Tips for a Photo Shoot and ROW80 Wrap-Up

For years, I’ve used a photo here on this blog and on my social media sites I took myself. It worked fine, since it was a pretty decent picture and really did look like me. However, it was time to update the photo and get a professional involved.

So I recently hired a friend whose photography I admire to take author photos of me. Before going for my shoot, I consulted online articles and asked fellow authors for advice. Here are some helpful tips I received:

Choose a good time and place — both for the look you want and for making sure you’re comfortable for the shoot. If you’re taking an outdoor photo, the best lighting is usually at sunrise and sunset.

Wear make-up a little darker and heavier than normal, but not too heavy since you want to look like you. Even if you don’t wear make-up (girl or guy), you may still want some powder to take off the shine.

Bring more than one outfit. Certain colors may clash with the background, and you don’t always know what will look best ahead of time.

Wear solid, darker colors, long sleeves. Avoid black with a black background, but otherwise a darker color keeps the subject from looking washed out. Stay away from busy patterns and heavy jewelry. Keep it simple.

Find ways to relax — whether by sipping some wine, listening to music, chatting with the photographer, etc.

Be clear about what you want. Communicate expectations so that you and your photographer are on the same page about the look you’re going for.

Make sure the photographer takes enough photos, so you have plenty to choose from.

Don’t freeze up during the photo session. Instead, shift your pose a little here and there, trying to get the best and most natural pose you can.

Consult others if you need help choosing which photo to use. When you receive your final pictures, ask someone who knows you well which pose does you justice. You want a photo that represents what you truly look like, while also putting your best foot forward.

By the way, August McLaughlin, author and former model, has an excellent article on Mastering Your Author Headshot with more suggestions.

Armed with great tips, I headed to my photo shoot last week.

I’d requested an outdoor photo, both full body and head shots, and wardrobe changes. My photographer friend and I met at a local park around sunset. I wore jeans and boots and brought four long-sleeved shirts, so switching clothes was easy. My make-up was a little heavier than usual, but only enough to make my facial features stand out. The photographer took several photos with each outfit and in different locations with different poses. It was a relaxing experience, and I’m very happy with the results.

And since it seems wrong after all that not to share a few photos from my shoot . . .

Julie Glover - author photo

Julie Glover - author photo 4

Julie Glover - author photo 3

Julie Glover - author photo 2

Julie Glover - author photo

My photographer did an amazing job!!!

ROW80 Update

This is IT — the final check-in for this round of A Round of Words in 80 Days, the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Participants choose their own goals and report weekly or twice weekly on their progress. Here are my round’s goals and how I did for the round:

1. Read 12 books. Read 15 books, the last one being Solstice by P.J. Hoover.

Goal exceeded.

2. Complete two drafts of short stories. I drafted two young adult paranormal stories and worked on some others. My plan is to begin publishing shorts during the next round.

Goal met.

3. Take care of ROW80 sponsor responsibilities. I missed a week in my sponsor responsibilities but checked in every other week. Loved hearing about all the fabulous progress from my writing peeps!

Goal met.

4. Edit at least once through Good & Guilty, young adult mystery Sharing Hunter, young adult contemporary. I went through Good & Guilty and made a bunch of notes, so it sort of went through an editing process. I did not, however, complete all those changes before getting drawn over to Sharing Hunter. I worked on Sharing Hunter some as well, but didn’t complete a full edit there either. All in all, I felt frustrated that my short story goal and this editing goal didn’t mesh as well as expected. This will be a primary goal in the next round.

Some progress, but not fully met.

Have you ever had your photo taken professionally? What tips would you give for making sure you get a good shot? And how was your week?

Stepping Up and Stepping Out: The Mark of a Man Blogfest

I recently participated in August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest with my post, Don’t Hate the Skinny Girl. Today’s special entry is part of The Mark of a Man Blogfest hosted by fellow author David N. Walker.

I. Love. Men.

businessmanThere, I’ve said it. I really do. I think men are awesome. From the way their Adam’s apples bob up and down pushing against the flesh of their throats, to the shoulders that are broad like fortress walls, to their hands that are thicker, rougher, and have visible veins like tributaries of a river, to their hips that land in a completely different place than women’s. I like their lower voices–tenors, baritones, basses–that can sound so commanding at times and melodious at others. I like that they think differently, in ways that make me imagine a puzzle in their brain that I can’t quite get all the pieces to complete.

I like that men can debate, argue, and even fist fight one minute, and be friends ten minutes later. I like that men generally take more risks, push their bodies and their fears. I like that men often use their strength to protect others, whether in the military, as a father, or as a shield for their woman (see Aurora heroes: Three who gave their lives).

So I guess I was in the perfect position to end up as the mother of boys. Thus, my household consists of three men…and me. I have a front-row seat for how my sons toy with what the mark of a man is–what makes a guy a man.

Two movie moments immediately came to mind when I thought about this.

Lars and the Real Girl (1997) was an excellent film. At one point, Lars (Ryan Gosling) asks his brother Gus (Paul Schneider) what it means to be a man. Gus’s answer starts with the usual stuff, but ends up with him communicating that it’s much more.

The full clip is HERE (which I couldn’t get to play on this site). But, when pressed, Gus goes on to answer:

Gus: Okay, you know, I can only give you my opinion.

Lars: That’s all I want.

Gus: Well, it’s not like you’re all one thing or the other, okay? There’s still a kid inside, but you grow up when you decide to do right, okay? And not what’s right for you, what’s right for everybody, even when it hurts.

