"I only get one life and I will not let Fibromyalgia take the joy from my living it."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How to Take a Good Picture

I know several of us with Fibromyalgia have the same problem. The medication that we take causes swelling in our face and neck. It's horrible. I was round-faced before, but now it's down right ridiculous. I hate seeing pictures of myself. In fact, at the time that I am writing this, the pictures on my blog were taken almost two years ago before the swelling started. Now I hate seeing myself in pictures. However I am an avid scrapbooker. Not just for hobby sake, but as an amateur historian of my life. A photojournalist if you will. I author three blogs for the same reason. And I truly believe that it is important, imperative, that we leave behind photos of ourselves. As we are. Sad and as humbling as it may be. This is us. Yes, we can try to flatter the camera the best we can. But someone out there loves you. A spouse, a child, a grandchild, a sibling, a friend. And when they look at your picture they smile. . . because they see you. So here are some tips on how to disguise that swelling in your face and neck when you have your photo taken. I hope it helps you feel more confident. And next time you get your pictures back maybe you'll say "oooh" instead of "argh".

  • I'm just going to say it. Get a really good haircut. I know it's hard on the budget. But find the money somewhere. Do the best you can afford. Tell the stylist exactly what flaws you are trying to hide. Tell her, in my case, I will not get up in the morning and actually dry and fix my hair so it needs to do it on it's own. Voila. Beautiful bob stacked high in the back, drastic angle to longer in the front, side bangs, framing my face, coming just below my chin. Takes 30 pounds and 10 years off. Cuts in just under my chin to hide the fatty neck. 
  • Make sure that the person taking the photo is above you looking down. If they are are looking up at you it will create shadows exagerating the turkey neck. And while you look up at them you are stretching your neck just a little getting rid of the double chin.
  • Don't point your head squarely at the camera. It's a view that actually causes things to look larger than they are. Rather, turn your head just slightly away from the camera. This is why it always feels funny when photographers adjust your head in a shoot, but then when the prints come back it looks fine. If it feels awkward it probably looks good.
  • Just like turning your head a smidgen away from the camera, tilt it also, just a a little.Not enough to make the one side of your neck even fatter, just so that your head is not straight up and down. And if you've got that perfect haircut, it may fall just in place to cover part of your neck.
  • Wear a shirt that is the same color as your eyes. You know the shirt that everyone says, "Oh that makes your eyes look so pretty." Wear that in your next photo. It will make your eyes pop and your neck less noticeable. 
  • Profile picture are supposed to be better. Looking over your shoulder for example. But I find this is not true for me. The neck that is swollen from medicine isn't the same as a neck that's just fat. So it looks different when I look over my shoulder. However. . . 
  • Get creative with hand placement. You can do a partial profile and glance over the shoulder. Say your sitting in a chair that is 45 degrees to the camera. Then you turn your head only 45 degrees to your shoulder while strategically putting your fingers up to your face say to brush your hair behind your ear. And of course, the camera is looking down on you.
  • Another pose I like is to lean forward over a stair rail or banister. Up at the photographer, of course. It really stretches out the neck without making you look like a turtle. So whenever your on vacation and you see something you can lean on this is your chance to say, "Hey, take my picture."
  • I got this tip off a site called The Fat Girl's Guide To Living  "“extend your neck out, then tilt your chin down” I think that one might take some practice.
  • Find an amateur photographer that is starting a business. Someone who is good, but will take the time to work with you, listen to your concerns, be honest with you, help you pose and feel good about yourself in photos.
  • Long or dangling earrings, large necklaces or turtlenecks will draw attention to your neck and chin area, so that's a no no.
  • Practice in the mirror. It's not like anyone else is around for you to get embarrassed.
  • Remember, everyone looks better smiling than frowning. So don't frown when someone starts to take a candid. Train yourself to strike a pose. Even a funny face is better than a hand up in front of a frown.
  • And if you're like me, you're smiling face is a better view than you're backside. So don't walk away everytime someone pulls out the camera. Work it baby. In fact, the more pictures you take, the more likely you are to get one you like. 
  • And finally, you could just forget everything I've said above and learn how to use Photoshop.
 If you'd like to really give this a try with your own camera read How to Hide a Double Chin When Posing. But hey, that's the beauty of digital, you don't have to print these to look at them and try again. I only included one of her tips because she goes into much more technical depth.

The Importance of You in Photographs

So what's your advice on how to take a picture without having a puffy face and neck?


    1. Thank you so much for the photo tips! I use photos of myself on my blog that were taken before my "prednisone days." I HATE my "moon face" so I try very hard to stay away from cameras and so far, so good. I hope to go for the lap band procedue soon, when my husband finally gets out of the hospital, to lose some weight. Maybe then I'll feel like having my picture taken. But your advice is very well written and knowledgeable. Thank you!

    2. I would definitely talk to the doctor about the swelling from the medication because I am not sure that would go away with weight loss since it's not cause by weight gain. The swelling is different than weight. I'm not trying to encourage or discourage you from the lap band procedure. I just want you to know exactly what to expect.

    3. Thank you for your advice. I appreciate it. You are right...the swelling more than likely is from the prednisone. My mother had the same problem. But maybe if I could lose weight, my joints would feel better and I wouldn't need so high a dose of prednisone or maybe, just maybe, I could wean off it altogether! I'd love that. :0)