Model behavior

One thing I have a hard time doing is having my photo taken. While I wouldn’t say that it’s physically uncomfortable for me, it’s certainly quite mentally uncomfortable. Like so many people, I don’t know quite how to pose myself and how much to smile and I just feel so awkward when a camera is aimed my way. I always have, even when I was a teenager.

When I first started blogging, I never posted photos of myself. Before that, when I joined Facebook, instead of uploading an actual photo of myself to my profile, I decided instead to use the Picasso image that has always been associated with this blog. That was how I viewed myself, so that’s what I went with.

Over time, I’ve gotten somewhat more comfortable with putting photos here and on Facebook. And, after some nagging urging by a friend, I started using an actual photo of myself on Twitter too. That’s not to say that I don’t scrutinize every millimeter of photos that I post and obsess over all the ways I am imperfect, because I’d be lying if I said I didn’t.

A show of hands: How many of you post photos of yourself on your blogs? How many of you post photos of yourself on Facebook? How many of you use a photo of yourself as your avatar on Twitter? Do you post the photos easily and without much thought or do you agonize, the way I do?

This year, I’ve been doing some writing for a local publication and next month I have an article coming out that is about becoming a mid-life runner and athlete. It’s the kick-off to a monthly column on running that I’ll have on the publication’s website in 2012. (I’ll post links as they come up.) As part of all this, my editor, who is also a professional photographer, met with me yesterday to take some photos to go along with the article. I felt sheepish and odd and awkward, but my editor soon had me laughing. With her permission, I’m posting a few that she took:

For some reason, I decided to stick my tongue out for the very first photo. Mature, I know.
This is my supermodel pose: cheeks sucked in, shoulders forward to make my clavicles more prominent (so I look thinner), chest thrust out, one leg forward to look longer.

I’m not going to lie and say that I love these photos. The photographer herself is talented, but I just don’t enjoy looking at myself,  so it is a rather difficult thing to do this. However, I’m just going to do it and not obsess (too much) because I wanted to share with you this new writing gig I have coming up, plus also have us all talk today about how we all feel about photos of ourselves.

Is it just me or do any of you feel the same way?


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39 Responses to Model behavior

  1. Yeah, I feel exactly the same way about taking photos. And with a wedding coming up I’m realizing I need to seriously research how to pose or whatever so I don’t screw up the photos!

    But it’s funny, because I look at your photos and think they look great, not awkward! I personally am loving your supermodel pose :)

  2. I don’t post pictures of myself because I’m usually the one with the camera. I’m extremely self conscious about how I look (and my French nose) so I rarely like pictures of myself.

    When I DO find a picture that I like, I milk the heck out of it. Tom Daly snapped a picture of me (at the Starr Hill party)that I actually like last week and I’ve considered emailing him to see if he’ll give me copy. I have to be sandwiched between my Marc and Mark Thompson, but that’s okay, right?

  3. Andrea says:

    I feel exactly the same way. I prefer photos of myself from the shoulders up. I have also discovered that the pose that comes most natural to me in photos with my family (my arm around one of them) is the most unflattering, so I have to remind myself not to do that.

  4. jen_alluisi says:

    Silly. You look great! The next to last pic is especially fantastic. You look all…athletic and stuff. You know, like you are. I have no problem with head shots of myself, but pictures that get much lower than my shoulders are difficult to look at.

  5. Loth says:

    Yes, I feel exactly the same way. I spend a fair bit of time on holiday making sure I am not in the holiday photos/video and I cringe when I am caught…. (I was about to say “on film” there, which shows my age!). I myself have a little sunrise landscape photo I took as my Facebook image. I rarely post photos of myself on my blog and I don’t do Twitter. Anyway, I vote for photo number 2 up there as your new Facebook image.

  6. Sarah says:

    I can totally relate! I seem to smile too “strongly” so my eyes end up all squinty. And, like you said, I’m never sure what to do with my hands, how to stand, etc… I need to get over it because I would really love more pictures of me and Kate. The mom is always the one behind the camera.

  7. suzie says:

    I feel the same way. But I also take horrible pictures. I don’t know what it is about my face and photographs, but they distort my face.

    This summer I was playing with my iPhone’s front-facing camera. I framed a headshot of myself, previewed how it should come out on the screen, pressed the button . . . and it changed. My eyes looked uneven, my face oddly lumpy. It was very strange. The difference between the framed shot and the eventual photo was obvious.

    Whether this is somehow in my head or not, I hate having my photo taken because they all come out weird looking. It drives my husband crazy that I am not more amenable to photographs. It makes him very unhappy.

  8. Smalltown Me says:

    I still use the hiding behind the coffee cup picture on my blog.

    Did you also do the celebrity crossing-of-the-legs pose?

