The Art of Looking like Yourself

This past weekend, I had an appointment to get my head shots re-taken, as it’s been about a year since my last photo shoot. My hair has grown six inches and I’ve shifted my style towards a more vintage look. I was fortunate enough to earn a favor from a local photographer, so I had a wonderful hour-long shoot at a local park for free, including a few shots of Boyfriend and me.

Head shots are always a challenge for me because I don’t think I photograph well, and I find it difficult to smile on command. Previously, I had a friend with a decent camera take shots that I used for auditions. He’s a good photographer, but his greatest talent is being able to get me to smile well for his camera. That said, we often found that the best shots were ones where I was holding up cards for white balance, goofing off, and not really posing. But the point of head shots is to look like yourself, so it’s great when we end up with those shots. I’ve seen some friends whose head shots look too refined and almost nothing like they do in real life, so I’m always worried my shots will turn out like that.

Of course, leading up to my photo shoot, I was in a flurry about what to wear. I ended up wearing one of my favorite dresses (I have four in the same style) because it’s beautiful, a nice blue color that looks good on me, and feels like I’m wearing pajamas because it’s so comfortable. But I brought a change of clothes for some variety because I hear it’s the spice of life. For makeup, I did not use my standard clean face because the powder would photograph oddly. Instead, I used a matte foundation that I use for stage because I know it won’t melt off in the heat. I mixed it with a little rose-scented day cream for a base, and then used it full-strength on my undereye circles and blemishes. I added a touch of my Vapour multi-stick on the cheeks, and lined my top lash line with a bit of brown eyeshadow. A coat of mascara on all my lashes and I was almost done.

But what about lips?

Head shots are supposed to be about showing your natural look, so I knew I needed shots without my signature red lipstick (which I rarely wear to auditions anyway). But I went back and forth about whether I wanted to include a couple shots of myself with my red lip, for other cases when I might want a head shot. Ultimately, I decided that I didn’t need it, and stuck with my natural-but-flushed lip look using 100% Pure’s lip glaze in Raspberry to add a berry-stained flush to my lips. It provides just enough contrast that I don’t look odd without my red lips, but it’s sheer enough that it doesn’t look like I’m wearing lipstick.

Now that I had my wardrobe and look down, I went out for my appointment. The photo shoot took place at one of my favorite places: a local park with a lake where I spent so much of my time, in all weather, walking or jogging, or just wandering about. The background of nature definitely felt very “me” and I think set off my peculiar coloring better than a studio might. And the lighting was perfect.

The photographer seemed very pleased with the shoot, and I was pleased with the thumbnails I saw on his camera screen. I’m looking forward to see the final shots after he edits them. My hope is that I’ll have a lovely shot that I can use for the next year that really and truly makes me look like myself.

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