Maybe I Don’t Need to Photoshop Myself

UPDATE: Here’s one of the photos taken by a Professional Photographer. What’s the verdict?

MidLifeBloggers at the ocean MidLifeBloggers at the ocean

I have discovered the Blemish erase tool on iPhoto.

Photo on 5-9-13 at 1.06 PM Before Photo on 5-9-13 at 1.06 PM After

Voila! No under-eye bags. Now if there was only a Bad Hair fixer tool.

I’m posting these as an exercise in Immersion Therapy. Over the past week or so, I have had several occasions where a Professional Photographer (caps intended) was taking my photo for the purposes of–well, of registering that I was at an event. And maybe, at least in one case, so that I would have a Professionally Taken Photograph to use as my avatar on-line.

Instead of this one:Photo on 2009-12-01 at 14.13 #2

Which was taken several years ago, by me, with my MacBook iPhoto camera. Why am I wearing glasses? To cover the bags under my eyes. Why is my chin resting on my hand? To cover my I-Hate-My-Neck.

I don’t really hate my neck and really, the bags under my eyes are not that bad. It’s just that seeing a photo of myself these days brings me face to face (yes, really) with the fact that I no longer look like this:

Class of ’66, Peabody High School, Pittsburgh 

Which is definitely how I see myself in my mind’s eye. Which is why it is such a shock when my mind’s eye and the literal photograph eventually meet.

All of this is what is racing through my mind when a camera is pointed in my direction. Oh–and suck in the gut, straighten shoulders, stand sideways, hand on hip, feet in second position.

And smile–which brings on it’s own torrent of advice from photos past. “I love when you laugh with your mouth open” “Close your mouth, you look like a braying donkey” “Just be natural” “Smile, for chrissake, don’t grimace!” “You look so sad and serious.”

However–I cannot accept this. Others may wage war for world peace, I take up my arms to wrestle myself into a state of relaxation such that if I cannot take a true Beauty Shot, then at least I will have a Decent Picture.

Can you help? Have you any good advice? Helpful Hints? Tactful tips? What do you do when the camera is pointed at you? And do you like the result?

  • Mel d’Rego

    Funny, I have a shiny pate that shouts my age (yep, I’m male).

    Nevertheless, I perform like a teenager. And I’m quietly confident that it’s not too difficult for me to keep it that way. It’s what regular resistance exercise will do for you.

    May be worth trying… and plenty of benefits.

    Re smiling, I understand. My never-hogtied teeth don’t help. And so, I don’t try, at least, not for the cameras.

    In real life, I can’t help but smile.
    Life’s good.

  • Deborah Lonergan

    Jane, there must be classes or seminars on this topic, like Toastmasters but for photo shoots. I was watching a an awards ceremony the other day at my son’s school and I noticed that the principal and assistant principal without fail positioned themselves so that they would be captured in the most flattering pose possible. They did this quite naturally and I assume without really thinking about it. It especially hit home when I looked later at the many pictures that I took. There was not one bad shot of either of them. I suspect that a few hours of training and years of practice came before these perfect poses.
    BTW, I like all of the more recent pictures of you better than your high school pic!

  • Greg Reed

    You are what you are. Rather than worry about appearance, perhaps you need to be more content with yourself. Seeking pleasure from outside sources will only cause pain

    • Jane Gassner

      Wise words, Greg, but how you think they apply to me after reading this post is a mystery. Sounds more like the very general advice one gives a tormented teenager.

      • Greg Reed

        Ha ha thanks Jane. I should have expected this sharp tongue after reading some of your replies to other comments. Perhaps I could suggest a Bex and a good lie down (something tormented teenagers would’nt know about

  • Age Angel

    Sorry to see your discomfort with your appearance. I am only saying this because I understand exactly how you feel. Please find a fine cosmetic surgeon and have the bags taken out, your neck “fixed” and maybe a facelift. I know some people think it is very selfish. If you divide the cost of surgery by 5 years it is not that expensive, to feel happy and confident.
    Age Angel

    • Jane Gassner

      Naw, Age Angel, my discomfort with my appearance–well, I don’t think it has actually reached the level where it could be described as discomfort. But thanks for the encouragement.

