The (not so) traumatic experience of having my headshots taken

Three or four times over the past few years I’ve been asked to provide a headshot for a publication or a publisher or event website. And every single time it has been a mad scramble to find or get my nearest/dearest to take such a photo. The reasons for this are many and varied, as my husband will attest:

  1. There aren’t many photos of me because I hate having my photo taken;
  2. Of the photos of me that there are, most are terrible because of the grimaces I do when I know my photo is being taken;
  3. All the rest are terrible because I don’t know my photo is being taken and I’m eating.

As I am approaching a SIGNIFICANT BIRTHDAY and fully aware that I’m not getting younger, after the most recent scramble for a headshot I decided I must get organised to get some professional photographs taken.

Around the same time, my friend Alison Lee Rubie, an accomplished wildlife photographer, decided she’d like to diversify and wanted to take some shots of various ages of people for her portfolio. Hmm, I thought to myself. If anyone can get a good photo of me, it’s a wildlife photographer.

Because the SIGNIFICANT BIRTHDAY approaching is not my 20th (I know you’re surprised) I asked my friend Dolores Dunn – make-up artist if she would do natural make-up for me. This was another huge step. The only other times I’ve had my make-up done professionally I’ve had to secretly run to the bathroom to remove most of it before I could go out in public. But I had seen Dolores’s work and I knew she wasn’t going to turn me into one of those girls from Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love video clip.

Shoot day dawned with the first rain for three months. Dolores appeared with a suitcase, transforming my kitchen table into an impressive looking work area. She was very kind, chatting to me for an hour to soothe my nerves and carefully turning me into a sort-of more glowy version of myself. Al and Dolores then talked gobbledygook for a few moments about a test shot and all was agreed we were set to go ahead. I felt in very safe hands.


Kitchen table transformed.

Al put me at ease, directed my stance when I became too awkward, searching for great backgrounds, putting me in the best light, and most of all taking lots and lots of professional quality shots so that AT LEAST SOME of them would turn out okay. Not once did I startle and run away from the camera, which just goes to show that she was absolutely the right person for the job.


I never startled.

I am so grateful to these two friends for helping me face my fear of having my photo taken. Having the camera trained on me and me alone for over an hour was confronting but I think it has helped my discomfort to wear off a little.


Did I say alone?


Now I have professional profile photos that, because I’m an author and not an actor or model, could last me for 10 years or more! (Sorry if I disappoint you in person!) A not-so-traumatic experience, in fact, it was all kinda fun.


 Headshots by Alison Lee Rubie, make-up shot my own, gazelles from Jooinn free stock photography.

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