Life’s Short–Smile for the Camera

A friend of mine (an award-winning photographer) offers professional headshots at the writers’ conference I attend yearly. She does beautiful work and has photographed many of my writerly friends. Her camera is at the ready each year, yet I am never ready.

Headshots are a rite of passage for writers who hope to publish and share their art with the world. Professional photos are useful for your website, media kit, byline photo, etc. Someday I’d really like to slap one on the back of a finished novel too.

The problem is, I don’t love myself in photos. I see a lot of flaws from head to toe when I look in the mirror. Midlife has crept in with its extra pounds and wrinkles and whatnot. Controlling the angle of a selfie is an art form for me. Phone held high, chest-up only. Hide the chins. A whole routine.

Giving control to another person to take a photo of me felt scary and unsettling. The camera tells the truth, after all. Paying money to someone else to interpret me through a lens felt overwhelming. But I had to get over myself and do it this year.

I turned 50 last October. By now, I know exactly who I am on the inside. Despite my fear and trepidation, I decided it was high time to be who I am on the outside too and stop dragging my feet about the photos. Life is short. This body has carried three babies and walked a long journey in becoming who I am. This face has laughed and cried its way into shape over the past half-century. It’s time to be me without apology or shame.

I want to offer special thanks to my friend and amazing photographer, Tonya, for taking me outside in the heat so I could have my photos by bricks and greenery, two of my favorite things. She’s a marvel with a camera and made me feel so comfortable. I was really happy with the results and feel proud to share these images for my writing-related media endeavors.

After a lot of procrastination and fretting, it turned out my photos captured exactly who I am. I wish I had done it sooner. Stop waiting and just get the photos taken. Smile for the camera. Be proud to show who you are. Trust me, you’re alright.

With Love and Gratitude,

Tracy is a New Jersey writer who loves Earl Grey tea, spending time outside, and painting. She lives with her husband and children in a home where birdsong and rainstorms provide the soundtrack for her creative life.


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