I knew it would arrive sooner or later, but like digging out dreaded Christmas decorations, I had put it off for as long as I could. Then one morning I downloaded my messages and found the request sitting there, like a cat with enlarged pupils, ready to pounce.
An editor asked for an updated headshot to accompany my genealogy column, Roots to the Past. I had to face the music . . . er, the camera. After all, I couldn’t write forever with a picture taken in 2005, could I?
Six years and several inches of hair later, it was time to set up the equipment, sit on the stool and solicit one of my children to work the shutter.
Thoughts of the last photo shoot came to mind. My youngest was four and wanted part of the ordeal. Equipment set up and me seated, I cringed between clicks of the shutter as my children pranced and dashed around my expensive camera balanced on a tripod.
The deal I had struck with my excited young photographers was that each would take five pictures. I’d choose the best from those shots and use with my then new genealogy column.
Thankfully, I and my camera equipment survived and because no one kept track of who was taking what, the credit for my promotional headshot was given to all three. That saved any arguments and all could brag that a picture they’d taken was going in the newspaper.
Not wanting to relive that joyful moment, I decided to set up the equipment while the boys were in school, and my oldest, languishing on the chesterfield with a bad cold, was home sick. She didn’t mind snapping the shutter a few dozen times to help me get a suitable headshot that I’d have to live with for the next six years.
To be honest, I’m no camera hog. In fact, I’d rather be the one on the other side of the machine. However, there are certain things a writer must expose if she chooses to write for the public: her face is just one of them. Sucking it up and sitting straight, I decided to let the camera do its job and capture an image.
Before too long, we had something to work with, something that shouldn’t scare small children too much, but might ward off large rats.
Then again, perhaps I’d be mistaken for one of my hobgoblins in my fantasy novels.
We took several more to see if something suitable could be found.
Now this one was better. A bit more gnomish. But was it cool enough to catch the eye?
Back at the camera, my daughter snapped this image. This one had potential, but I wondered what else we could do if we put our heads together. We came up with this one.
And then this one which was a wee bit boring.
Perhaps we could spruce it up a bit.
Or add some bubbles.
But then again, perhaps the newspaper wouldn’t go for that.
A little tweaking brought me to this one. That would be great for my blog, I thought. I’d keep this one.
Still, there is the question of a serious headshot for my column. My daughter said to ditch the glasses. They made me look older. I don’t wear glasses, so this was easy to do. Don’t wear them in the sense that I only wear them when I’m working long hours on the computer or digging a splinter out of my kid’s finger.
Thankfully, technology todays allows one photograph to take on the appearance of many photographs. So I relieved my daughter from her position, sent her back to the chesterfield and went to work on the computer.
Cropping out the unnecessary stuff, I produced two photographs that were good enough for a passport. Unfortunately, I can’t escape to Scotland and leave my column hanging, so I’m going to have to submit one of these to my edit.
Personally, I lean toward the one with glasses. Glasses make you look smarter, right? And I need all the help I can get.
The photographer chooses the one without glasses for reasons already stated.
This blog wouldn’t be complete without a shot of the photographer (a little manipulated herself).
PS: The manipulations made to the photographs were done with Ulead, an excellent program we bought with our first computer in 1999. I don’t think you can buy it now.