So I bit the bullet and asked Darling Beloved to take a new headshot for me, seeing as the author pic I was using was ‘getting close to’ (read: had long bypassed) a decade old and I’d been asked for a pic by a couple of short-fiction publishers in the last year and it was clearly time to update.
You’d think it’d be a quick and easy thing, especially for the likes of me, what with being life-partnered to a professional photographer and all. The man makes a living by ensuring Brides take beautiful photos, so I knew he could manage something of me well enough. But because I’ve lived with him for more than a decade, I also knew what it would entail.
Now, it’s a truth not-quite-so-universally acknowledged that you don’t just ask a writer-friend to quickly write you up a few paragraphs of whatever because “you’re a writer, it’ll only take you twenty minutes or so, right?” No. I’m a Writer. It’ll take me several days to get those paragraphs right, and if you ask without appreciation for that fact, I’ll curse you the entire time I’m doing it. But I’ll still do it and you can be sure your complaints letter or whatever the hell it is will be freakin’ poetry by the time I’m done.
Asking for photography-favours works along the same lines. “Just a quick headshot” is not the same as whipping out the smartphone for a selfie in the bathroom mirror, I’ll have you know.
So after he spent maybe an hour setting up the studio for portraits, selecting and testing equipment, metering and flashing and finally declaring all was ready, I got in front of the camera for oh, about five minutes maybe. Well, let’s round it up to ten, if you include the test shots to get the white balance right.
Then it was cameras down, whip out the storage cards, load them up on the editing machine. Flagging a shortlist, colour-coding an even shorter short-list, selecting the top three, on which Darling Beloved actually went to work, ‘shopping as necessary. You know how for those who are into makeup, the ‘natural’ makeup look requires about two dozen separate bits of makeup kit? Photoshopping is something similar. A ‘natural’ photo requires more photoshop finesse than any other.
All to produce the following:
So there it is. Something a bit more up to date. Kudos to the photographer.