I’m Not Ready For My Close-Up, Mr. DeMille

It’s true, unlike Gloria Swanson, I’m not ready for my candid close-up. It’s not just because I’m 63; I didn’t love an unplanned facial snapshot 20 years ago either. I’d ask friends, “Is that what I really look like?” hoping to hear them say, “That doesn’t look like you at all.”

A lot of women I’ve talked to feel the same. I think when we look in the mirror we adjust our eye, smiles, makeup, to reflect what we’d like to see. That’s normal, not narcissism. The camera captures without prejudice or flattery; it sees what’s there and that’s that. Even the gorgeous Kate Winslet, above, is “touched up”.

For my blog photos, I have used various filters built into the Apple “Photos” program to change the lighting, and not coincidentally to remove unwanted shadows from my face. When everything is brighter, or warmer, we all look better. The evidence, from my Visible Monday post of two weeks ago:


The original, unaltered picture is fine, but . . .


With a “Cool Vivid” filter everything’s a bit brighter and fresher, and I no longer have, ahem, bra show-through.

When I’m ready for a picture, I relax my face, lift my eyebrows a little, lean towards the camera ever so slightly and think of something wonderful, like Colin Firth in the first Bridget Jones movie. And since I’m in the pictures-of-myself-everywhere business, I’ve gotten adept at it. You readers who are also bloggers no doubt have your own mental routine before a photo shoot.

How much more editing is “needed”? Of course, none is needed, as our faces are fine the way they are. I sometimes blur the tops of my hands in photos, as I don’t care for the brown spots and veins. If I had a big honking blemish on my face, I’d blur it out, but I mostly leave my face alone.
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Stay fabulous and always do you the way you like, xo,

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  1. I recently got a new smartphone – a Huawei P20 Pro – and the camera on it is currently the best camera phone on the market. It has a portrait setting that does a bit of “smoothing and brightening” on your face which has been appreciated by anyone I’ve photographed with it. I use some filters on my IG photos but try not to overdo it.
    The last paragraph of Sherry’s comment totally resonates with me. Photos that other people take of me when I haven’t been able to “compose” myself seem to show a different, older version of me, and I don’t like it!!

  2. I think the selfie camera on my phone automatically edits some. I actually do major and very obvious edits and sometimes a more truly natural selfie. I like to delve into the entire range. I am a fan of filters πŸ™‚

  3. Sherry is right on about your posts Patti ! They always seem to have a thought provoking quality and I really appreciate the tone you create with your writing as well.

  4. I actually edit most of my photos (using free online software), and not just the ones I am in. I usually make the colours brighter than they already are, as that’s my blog’s trademark, if you wish. That said, I actually like your unedited photo! xxx

  5. I don’t have editing software, so I pretty much stick with whatever my phone produces. I did find a setting that adjusts skin tone, so I used that for the first time recently but opted for just a small tweak. However … I take tons of pictures before I find one I like. I go inside, outside, different angles, all over the house. Lighting is the difference between ugh, is that really me and wow, I look pretty good! I’m a terrible photographer, so I find decent results by trial and error.

    • That’s the key, I think – taking lots and lots of pics! Thanks for coming over, Donna, xo

  6. So glad I’m not the only one that feels this way about photos. Since I’m older than most everyone here (actually, probably everyone) I seriously hate photos of myself. There just doesn’t seem to be any way to turn/face/whatever that will make them flattering. Haven’t tried editing them – too lazy/or too busy. Maybe I’ll work on that.

    • I know so many women who feel the same. Like Sherry said, maybe the “filter” we need is in our mindset. thanks for coming by, Iris, xo

  7. I don’t like having my picture taken. Even when I was much younger, and maybe a little cuter (I like to think my looks are not horrifying at 63), I avoided the camera. That said, about six months ago I had a passport photo taken at CVS. No makeup, harsh lighting, etc. It turned out that the photo was not proportioned correctly to use for my passport, but I really like it. I hope I really look like that.

    • That’s a great passport picture story, Carol – most of us look haggard! Must try CVS for the next one : > xo

      • My driver’s license is a different story. It looks like a very, very bad mug shot, taken after a night of heavy drinking.

  8. I always enjoy your posts, Patti. They’re so thought-provoking and often aligned with things I’ve been thinking about myself.

    As you know, I edit my photos for lighting and background. I’m trying to fall in love with my aging face and I have good days and bad days achieving this. I do my best to avoid editing the aging bits but there are some filters on PicMonkey I use occasionally that soften the entire photo in a “Barbara Walters lens” sort of way. Does that count? As you demonstrated, lighting and angle go a long way in highlighting the features I’m not mad at while shadowing the features I’d like to stay hidden.

    Having said that, there are photos I have no control in making and they often make me cringe. Those are the photos that make me question everything about how I see myself. And yet, the people in my life who take those photos don’t see what I see. They love what they see. The question, then, is how can I align my vision with theirs? Is that even possible? I haven’t achieved it yet but I’m trying.

    Hugs and thanks again for the thoughtful blog-versation, πŸ™‚

    • Thank you for the very kind words, Sherry. You have to spill about which filter is the Barbara Walters one, b/c Barb never looked a day over 60! I love what you wrote about aligning our own vision with that of our family and friends. xox

  9. When I see photos of myself I absolutely cringe. Do I really look like that? Good grief, when did that happen!
    On my blog, I do edit photos, though I only just learned how to straighten them. Sometimes they’re too dark and I brighten them. It’s also because my point-and-shoot camera is garbage and needs all the help it can get. (In its defense, the best camera is the one you have with you, and a little one I can stick in a pocket is handy….since my phone camera is even worse).

    • It’s wise to always have your camera with you. And thanks for sharing your candid-photos-feelings! xo

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