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ursulav

Well, crap.

Apparently I need to submit a hi-rez author photo to the Hugo committee for the ceremony, where I guess they flash all our photos on a wall or something.

This is kind of a problem.

There’s a reason I use the painting my mother did of me as my author bio. I look like a tattooed hippopotamus to the camera. (I am reliably informed that I am rather less so in person, because I am extremely animated most of the time, but you freeze frame that sucker and the results Do Not Flatter.)

The only really good photo of me ever taken was about an inch high and Kevin got it on his cel phone at a Mexican restaurant. There’s an adequate one that a friend took ages past, which is what Penguin uses, which I suppose I will wind up using, as they want it by Saturday and I have no real chance of setting up a pro photo shoot by then.  (And YES, I have been thinking for months I need to find someone to take some pro shots of me and get the bloody thing done so I’ve got something flattering to use for the book jackets, but I didn’t and now I pay the price and Kevin says I’m not allowed to turn down the nomination because they want a photo.)

ARRRGGH.


ETA: Let me add that this isn’t a body image issue, per se—I gots no problem with mirrors. I pass them and go “Awwwww, yeah!” as often as not.  I’m not a small mammal by any stretch, but large chunks of me are built like the proverbial brick dollhouse, and I’m not complaining.

Sadly lots of things that are fine on a moving, gesticulating individual go really bad if you take a photo under all but the most aggressively controlled lighting.

ETA2: A buddy of Kevin's has been enlisted to try and help. I will buy him any dinner he asks. Meanwhile, checking to see if I can just use art at the Hugos.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.


If you ever get the chance, you should get @kylecassidy to photograph you. He is an amazing photographer. (He's here on LJ too: http://kylecassidy.livejournal.com/profile).

Cameras just don't see in the same way that people do, which is a bit of a problem, really. And I say this as an ex-professional portrait photographer. (I look much better in photographs than in person, imho, but I am goofy looking when in motion.) Good portrait lighting is like sculpting.

Also, just not using a wide-angle lens (which is the default on most camera phones and point-and-shoots and even semi-pro DSLRs because of the sensor crop issue) can do a lot to improve both accuracy and, um, flatteringness?

The wide angle is a big factor. You know how weird fish-eye lens photos look? Wide angle does the same thing, only subtly enough that you really can't tell if you don't know what you're looking for.

Also, photos taken from below will make you look bulkier. They always shot Lou Ferrigno from below in the Incredible Hulk tv series to make him look even bulkier. On women this usually translates into a sort of Dolly Parton effect. Someone who takes a picture from slightly above eye level will get a much better picture.

Wearing my photographer hat...

Lighting and posing, as well as choice of focal length, can make all the difference. Not photoshop; although any decent headshot requires some level of cleanup.

The problem, of course, is that it's very hard to find a competent portrait photographer. Most go through rote routines and don't actually know what they're doing, so just because you paid someone hundreds of dollars doesn't mean the outcome is better than an enthusiastic friend taking snapshots.

Tangent about being photogenic: some people you take pictures of, and they look just like people see them. Those are often called photogenic. Other people can be really attractive and charming and personable, but typical photos of them turn out very blah; their interaction in person involves a lot of expressions and such, and a frozen-in-time image conveys that very badly. Dealing with that problem is a bit harder; it's a matter of figuring out what kind of expression works, chances are it's not one the person naturally offers when posing -- that's why candids can work so much better with them.

Funny enough the only really good pic of me in existence was my old license. I look horrible in photos, just horrid.

Hey, me too!

I want some photos of me lifting weights. I feel like I always look great in the mirror setting up for a squat and I think it'd be a fun photo anyway...

What you need is a wizarding photo as in JKR Harry Potter.

It's just occurred to me that the person who'd do a bang-on job would be Tugrik. Too late to help now, but ask him if he'd do a sitting for you at FC next year.

Photos taken outdoors in the "golden hour" just before sunset tend to be very flattering.

Naked on a bearskin rug. Works every time.

Fingers crossed for Kevin's friend! I have this issue with pictures, too, and it's annoying. Occasionally one will catch me the right way, but most of the time it's just weird. I've had people not recognize me.

My sister - the face she makes if she knows a camera is pointed her way ... Gah.

My husband calls it the Rictus Grin. My real smile is more of a smirk, kinda like the pic here.

Don't feel bad. The last decent photo taken of me was in 1978. LOL I just do not take good photos--I end up looking like either a half-witted imbecile or a serial killer, even when I try hard to look like a normal human. I have found it safer to just avoid being on camera. *sigh*

I recently did a formal business portrait - I just used Sears photo studio (easy & cheap, but would have preferred a real professional). The better pictures were actually taken by my hubby in the yard after I got home - and the only reason I think I look remotely decent in them is the $50 I paid for a true, professional, done-for-photos make-up application.

Since you're short on time, I suggest the professional make-up and a friend with a good SLR digital camera and your garden in the background.

Good luck! Wish I was doing WorldCon this year - Reno was great last year (had delusions of going to DragonCon this year - who the hell puts WorldCon up against DragonCon?)

You should go out and hire a really good professional photographer (ask someone from the publishing company for a recommendation) and go have a blast playing super model for a day. Do the requisite headshot, then do something completely silly, just for you! Put on an animal costume. Do the girly pin-up deal. Have your man join you. No matter your size or your body issues, it's fun to play dress-up and pretend. And you would be amazed at the difference between a good professional's shots versus the ones snapped at the beach by your relatives. ;-)

Yeah, I hear you. I am in a similar position (well, a blog interview and not the HUGOS!) and also "do not photograph well." I don't mind if the picture shows me with all my flaws, but cameras add flaws and that is just not fair.

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