This is my absolute favorite picture of myself.
This Lisa is silly, snarky, adorable, and unbelievably confident. She doesn't worry about wrinkles or zits or fitting into that new pair of jeans. She doesn't brush her hair — more importantly, she doesn't do anything to her hair. And good luck to anyone who tries to come near her with a comb.
She wears butterflies without a hint of irony.
She is my hero.
If it were up to me, this would be the headshot used for my driver's license, work profile, and online dating account. Alas, we live in a world of national security, professionalism, and creepers, so I'm stuck relying on contemporary photos of myself. Lame.
Confession: Despite a short-lived career as a Little Tikes model*, I hate getting my picture taken. I curse the inventors who integrated cameras into our phones and made it that much easier for relatives and friends to take crappy, red-eyed snapshots of me looking my worst. Yep, I'm that stereotypical girl who's overly critical of her appearance — it's terrible, I know, but it's also a really hard habit to break.
So I thought maybe a good first step would be to get some legitimately decent photos taken. I work on my confidence and get some acceptable headshots at the same time? Win-win. Ample preparation, carefully planned conditions, and — most importantly — a professional photographer seemed like a recipe for photo success, so I not-so-subtly reached out to my old co-worker Leela Briggs and shamelessly offered my services as a model if she ever wanted to add some more portraits to her portfolio.
Never underestimate the power of a thinly veiled request.
Together, with the help of our friends Molly (photographer's assistant extraordinaire) and Jamie (stylist and fashion expert), we somehow cobbled together an afternoon photo shoot at the Arnold Arboretum — followed by food and copious amounts of wine as a reward to myself for enduring several hours of awkward posing.
Leela's a total professional, so she came armed with a rolling arsenal of gear and tools. We started by testing the color settings. (That's probably a lie. I have no idea what purpose the color card served. Someone told me to hold it, so I did.)
People riding their bikes and walking through the Arboretum were pretty curious about what was going on until they realized that I was just a random girl and not Barbara Streisand or Sarah Jessica Parker (the only two celebrities I've ever been compared to — it took a while for me to grow into my nose).
I may have had a hard time taking things seriously at first.
My default reaction to getting my picture taken is to make silly face. That way, if I look weird, at least it's on purpose.
Luckily, Leela waited me out.
A few tips if you're nervous about getting your picture taken:
- Wear an outfit you're comfortable in (I was wishing for my jeans and flannel shirt by the end of this)
- Don't smile all the time (give your face a break!)
- Accept the fact that it's going to feel awkward at the beginning, and that it might take a while to get some good shots
- Choose a location that you love or that relates to your personality and interests
- Despite popular belief, a cloudy day is perfect for taking photos outside (skip those overly bright, sunny days)
- If there's anything you're self-conscious about, let your photographer know — they can work magic
- Have FUN (any time I started to feel a little wooden, I'd just start dancing. It made for some amazing gifs later on!)
Of course, despite all of Leela's hard work, my favorite shot from that day is this one:
Yeah. Some things never change.
*Oh, what's that? You thought I was lying? BAM: