I have a confession to make — the picture that I’ve been using on this blog, my social media accounts, and sending along with submissions to publications is from . . . 2009.
I’ve never claimed to be a a photogenic person, and aside from my wedding pictures haven’t had any professional photography done since. The black and white of me posed with my chin in my hand was taken aboard a cruise ship eleven years ago and the only picture of myself I loved other than the ones where I’m in a wedding dress.
So I was long overdue for new ones.
Luckily, my sister told me about a fantastic local photographer who is married to one of her coworkers, and after looking at her website I had to give her a shout.
JM and I met up on the last Saturday in September at Mellon Park in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill/Shadyside neighborhood to get the shots, and I managed to have a lot of fun. Considering I hadn’t had professional photos taken since 2013, I had to admit that I was nervous. I’m not a natural in front of the camera, and I was super worried that I wouldn’t like the finished products.
But JM was open and friendly and gave me plenty of suggestions and direction on how to play up my best angles and use the beautiful setting of the park to my advantage. Before I knew it, an hour had gone by and it was time to wrap up.
When JM sent me the finished photos a few weeks later, I was so excited — and actually happy with the results! There were plenty of pictures I could use to update my social media pages and use as headshots, and I really liked the way I looked in most of them.
I’m sharing some of my favorites and will definitely be updating my photos on my website in the near future.
photos taken by Janelle Michaux Photography
I know that plenty of writers or other professionals use old photos because they feel, like me, that they aren’t photogenic or they don’t know how to create flattering images of themselves on their own. Let’s be honest — as writers, our typical uniform is sweat pants, a t-shirt, a messy bun, and some sort of chocolate pastry. Writing and reading is a mostly solitary endeavor and most of us know more about semicolons and literary magazines than makeup and good lighting. And while it can feel like you’re taking a big risk by hiring a photographer you’ve never worked with before, I highly encourage anyone who needs new headshots to give it a go. Just make sure you do your research when hiring someone to take those photos — ask for personal recommendations if you can, and don’t feel badly about scrutinizing every shot on their website. Bonus points for photographers who give tips about choosing outfits or hairstyles. And while a writer’s budget is typically pretty tight, DO NOT scrimp when it comes to your pictures!
So let me know what you think about my new headshots, and if you decide to update your own images, tell me how it goes!