  9. I hate photos of myself. Some have actually made me cry. The only school photo I have where I smiled is my yearbook photo.

    I need to be in more photos because I wish I had more of my mother,sister and grandmother.

  10. Sue Treiber says:

    It gets worse the older I get. I used to not like to have my picture taken, then I barely tolerated. Now I actively run from the camera. Pathetic.
    You look adorable :)

  11. Aunt Snow says:

    I’ve gotten more comfortable with photos of myself in recent years. I usually have my eyes closed or a weird mouth in photos, but when I find a good one, I don’t mind using it. In the last five or so years my husband’s career have taken us to events with professional photographers, and I’ve had to learn how to do the posed photo-with-dignitaries thing. The funny thing is, no one ever sends me these photos, so I don’t know how they turn out.

    I realized recently that there are almost no photos of me from about 21 to about 32.

    Your skirt is cute!

  12. It’s not just you, babe. Luckily, my husband is vehemently against posting personal pictures online; so I have good justification for sticking with my Laura Petrie avatar.

  13. alison says:

    I’ve stopped caring. I do post the occaisional photo of me on my blog, my blog profile pic is one I especially like from France this past summer. I usually have a pic of myself as my profile pic on FB. I don’t twitter. Some pictures that have been taken of me are better than others, but we are always our own worst critics and cringe from photos that others find fine or even flattering. So, unless I’ve been caught with my mouth open, or my eyes shut, or a really stupid look on my face, I’m fine with posting them. It’s what I look like, after all.

  14. alison says:

    And I LOVE the hands on your hips pose. It’s smashing.

  15. Kris says:

    Basically, yeah. My profile photo is 6 years old (ouch, pains me to say that.) I finally changed it on Facebook after this friend I was teaching to use Facebook said “Kris! That looks nothing like you!” Booger. Mostly I stick to posting pictures of Toby. Plus I’m usually the one using the camera, since Nate can’t focus a picture to save his life, so I’m not in very many photos.

  16. Kris says:

    Oh oh, and I’m having our family photos done professionally in January and I am dying because holy crap not at a good looking point yet. Better than 40 lbs ago but still. And how am I going to display these pictures around my house if we are not all looking decent in them?


  17. I’m really uncomfortable with having my own picture taken, which is why I had to send a three-year-old head shot with my hair cropped off the other day.

    My friend is trying to start his own photography business, so I’m relenting and letting him take some head shots for me.

    I’d rather get a flu shot.

  18. bdaiss says:

    Ha! I’m always sticking my tongue out for photos as well. : )

    I don’t use a photo for my avatar. I’m not sure why. I like the goat. But I don’t hesitate to post photos all over the place. Of course I only pick the ones I like. And as others have said, photos of me are not as abundant since I’m the one with the camera. But I’m working on fixing that.

  19. I think I have had 3 or 4 photos of me that I liked in my entire life. I really don’t want photos of me circulated but I have posted one anyway on my FB and in my blogs. Then my kids “tagged” me in photos and now there are some really truthful ones out there. Sigh. So much for hiding from those old boyfriends and bitchy former classmates!

    I agree that the one of you with hands on hips is the best. Be brave.

  20. Cassi Renee says:

    I never minded photos of myself when I was younger, as long as they weren’t head shots. Having crooked front teeth gave me a crooked smile, even if I kept my mouth closed. Now, after braces, I’m much happier with my smile.

    Throughout most of my life I was normal-size –never really thin, but acceptable, (and when you’re 5’10″ you feel bigger than most other women anyway). But after having E, I just could never really get a handle on my weight again, and I fight against my preference for no pictures. I don’t want our pictorial family history to be minus me, though, and luckily my husband is a great photographer and good at cropping things so I look less bad than in the original. I always tell him “make me look beautiful” whenever he gets the camera out.

  21. Green Girl in Wisconsin says:

    Generally don’t like to see myself in pictures, but I have to say, those last two are full of personality and I really like them!
    How exciting for you to have this new career opportunity! Three Cheers for Team Jen!

  22. Nic says:

    Generally I hate photos of me. There are a couple lurking on my blog/FB/twitter but not many. In photos, on a good day I look OK. On a bad day I want to die looking at the image of myself.

    Back in the days of The Women’s Colony, Mrs. G was big on us having a bio-photo so I agreed. I took a photo of me that was so-so, in my kitchen. If I recall correctly, I put on a bit of make-up and brushed my crazy stupid hair. Then the wonderful Melanie of Beanpaste did something to it using filters and artistry and whatnot, and BLAM I looked fantastic. It was an eye-opener!