Lars: Okay, like what?

Gus: Like, you know, like, you don’t jerk people around, you know? And you don’t cheat on your woman. And you take care of your family. You know, you’d admit when you’re wrong, or you try to anyways. That’s all I can think of. It sounds like it’s easy, and for some reason it’s not.

Gus tells his brother that the mark of a man is stepping up–doing the right thing.

Lloyd & CoreyThe second, oddly enough, is a scene that has stuck with me since I saw this film ONCE in 1989. Say Anything is about Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) risking himself for love. At one point, he’s talking with his good friend Corey (played by the fabulous Lili Taylor), and this exchange occurs:

D.C.: Lloyd, why do you have to be like this?

Lloyd Dobler: ‘Cause I’m a guy. I have pride.

Corey Flood: You’re not a guy.

Lloyd Dobler: I am.

Corey Flood: No. The world is full of guys. Be a man. Don’t be a guy.

Corey encourages Lloyd to step out–to be different and better.

Indeed, Corey, the world is full of guys. And sadly, guys who cheat on their women or don’t take care of their family. Or measure themselves in all the wrong ways–by their financial means, their muscles, their sexual prowess, etc.

But the true mark of a man is doing the right thing. Stepping up and stepping out. We know it when we see it–in the tearful eyes of a soldier saying goodbye to his family to do his duty abroad, in the resolute jaw of the father working 50 hours a week so that his family can be fed and his kids can go to college, in the broad hand of an elderly husband who reaches out to hold the hand of his wife of many years, in the small kindnesses shown by personal generosity and looking out for others among your family, friends, and acquaintances.

True men are still out there. The world may be full of “guys,” but I know many men who do the right thing–who step up and step out day-in and day-out. They live out the mark of a man.

And I salute them all. Because it’s not easy; yet you do it anyway.

Share your thoughts on what the mark of a man is.

Don’t Hate the Skinny Girl: Beauty of a Woman Blogfest

This extra post is my belated contribution to August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest. (Unfortunately, I was unable to post yesterday.)

For most of my adulthood, I have been a size 4 or below. Wait! Don’t stop reading yet. Please hang in here with me.

I remember when I finally passed 100 pounds on the scale, between my junior and senior years of high school.

I didn’t remain there, though. I recently picked up a journal I kept during my first pregnancy, in which I wrote about starting my journey toward motherhood at all of 99 pounds. (Don’t worry; I gained a healthy 32 pounds.)

But much of my adult life I’ve been the “skinny girl.”

I have long advocated that we need to stop putting forth unrealistic ideals about women that include eating-disordered models and plastic surgery as a foregone conclusion. I loathed it when people slammed Alicia Silverstone for her body when she played Batgirl back in 1996. (I thought she looked awesome). I hate that half of the magazines prominently displayed at the grocery checkout chronicle the ups-and-downs of celebrities’ weight or feature covers with models who have been airbrushed into comical proportions.

I wish we would stress health. An unrealistic ideal woman is not healthy. She is quite possibly a size 12 starving herself to be a size 2.

However, some women really are size 2. That’s their body structure, build, and reasonable weight. And being the skinny girl in the room ain’t always the picnic you think it is.

What you don’t know about the naturally skinny girl in the room (one or more of the following are true):

  1. She’s still shopping for bras in the girls’ section, desperately hoping someday that her buds will become breasts.
  2. Her family or friends keep interrogating her about anorexia and bulimia, even though they’ve seen her eat and never once had any reason to believe she’s gagged herself.
  3. She gets “complimented” with comments like these: “You’re so thin, one of these days a big wind might just up and blow you away” (Like being compared to a tumbleweed is good?). “I could fit you in one of my thighs” (What does one say to that?). “You’re so skinny, I can see your bones” (No, you can’t! That’s my belt buckle).
  4. She struggles to find clothes that fit. Maybe the runway models have access to size 0 and size 2 fashions, but they are much harder to find in real stores. And forget shopping in the misses department. Her butt couldn’t fill a ramekin, much less a made-for-a-woman pair of pants.
  5. No one ever thinks she can lift anything or do any task that requires strength.
  6. She feels guilty eating in front of people who hate her for being a skinny girl.

As a woman, there are various challenges with being various sizes. I don’t know what it’s like to be a size 12, but some of you don’t know what it’s like to be a size 2. And before you start saying, “I only wish I had your problem,” I’d like to call on us women to stop the comparisons altogether.

The funny thing about my skinny self then (not quite so skinny now) is that my weight never played much into how I felt about my health. I knew I was eating enough and getting enough exercise. But it did play into how beautiful I felt. And I didn’t feel beautiful because I didn’t look like the women I aspired to be.

Beauty is not about comparison. It’s not about wishing you were that airbrushed model; discovering how to lose 10 pounds from some actress with a nanny, a dietitian, and a personal trainer; or even hating the skinny girl.

What does it matter if one woman is size 0 and another 16? They can both be absolutely beautiful in their own right.

Beauty is more about confidence. The way you see your body, the way you treat your body, the way you carry your body shows that you either know you’re beautiful…or haven’t figured that out yet. Appreciating who you uniquely are is the first step to being confident about your own beauty.

I am was the “skinny girl.” I’ve long since realized that I’m not ever going to have curves like Selma Hayek or Sofia Vergara. And that’s okay. I can still be beautiful…as just little ‘ol me.

What do you think? What makes a woman beautiful? Have you struggled with comparing? And if you did a Beauty of a Woman Blogfest post, please share the link below!