  • Penelope James

    It’s surprising and shocking to see how we’ve changed until we put it in perspective. I don’t want to look 30 or even 50 when I’m in my sixties. I want to flaunt my years proudly – as they represent a lifetime of overcoming big and small obstacles, and every wrinkle has its story. However, when you take my picture, please smooth out the bags under my eyes and fix me up a bit so I don’t look soooo old.

  • Shani Ferguson

    I laugh. At nothing. Just to get a realistic smile. I may not look gorgeous, but I can sure look happy!

    • Jane Gassner

      Shani…think of the number of cameras pointing at me from my family members. Now think of what my mood might be. The realistic smile slides into a grimace!

  • Mindy Trotta

    I can totally relate to this, Jane. I have yet to find a picture of myself from the last few years that I actually like. WHen I smile, my eyes crinkle into slits…and when I open them wide, I look as if I am being goosed! Wish I had some tips for you. I just wonder how all those celebs know how to take photos. It can’t ALL be attributed to the a genius with Photoshop, can it?

    • Jane Gassner

      Mindy, On another site, a friend told me that a supermodel told her the secret: make love to the camera. I’m going to try it.

  • Beverly Diehl

    Am actually biting the bullet and getting a professional photog to take some pics in a few weeks (at least, that’s the plan).

    I think part of the problem with candid pics is a) lighting, b) framing, and c) we don’t take enough of them. Last summer when my niece visited we looked online at her whole portfolio from her session – there must have been two hundred pictures or more. Now that everything is digital, a professional photographer is more about time, and not worried about burning film or developing proofs – take the pics, look at them online. I figure, out of a couple hundred, surely there will be a FEW I will like, unlike taking them at home via webcam, when I take 4-5 and then get bored/disgusted.

    Plus, the photographer I have engaged is HOT, so it should make the experience a little more pleasurable. Cross you fingers for me.

    • Jane Gassner

      Beverly, See my comment above about the supermodel’s secret. You ought to have no problem making love to your hot photographer’s camera.

      • Beverly Diehl

        I’d RATHER make love to… well, I will behave. I think. But yes, that’s a great tip, and I plan to apply it generously.

  • Marian

    Oh, Jane, I’m glad I’m not the only one who has issues when a camera is pointed in my direction. My only request? No close ups.

    • Jane Gassner

      Marian, I think even the best of us have issues with having photos taken. And really, it isn’t even an age thing because I pretty much dealt with the same smile-don’t smile-show teeth issues when I was young.

  • longhollow

    Oh, I’m the same way. I’ve been looking over photos of myself from my son’s wedding and going “Blah!” – so many wrinkles and huge bags under my eyes, and forgetting to suck in my stomach in a clingy dress. What I try to remember when a camera is pointed my way is to look directly at it, not tilt my head or lean into the next person, and smile, showing teeth (it pulls the neck up.) But if I smile too much, one eye crinkles more than the other and… oh, I give up. Good luck!

    • Jane Gassner

      Oh you did make me laugh. There’s far too much to think about. If I manage to get my face to approximate something decent then I’m shocked by the size of my boobs…never mind my stomach.

  • Chloe

    I totally know what you mean! In my mind’s eye I’m still 9. Or at most 35. What the hell is happening?

    • Jane Gassner

      Chloe, I see that you have a new avatar photo, and it’s a really nice one. What’s your secret?

  • Elle

    There is a reason I don’t have a “current” photo either. The one I have is from my wedding a few years ago. I have never liked how I look in most pictures…there are very few pictures of me that I and my family all like…everyone tells me I look mean in most of them.

    So if you get some good advice from folks…I want to hear it too!

    • Jane Gassner

      Stay tuned, Elle, for any and all advice that ensues. When I first started blogging, I sidestepped the whole photo issue by using one of my dog as my avatar.

  • Tamyra Bourgeois

    Jane, I too, find a utter disconnect between the age of the woman I think I am, and the age of the woman the mirror tells me I am.

    The same holds true for my weight. I frequently forget I no longer weigh 125 pounds. Sometimes when I catch a glimpse of myself in a window, I think that the window must be made of one of those freakishly widened panes.

    • Jane Gassner

      Tamyra, I am convinced that the wall to wall mirrors in my living room (it’s a rental house) are those funhouse mirrors. My lower body doesn’t look THAT big in the bedroom mirrors.

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