  23. Julie says:

    Hands on hips, that’s the one I’d choose! I’m sure that most of us women here can agree for some reason or another, we don’t like our photos taken, or posted. I don’t know anyone (anymore) that is supermodel skinny, and adorable, who is a photo hound — in real life. What time and aging has shown me very clearly (along with being on Facebook for 5 years now!) is that if we don’t stand up and have our photo taken occasionally, we will have no record of how good we looked NOW. Not to be all a maudlin sounding, but it only gets worse ;) I so wish (with a red hot fire) I had taken MORE or had more photos taken of me, back when I was a normal weight. My sons would have probably enjoyed it more, too. I know when they were growing up, and I wasn’t anywhere near the weight I am now, I thought they’d have a memory of me not looking the way I do now. I am very hard on myself, I”ve never been this large, and I do not come from a family of fatties either. But, I have explanations (what my sons call “excuses” ahem) for how this happened to me, and while I’m still working on reducing, it just gets so damn hard as the years go by. Menopause is everything you read about, everything. And I hit it early, so while I don’t mind the saggy chin, the wrinkles up the wa-hoo, what I do still mind is the tire around the middle. When I found Picasa (photo editing) I was so thrilled—I could easily edit out all the unsightlyness of my physical shortcomings, but could not figure out how to erase the girth!

  24. Kristin says:

    I absolutely loathe having my photo taken… between my too small mouth and my wonky eye, I always end up looking like a hungry maniac – however, about a year ago, I realized that I didn’t have any photos of me with my kids! So now, the poor photogenic children, must endure the snapping of eleventy-seven shots until we get one where I can photoshop myself to an acceptable state.

  25. MIME says:

    I feel the same way as the majority of posters, I don’t like my self-pics ’cause I don’t know how to pose “un-self consciously”. Though, we always send out a family photo for the holiday card rather than just the kids. Our theory is that we don’t want people to be shocked at how we’ve aged if they haven’t seen us for years, so we make sure they see us at least once a year in a card. Congratulations on the writing gig – I look forward to reading your links!

  26. Jenn3128 says:

    I really enjoy having my photo taken, always have. Not to say that I love every photo ever taken, but I’ve never hidden from the camera.

  27. Kim Kasch says:

    I love those. You’re having fun with it and THAT’s what matters.

    Hoping to read those articles too – will they be on-line or in print? ‘Cuz I’m the demographic you’re aiming at – mid-life runner :)

  28. Laurie says:

    I agree. I sure wish I had a better self image but it’s something I’ve always struggled with. I do however see no need to post a picture of myself everyday. I think that’s a little far. Oh well. I know many who are not afraid to do that. The pics are great though. I really need to get one of those skirt things!

  29. I HATE photos of myself. It’s always such a shock. I think, “Do I really have those wrinkles? Is my jaw really sagging? What happened to my 20 year old skin and face?”

  30. Jenny says:

    When I have to pose for pictures I feel unnatural and uncomfortable.
    I like your pictures and that purple is great and great for you.

  31. My current fb profile pic is one I like from my “fit” days, holding my 1-year-old and 2-1/2 yo. They are now 19 and 20.
    I rarely put pictures of myself on facebook or my blog. I am not proud of the way I look these days (fat despite having lost 35 pounds since mid-July) but I am trying to allow pictures to be taken simply because as I scrapbook or digitally document my family’s life, it’s not right to keep myself out of the picture (literally).

    PS: The 3rd picture is awesome! You look happy, relaxed, and fit.

  32. I have always adored having my photo taken. I think it goes along with being the youngest in a household of doting parents and siblings who constantly snapped my picture from day one of my existence.

    I also LOVE public speaking. I know I am weird that way, too.

  33. I have always adored having my photo taken. I think it goes along with being the youngest in a household of doting parents and siblings who constantly snapped my picture from day one of my existence.

    I also LOVE public speaking. I know I am weird that way, too.

    Congrats on the writing gig! I look forward to hearing more about it.

  34. Dor says:

    Great post Jen! Makes me think about the fact that I only post OLD YOUNGER pictures of myself unless the new pictures are sort of hazy or far away or if I am half hidden behind someone else so I look slimmer. Does this mean I need therapy?

  35. WendyB says:

    I hate having my photo taken and am often displeased with the results. (Also, I only have one acceptable pose, but as my father once said solemnly, “Some people have no poses.) Yet, I post more and more photos on my blog. I’ve found readers are most interested in those posts. It just seems necessary at this point. Back when I started blogging in 2007, a lot of people obscured their faces or cut their heads out of the pix (which is what I planned to do) for privacy reasons. Now the whole culture has changed, largely thanks to Facebook. Also for me, I started my blog to promote my jewelry business. You can’t really say you represent something without getting out there and representing, unless you’re Martin Margiela, which unfortunately I’m not!

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