Thursday, November 18, 2010

smiling for the camera is not one of my strong points

So now that Cal has had his name in lights--or at the very least in microscopic all caps print--I wanted to get some slightly higher quality photos for the book jacket and any promotional materials that might be required. Nothing at all against the photos that Cal took, because they were pretty good especially given the lack of photogenicity of his subject, but I didn't give him anything good to work with; all the pictures were taken with a cell phone camera and the resulting product is a little grainy.

Anyway, after looking around online, I found a portrait photographer whose look I thought fit the bill. His name is Stan Kaady, and he is a portrait photographer with editorial experience who seemed to have a very natural and relaxed portraiture style, with fine and judicious use of light and color. I had a portrait taken about a year ago for our corporate website (the less you know about this photo the better--not the worst picture of me ever, but very close) and it was all about studio lighting and unnatural poses and sitting in front of a mottled brown backdrop. Most of my co-workers looked pretty good (and frankly doctor-y) in this setting, but I don't photograph well even under the most spontaneous of circumstances, so this kind of posed-indoors-under-floodlights-in-front-of-a-roll-of-contact-paper did not do anything for me, and I think that the resulting photo clearly belies this tight-lipped dead-eyed horror that I was clearly emanating.

Oh, OK, I'll show it:

I know, who farted, right?

(Again, no aspersions cast on this particular photographer, she was just doing the best she could with a terrible photo subject under the most canned possible conditions. I just knew that this was not going to work for me again, so when looking for someone to take a new picture of me, I wanted to find someone who would not replicate the same scenario. I also wanted to find someone who would let me go outside. I JUST WANT TO LIVE.)

Stan was super-flexible from the get-go, from the day to the time of the shoot (he likes to shoot in the afternoon, which worked for me--the light was really nice that time of day as well). He asked me what kind of feel I wanted for the shoot, and I told him that I wanted kind of an gritty look, with sort of an urban decay motif though perhaps falling just short of outright decrepitude. So we picked a neighborhood, and earlier in the day Stan and his assistant scouted out some nice locations in the nooks and crannies. And if I do say so myself, I think the photos are going to turn out really, really nicely. Even though I'm in them.

These are not his photos, by the way, they're my photos from my iPhone. I just wanted to give a sense of the backdrops. Anyway, Stan and his assistant Chris were really wonderful and professional and available for commissioned portrait work in the Atlanta area. If you're looking for some nice photos of yourself or your loved ones--maybe even in time for the holidays?--it's worth checking out his website or giving him a call.

I'll have some proofs by Monday, I think, at which point I'll post a few up and we can all vote on which one we should pick to send in to my editor. (Hi, Emily!) Sound good? If not, too freaking bad, I am compelling you to vote. It can be like "America's Next Top Model," and you can rule out any pictures in which I look amputated or insufficiently like a broken-down doll.


  1. wow, your iphone takes amazing photos. i love my crackberry but the quality of your phone's camera almost makes me want to switch.

  2. Um, wow. I say this with love and in a spirit of comedy, given that I am the *least* photogenic person on the planet...(pale Nordic skin + flash = seeing wayyyy too much red in my pics, to the point that every picture ever taken of me with a flash looks like W.C. Fields on a bender)....but that is *really* quite the official portrait.

    Given that you're the one who is great with the photography thing, was it the choice of lens and aperture that makes it look like your face is Photoshopped onto an alien creature's extended neck? You seem rather proportional in all the other pics of you we've seen, so I have to assume that it's a total technological failure. I'd like to avoid making people look like this in the future, so consider this a teachable moment, and a public shaming for anyone who could do such a horrible thing to you.

    BTW, you have cute frames - keep your glasses on.

    Oh, and I tried that Panasonic with the pancake lens. ZOMG, want.

  3. I KNOW, I tried to keep my glasses on for that staff photo, but they were reflecting all her gigantic studio lights so she made me take them off and then she made me hold myself in this very stiff way and now the rest is history. WORST STAFF PHOTO EVER.

  4. I can so relate to the staff photo issue. I dread the day my law firm decides to go that route for their website. I do love the idea of a more urban backdrop :)

  5. If it makes you feel better, in my hospital ID that I shamefully display every day, I am Oompa Loompa Orange.....thanks fake lighting.

  6. OK, that staff photo not withstanding, Michelle, you look aDORable in all the photos I've ever seen on your blog. Maybe you don't want to look adorable? But you do. And I too love your glasses.
    I bet your new portraits will be awesome! Can't wait to vote.

  7. Wow. I thought I had a bad hospital photo, but yours is pretty rough.

    I use my hospital name tag, among other things, as a bedside stimuli for anomia testing. Quite a few little old ladies have been unable to find the words "name tag," but they've cheerfully told me "honey, that picture is doing you no favors."

  8. Anonymous6:49 AM

    Why not have the photo with your hair down?

  9. Anonymous8:21 AM

    I wear glasses so when I take off my glasses I get those marks on my nose.

  10. Michelle -- That photo is horrible, and SO not an accurate representation of what you look like. I agree: hair down and with the glasses on. And no white coat!!

    I'm looking forward to the proofs.

    Also, you take some awesome pictures! You have quite an eye.

  11. Anonymous6:25 PM

    Not gonna lie. That's an awful picture.

  12. Anonymous6:28 PM

    Definitely do hair down next time. Some make up wouldn't hurt - concealer, eyeliner, and darken your eyebrows a bit (with an olive dark, don't do pure black..makes it too dark).

  13. Anonymous5:07 PM

    I don't think she posted this photo for us to all give her fashion/makeup advice. We all know that's not what she really looks like, so cut it out with the nasty comments, eh?

  14. Guys, I KNOW, RIGHT?!

    So bad.

  15. Kandice12:02 PM

    oh i thought my hospital photo - post-call, greasy hair and more - was bad enough - it's so bad i keep it in our wallet... i guess hat hair must be pretty bad.

    you look much better in the rest of your pics!