Last week, I had some professional photos taken for my soon-to-be-released book. The last professional picture I had taken was in the late nineties, and if I remember rightly, I was wearing a long white dress and clutching a bunch of tulips. So it’s been a long time between shots.
The day began with the arrival of my personal makeup artist (who I had promoted that morning from her previous position as ‘babysitter’ when I’d learned she could wield a mascara wand). As I’ve never been able to apply makeup, I needed Gab to do it for me.
Actually, that’s not quite true. I can apply makeup. It’s just that I was hoping to achieve a certain ‘look’ for my author pic, and ‘messy eyes’, ‘blotchy base’ and ‘smeared lipstick’ wasn’t exactly what I was going for. I wanted to look good. Effortlessly good, to be more precise. And looking effortlessly good, I discovered, takes an awful lot of effort.
First Gab applied foundation. Then eye makeup. Then powder. Then concealer. She applied blush, and mascara, and eyeliner, and lippy. By the time we finished I still looked liked me, a ‘trying extremely hard to look good’ kind of me. Which kind of defeated the ‘effortless’ part, really.
Gab told me to ‘trust her’ (which I felt compelled to do, as she was holding my eyelashes firmly between her fingers). So I resisted the urge to scrub my face clean, and obediently wiped lipstick off my teeth.
The photographer was lovely, and did her best to make me feel at ease. She told me I looked nice, and shouted things like ‘Big smile!’ and ‘Lovely!’ She photographed me in a number of locations all over my house, trying to capture me in the most flattering light (or, in other words, ‘disguise my oldness’). She placed me on the stairs, in a chair, on the floor, by the pool.... I think she would have put me in the bath had it effectively covered my wrinkles.
We also tried a number of poses, with varying degrees of success.
First up, there was the ‘Big Cheesy Smile’. It was early in the shoot, I was feeling a little awkward, and the smile came out a bit forced. This resulted in a series of pics that weren’t right for me, but would have been perfect for a book entitled ‘Jokes For Silly People’, or the cover of a Dental Surgery pamphlet.
There was the ‘Serious Author’ pose, which was supposed to look thoughtful and wise. Unfortunately, I’m not good at looking ‘thoughtful’ or ‘wise’, and instead appeared ‘mournful’, ‘depressive’ and ‘pained’. Perfect, had my book been called ‘Memoir Of A Life Of Sorrow’, or ‘A Life Without Hope Or Happiness’.
There was the ‘Sultry’ pose. I tilted my head slightly and looked up at the camera through sexily half closed eyes. Tremendous, had my book been entitled ‘Chronic Sleep Deprivation And It’s Consequences’, or ‘How Not To Flirt: The Ways I Get It Wrong’.
Still, in the end, the pics were taken and we had a winner. It was a huge relief. Of course, I’m still going to have to change the book title to match the photo, but it’s worth it.
Look Happy, For Goodness Sake. We’re Going Into Overtime!
Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
P.S. This pic is not the winner. Just one of the runners up.