The Picture Problem

I’m not vain, but I don’t consider myself a bad-looking person. Unfortunately, I’m not very photogenic, and any pictures taken of me are grievously disappointing. This is tough when an author photo is needed, for bios or profile pictures for social media accounts. I used to use a picture of my daughter for Facebook (as so many parents do), and some lovely fantasy figure for my other accounts. Here it is:

Okay, this isn’t me.

However, I kept reading or hearing about how a real picture of oneself is so important in social media. It not only brings in more followers (says the theory), but it’s just common courtesy and more professional to show yourself. As a writer who wants to be taken seriously, I gave in.

The problem is, I don’t have many digital photos of myself that I particularly like. And the digital camera we bought when Lilly was born (7 years ago) just bit the dust. I’m probably one of six people in the world who doesn’t have a smartphone. I did, however, get my daughter a tablet for Christmas, which can take pictures. Lilly took this one of me:

Any last requests, Ms. Williams?

This is what I’m using for my social media photo. Whenever I pose for a picture, it feels contrived and silly, and it inevitably comes out horrible, especially when I try to smile. So I don’t smile too much. Like this one. I look like I’m waiting to be shot.

Before this, I asked my sister to take a picture of me when we were at our book club at her house. Naturally we got giggly, but I managed to rein it in. Here’s the best out of several:

Funny, that’s not what I see in the mirror.

This is slightly better than the other in some ways, but I decided I look too old, despite taking the glasses off. And my face is melting, for some reason. And any number of other nitpicks and misgivings. Oh, for the days when youth made up for bad photography!

Remember Glamor Shots? That photography service where they treated you like a cover model and did your make-up, hair and clothing. My mom dragged me to one of those studios when I was 25. I hated being photographed even then, and went grudgingly. But now, I’m glad I went. I wish I knew how to get one of those photos on here, to prove that a decent picture can be taken of me. Trust me, I was stunning. And 25. So I suppose it would be misleading to use a photo like that. Can’t I be the lovely star woman?

Maybe I am vain for worrying about such a thing. Or just silly. In the age of selfies, it seems quaint. Oh well. I’ll always break out in hives when the cameras come out.


7 thoughts on “The Picture Problem

  1. I like the second one better. It looks like you’re taking a quick break from writing to have tea on a far-too-comfortable couch which may induce you to sleep but you power through because you need to finish that chapter before moving on to the other activities of you evening. Not that you were asking — or taking a poll — but I’d swap #1 for #2.

    Liked by 1 person

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