the perfect shot


cameraYesterday as I was browsing on Facebook, I came across a set of tips, with pictures, for posing in front of a camera.

There are apparently a number of small shifts you can make to your camera-ready poses that will instantly produce better photographs.

These will not be just your ordinary, every-day candid shots, you understand, but the most flattering photos possible.  Perfect shots.

Do they work?  They certainly seem to, given the difference between the model’s before and after pictures.  However, I have to admit I’m skeptical.

You see, I’m not at all photogenic.   Don’t get me wrong; I’m a normal-looking person with a pleasant face and what I like to think of as a friendly smile.  I’m no beauty, mind you, but I don’t break mirrors either, so you’d think it wouldn’t be all that difficult to take a reasonably attractive shot of this face, such as it is.

You know those people whose every photograph looks as though it was done by a professional photographer?  They’re ones of whom it’s said, “Wow, The Camera just loves her.”

I’m not one of them. Never have been.

Let me put it another way:  The Camera and I are not friends.  In point of fact, we’re not even on speaking terms.

It’s not that I don’t try, heaven knows.  When I’m stuck in front of The Camera, I sit there like a good girl, making nice, attempting to find a way to cajole that evil black box into taking a decent photo of me.

find your best sideAs to finding my best side, I’m not really an angular kind of person – in fact, it could even be argued that I’m rather round and, given that I’m getting up there in years, a bit floppy here and there – so I don’t appear to have a best side, which makes it complicated right from the get-go.

But I do my best; the good Lord knows I try.  I smile meekly into that beady black eye staring so rudely at me, praying that just this once it will decide I’m worthy of a decent representation.

But no, every time, every single time, out comes a shot of me grinning liked a crazed axe murderer, or the shading around my little double chin makes it appear to be drooping more than it really it, so that it looks suspiciously like a wattle, or my (ahem) various bits of roundness have somehow morphed into rolls.

keep your chin upIn fact, no matter how I sit, stand, or suck it in, The Camera lens heads like a heat-seeking missile straight for whatever little flaw is attempting to remain unseen and rudely drags it out there into plain view of the world.

It just so happens that I’m rather fond of the wrinkles on my face; I’ve earned every single one of them, along with the grey hair, so no worries there.  But really, there’s absolutely no call for The Camera to make them look as deep and shadowy as the Colorado River viewed from the top of the Grand Canyon.  Or to have my nose emerge in print resembling nothing so much as a rather large, lumpy potato protruding from the middle of my face.

squinchAnd when I try to perfect my squinch, it turns into a squint, my eyes disappear entirely, and I look as though I’m so nearsighted I can’t see past the potato – er, nose – on my face.

Given my unfortunate relationship with the ubiquitous, malevolent black box, is it any wonder that I’m not the one sitting at the front of any group waiting to be “shot”? On the contrary, you’re far more likely to see me desperately trying to worm my way into the back row, behind the more photogenic folks.  Sometimes I get lucky and the only thing anyone sees of me in the resulting photo is a bit of hair and part of a shoulder.

Which leads me to my sad tale:

Susannah borderThe picture of me that you’ve been seeing on this blog is one that my DB took of me about five or six years ago; and clearly his affection must have overpowered The Camera’s Dark Side for a brief moment, because to my intense surprise, a reasonably nice picture emerged.  (I wasn’t even aware of the camera at the time, which is possibly one reason it turned out.)

But no matter.  I was stunned and delighted to look at one of the very few successful photos of me, and I immediately saved it on my computer against possible future need.

Thank heaven I did, because that fluke has not repeated itself on the few occasions since that I’ve been politely coerced to sit in front of my arch enemy and “say cheese.” So, when I started my blog a few years back, I decided to put my best foot forward and include the one normal photograph of me that didn’t make me look like some species of toad.

slim your faceAnd it did the job just fine, I must say, until one day not too long ago I glanced at it and realized that I don’t look all that much like that anymore.

I think I might have packed on a few (just a few, mind you) pounds in the interim, because the chin is oh-so-slightly less firm nowadays.  (All right, so it’s loose and a bit baggy, okay? At least it hasn’t reached the English-bulldog stage yet, thank heaven.)  So in the interest of transparency and all that good stuff, I decided that I really must get a more updated photo to put up there at the top of my blog.

