrolled through my photos, I didn’t have a single one I wanted to make public. Pictures of me inevitably resemble a cross between Quasimodo and Frankenstein. Naturally candids are the worst, but even in posed snaps my eyebrows seem to have a mind of their own.
I decided to try a home-grown effort by setting up the self timer on my camera. Let’s just say that every shot looked like the worst passport photo imaginable. I realized I needed to call in a professional. Someone who knew fancy things like aperture and f-stop and white balance to have a chance at a decent photo. Some people might think: how fun! I am not one of those people. The thought of an hour or two as the center of attention, worrying if I had lipstick on my teeth, filled me with dread. It makes the kid in me stamp her feet and throw a bit of a whiny tantrum, but this was the part where I had to choose to step into the arena and dare greatly.
Before the big day I tried taking some tips from Zoolander. He says that the most important thing to remember is that it’s a mistake to think it’s all in the eyes when it’s really about the forehead. I experimented with different brow furrows in the mirror, though they made me appear to be in a perpetual state of surprise. He also suggested that I become one with the camera by showing a range of emotions such as “hyena” and “armadillo,” but for some reason I resembled The Joker. So I worked on copying his Ferrari Look and his pièce de résistance Blue Steel, but as you can see from this clip, neither were for novices like me.
So I took to the web for some advice: Just be natural. This is the least helpful tip, and it was on every site. Um, how is anything about this natural? A giant lens about six inches from my nose amidst gaggles of people in Chelsea Market, while trying not to sweat through my clothes and praying against all laws of humidity that my hair doesn’t end up looking like a giant Brillo pad. (Photographers love natural light. I tried to explain: Outdoors + summer = Albert Einstein hair, but they all thought I was exaggerating.) None of this is an average day for me.
Overall it was not a warm and fuzzy experience. That had nothing to do with the photographer and everything to do with me and the situation. Though she did say that she would do some touch-ups to the final images in Photoshop, but when I got these photos I didn’t look like Jennifer Aniston at all! I’m not the best judge of the results since I can’t be even a little bit objective. So I’m going to put myself out there again and leave it to all of you wonderful folks. Which one do you like best?
Have you had to face your fears and do something you really didn’t want to do?
Have a great weekend, everyone!