Thursday, June 06, 2013

Anyone can look good under the right lights

I first had this idea last year when I was starting in on trying to eat properly, lose weight and get fitter. I never did anything about it but then my efforts to lose weight got derailed after a few weeks and between one thing and another I spent the next few months gaining and losing that same two or three kilos. Since I am now making a more serious effort to lose weight I thought it was time to take it out again and I went to a local photo studio last Saturday to find out if they would be able to put together some kind of a special package for me to go every month and have a quick photo taken, with a final full photo shoot at the end of a year. Unfortunately it was a chain studio and although they did do decent CV photos the time I went to them a couple of years ago, the woman I spoke to was totally unable (or unwilling) to deviate from their set price list of options. Then I remembered an independent place that I found last year. I took a slightly longer lunch on Tuesday and made it there to ask them if they could help.

What a difference in reception. They were interested and absolutely willing to just figure something out, although the guy explained that even though they do have a studio space with lights and all that set-up, their main business is more the printing side of things. He just really does the passport photos and otherwise they have a few photographers they work with who sometimes use the space. After tossing around a few different ideas we finally agreed that I would do the first session with a photographer and then, once we had found the right pose etc., we'd use that as a template for the following months, when I could go back and he would take photos of me in the same position, without doing a full-on photo shoot. He contacted one of the photographers he knows and amazingly she was going to be in town on Wednesday and could offer me a session at six o'clock. Amazing not just because of the short notice but also because my boss was going to be at a conference so it would be feasible for me to start at 8 and finish at 5 that day. So yesterday evening I left work earlier than usual and headed into town to have my picture taken.

The photographer was lovely and told me that she had lost a fair bit of weight with weightwatchers this year so I was immediately reassured that she would kind of understand where I was coming from. We chatted about what I wanted and just generally while she set up a coloured background and got the lights into position. What I was very impressed with is that it only took her a few minutes to cop on to how to get me to smile more naturally and how to make me laugh and that made things much easier since I didn't feel like I had a forced grin pasted on my face the whole time. I've been told I have a nice smile before but once I'm in front of a camera in that kind of artificial setting I do freeze up.

While it's not the most frugal plan in the world, I'm looking forward to doing it and it feels like the kind of motivation that will actually motivate me at the moment. And it's probably won't break the bank either.  Yesterday's session cost just 40 euro. We tried different outfits, lots of different poses and backgrounds and then spent a while going through the photos immediately on her laptop. It was incredibly difficult to decide, although everything with a white background was deleted immediately - far too harsh for my almost equally white skin. And the ones where I was supposed to be staring wistfully into the distance either looked like I was about to fall asleep or about to cry so they went too. I was supposed to be narrowing it down to one but in the end we settled on three different ones. One nearly full body shot with just the last couple of inches of my legs missing, one head shot and one sitting in a traditional I'm-so-cool pose (kind of like the second from the top on the left-hand side on this sheet but facing more towards and actually looking at the camera. I didn't plan to originally but I am going to get print-outs of those photos, which will be another 33 euro (11 each). Who can resist photos of themselves looking nice? When I go back at the beginning of each month we'll do photos of me in the same positions but I won't actually get print-outs. After twelve months, I'll get all of them at once, probably all on one big printout - we haven't quite worked out exactly what would be best and he's just going to give it some thought as we go along.  I'm quite excited about it now and it's certainly going to be a big motivation to be able to see at least a small difference every month.

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