Preparing for Your Close-Up

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Image credit:

I had to take a picture for my new Medical Benefits card last week and I have to say I was really pleased with the results. If you’ve done the new registration procedure you’ll know that the person who’s taking your information also takes the picture while you’re sitting right there. The camera attached to her monitor had some powerful flash, and when she let me have a look, I was very impressed with her skills.

The picture looked so good that I was tempted to ask her to let me have a copy for myself, since I can always use a new profile picture. Seriously, I haven’t taken as good a picture designed for an ID card in years. My last foray was for the voter’s identification card a few months ago – and we all know how that turned out.

When those registration clerks were finished with us, everybody looked like they came from the same family – of long-faced, big forehead people. I actually didn’t mind having my cheeks slimmed down a bit, but everything else just looked kind of “off”. But it was probably better than the last voter ID card which I never used as any form of ID – because frankly, did those photos bear any resemblance to any of us?

I had a really decent picture on my license a few years ago, so for two years running, it remained the defining picture when I renewed my card. It fooled me into thinking that I had broken the streak, so I decided to change it. That was a mistake.

The guy taking the picture was kind enough to ask whether it was okay (it wasn’t), but I couldn’t very well blame him for how it looked, because to be fair it wasn’t his fault. I did wonder though, how many times he would have been willing to do a re-shoot and how many times I could have told him, “um…no”.

Image credit:
Image credit:

The last time I went to take a passport photo, I really glammed it up with my hoop earrings only to be told that they were too big, so I had to remove them. Now I don’t consider myself fully dressed without an earring, so I blanched (as much as that is possible to do), because that photo was going to be around for ten years, but there was no way I was going back home. Happily, the result was not nearly as bad as I had feared.

I’m going on and on about ID pictures because I don’t like taking them. Whenever I know that I have to take one, I spend an inordinate amount of time in the mirror attempting to downplay some areas and highlight others. And when I see the actual picture I have to wonder why I even bothered. The contouring, shading and shadowing didn’t really do what those girls on Youtube said it was supposed to do.

It’s amazing how you think you look perfectly fine in the mirror and then you look at the picture and see with amazement how you really look. What is it with the cameras these people are using? Are they specially designed to make you look bad?

I don’t think that we can do any worse if we take the damn pictures ourselves. With the explosion of the selfie, it’s clear that a lot of us can do much better jobs – plus, we know our best sides. So I’m going to suggest that we just bring our cameras, phones or tablets with us to the Passport Office, the Transport Board and the Electoral Office – and smile.

I haven’t gotten my actual card yet. So even though that picture looked great, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it still looks like me.


11 thoughts on “Preparing for Your Close-Up

  1. Well …. I love this! And Ironically I just write a post that parallels this called “But First, lemme NOT take a selfie.” You have a terrific blog and I am signing up! Glad I followed the breadcrumbs back to find all this!

    1. Well thanks for the compliment! If you can see through your throng (ha ha), you’ll see that I’m already there.
      Thanks for reading – but especially for commenting (wink,wink).

  2. They say a camera adds ten pounds, however I am convinced the official ID cameras add ten years. I suspect they want to make it still look like you when it is time to renew.

  3. I hate, hate, hate getting my picture taken for anything like that. Like you said, you look fine in the mirror at home and when you leave the “place”, your picture looks like death warmed over. My passport shot is the worst, does not even look like me. She was a short woman and took it from below. The thing is that these shots have to stay with us for years. Unless of course you lose them or move. I have missplaced my passport but my fear is the next one will look worse.
    Have been on “The Island” at my newly purchased grandfathers home, with very little internet access. Going back today but will at some point come back on and catch up on what’s been going on in Antigua.

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