Selfies being all the rage now, I figured I could grab a quick selfie, update my blog and be done with it.  Half an hour, tops.  No more wicked black boxes and cruel lens eyes. Instead, I’d use my trusty iPad (my personal hand-held ebook library and quick-link to to do the job.  I was reasonably certain that folks would be amazed at the quality of these selfies and it would be said far and wide, “Wow, the iPad Camera just loves her.”

ipad KEEPI picked up my trusty sidekick and proceeded to try to figure out how to make it take pictures of me.  I practiced taking photos of myself reflected in the bathroom mirror until I discovered that this nifty little gadget has a button that you touch to make the camera lens turn back instead of ahead, thus taking pictures – selfies! – without a mirror.  How very cool is that, I thought to myself.

I clicked away until I had a bunch of photos to choose from.  It wasn’t easy, but eventually I had quite a few possibilities there. After uploading them onto my computer, I sat down to pick a shot that would be suitable to post on my blog.

One after the other, I paraded the shots across my screen as the awful truth slowly dawned.  This treacherous ipad of mine shoots pictures so sharp, so clear, that the photos look as though they’ve been taken through a microscope!  Every wrinkle, every enlarged pore, magnified.  In living colour.

don't poutOMG, betrayed by my beloved iPad!

In some of the pictures, as I look up trying to see where the lens is located, I appear to be fearing for my life; in others I’m grinning like a clown; in still others I look as though I’m about to fall asleep.

And I’m here to tell you, it was no easy job to find a way to hold the thing that didn’t produce a fine shot of the top of my head or the side of my face – or the aforementioned chinny chin-chins.  Or, worse yet, to take a life-sized photograph of my right thumb.

Not only that, but if I held the button down for longer than a nanosecond, I wound up with twenty-three copies of the exact same shot, instantly.

This world of selfiedom is a good deal more complex than I ever imagined.  And forget the poses, which I simply cannot replicate.  Clearly I was never meant to be a photographer’s muse.

don't smile too hardYet somehow I had convinced myself that if I could just quickly take a few shots of myself with my own lens, the results would, for the first time in a long and unphotogenic life, turn out great. Finally, all the hitherto hidden photogenic qualities of my head and neck, so sadly unmanifest all my life, would suddenly be uncovered in all their glory.  But no.

Oh, the disappointment.

It’s not as though I don’t know the flaws are there, but I don’t think I’m quite ready to see every pore displayed at extremely close range in high-definition colour, thank you very much. To be honest, I prefer my illusions; they’re much softer and gentler.

So I’ve decided to share what I consider to be the best, most flattering shot I’ve ever had taken of me.  Looks just like me, too.

My Favourite View dark border







[Photo credits:  Bright SideThe Guardian]


  1. Ha ha ha — I have to say, I like some of the X pictures more than the checked pictures. I have a wattle, inherited from a long line of wattlers, as inescapable as my white hair and probably enhanced from years and years of having to look UP at anyone I was talking with since I’m so short. That had to have stretched my neck skin… I’ve just decided to accept that whoever that is in photos that are alleged to be photos of me are actually photos of some family member, one of my mother’s sisters, I think, the one that fell OFF the turnip truck and was only found in the last six years or so…. 😉


    1. OMG, you’re a hoot, Martha! I love your solution, and I’m going to adopt it immediately. As of now, I’m assuming that anyone I see in photos who looks somewhat like me is actually my desperately unphotogenic twin (fraternal, of course, NOT identical) who, poor soul, can’t get a good picture of herself to save her life, while I – graceful, slender, wattleless and pore-free – breeze through life completely anonymous and gloriously unphotographed. Bliss!

      P.S. I like some of the X pictures too, especially, for instance, the one without the squinch. I mean really, whoever can actually do that anyway (apart from maybe Victoria Beckham, who’s the squinch and pout queen of the world)?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep. I always say, “Wow, I don’t remember Aunt Jo being here that day!” 🙂 At least I love my Aunt Jo or whoever that aunt is that keeps photobombing everything…


  2. Good morning, Beautiful!
    I have a similar feeling for the camera. You’ve put it in the most appropriate perspective … Thank you for the chuckle. xox


    1. Hi yourself, Beautiful! We’re the two hiding at the back of the group shots, although for the life of me I can’t imagine why you’d think you had to do that. You could be right there at the front of the crowd, no problem. ❤


  3. Oh yes, when a camera arrives I dive for the back row or duck, or suddenly need the loo! I really think I’m just not photogenic, whereas some lucky sods could be wearing sackcloth and ashes and still look fabulous! I really like your photo Susannah, I think it shows an open person with a lovely smile!


    1. Hi Jude, and thank you for your kind words! Like you, I much prefer being behind the camera rather than in front of it. My favourite pic really is the one at the bottom of my post: no stress, just a nice easy view of part of me that doesn’t change much. A photo for the ages, you might say. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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