Monday, December 04, 2006

Controlling Your Image

Say there's a photo of you on your church's web site that you secretly think is just awful, dowdy, unattractive, triple-chinned.

Say that there's a photo of you on your denominational web site that makes you look like Jo Jo the Dog-Faced Minister.

Say a reporter comes to do a story on your congregation, and schedules a photographer to come along.

Is it diva-esque and difficult in any of these cases to get a better photo, contact someone in the denominational office and ask that the Rev. Jo-Jo photo be removed, or ask the photographer to get your from a certain angle, or in flattering light?

Not necessarily. It's all in how you ask.

Your public image is your responsibility, sweet peas. Without making a vain pest of yourself, it is perfectly reasonable to be mindful of your image, to do everything you can to assure that attractive photographs of yourself are included in your church's brochures or electronic media, and to respectfully request that a photographer work with you to get a good image.

It is not stupid to practice your smile in the mirror, to know your good angles, and to do a practice session of polaroids with a friend so you can learn how you photograph.

Don't be afraid to stop an interview before a photo to check your teeth, powder your nose and forehead, and fix your hair. Thousands and thousands of people may see this photograph: why not spend a moment to make sure you don't have spinach stuck in your teeth? The photographer's not going to tell you.

If you are being photographed as you preach or speak, or if you're photographed as one of a group, there's not much you can do to better the results. However, you can nicely inquire as to whether there will be any opportunity to view proofs, as in "I'd love to see the proofs when they come back and help you choose what image will go in the catalog."

The worst you can get is a "no," right?

A picture's worth a thousand words, and let me tell you, my kitty cats, one bad picture's worth a thousand bad words!! PeaceBang knows.

As for photos that might be out there of you in compromising situations, well, PeaceBang can't help you with those. Just hope that you never make enemies with old friends or lovers who are hoarders of humiliating New Year's Eve photos. And for the love of Thor, don't -- no matter what -- do NOT consent to any requests, from spouses or otherwise, to appear before the lense in any state of undress. If your consort begs and pleads for such likenesses, do like Kate Winslet in "Titanic:" drop your robe and insist on a watercolor portrait. Anything else would just be tacky, darlings, and may come back to haunt you.

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7 Comments:

Blogger LaReinaCobre said...

I tend to get annoyed when friends take bad pictures. This is because when I'm showing pictures of a friend to another friend who doesn't know them, I want the picture to look good. It's always frustrating when I have to say, "This isn't a good photo of him/her/ze - s/h/ze is so cute in person!"

It only takes five minutes to take a better photo; a bad photo could potentially last forever.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Linera Lucas said...

Amen, sister!

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Philocrites said...

Denominational office folks are probably more than happy to swap one picture for another, so if you have a more flattering, preferably high-resolution digital photo to offer, do send it along to the proper denominational office. Or make polite inquiries with any denominational office personages you might happen to be friends with.

Being good to the camera, by the way, makes journalists and especially their editors more likely to give your story prominence. Be good to the camera!

10:25 PM  
Blogger Chalicechick said...

Opinion from somebody who has taken lots of photos for publication:

IMHO, most people do not look their best when they are smiling for the camera. Smiling for the camera without looking wooden is a skill. Most people don't have that skill. Almost everyone looks their best when they are concentrating on something and not looking at the camera at all.

I am so firmly convinced of this that on my instructions, my own wedding photos contain almost no posed portraits, just pictures of my friends and relations captured mid-laugh, mid-dance, mid-bite-of-wedding-cake. (And yes, one melancholy stare into the distance as my father appears to be thinking about his daughter being a married woman now. Best picture ever taken of him bar none.)

PB's stage experience suggests to me that she probably has the smiling just right skill, but my suggestion to anyone else getting interviewed is to do some portraits where you smile at the camera, but if it wouldn't make you any more self-conscious, also see if the photographer will shoot you during the interview and capture you with a serious expression on your face, head turned slightly to the side as you look at the reporter, answering a question that has made you think.

CC
who was a reporter for a little bit back in the day at a paper where reporters too their own photographs.

7:28 AM  
Blogger Steve Caldwell said...

Peacebang wrote:
-snip-
" ... do NOT consent to any requests, from spouses or otherwise, to appear before the lense in any state of undress. If your consort begs and pleads for such likenesses, do like Kate Winslet in "Titanic:" drop your robe and insist on a watercolor portrait. Anything else would just be tacky, darlings, and may come back to haunt you."

I suppose the exception to this guidance would be if one is asked to appear undressed in denominational sexuality education photographic materials [e.g. the old "About Your Sexuality" (AYS) filmstrips].

The current Our Whole Lives (OWL) curriculum visuals feature drawings (grades 7-9) and photographs shown in the context of a narrated video (grades 10-12).

Based on young adult feedback from AYS graduates attending OWL Grades 7-9/10-12 facilitator training workshops, many of them have expressed nostalgia for the old AYS filmstrips that used "real" photos instead of the current drawings.

So, I suppose that it's entirely possible to see a future revision or replacement of the current OWL visuals using photos of actual people instead of drawings.

Also, one needs to keep in mind that even a charcoal sketch, pencil sketch, watercolor painting, etc can now be digitally scanned or photographed and uploaded to a web site in just a few minutes.

4:57 AM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Steve, my dumpling, PeaceBang endured the AYS curriculum herself in her younger years, and believe me -she is NOT NOSTALGIC for the images. She will NEVER be nostalgic for those images! In fact, those images almost turned her off sex entirely!

PeaceBang shudders at the memory.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Berrysmom said...

Oh great, just what I am looking forward to... photos of me in some sexual position, wrinkly skin, stretch marks and all, for the kids whom I dedicated as babies to gaze upon in the flush of their adolescent years.

No thanks.

10:06 PM  

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