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Category Archives: Photography

Dad’s Last Photograph

I wish I had stood my ground and insisted on Dad letting me take his photograph when he resisted the last time I saw him. He was on the verge of turning 88, and his mother and grandfather lived well into their 90’s, so I had no reason to think I wouldn’t have another time when he would be in favor of a photo shoot.

Several months before he passed away he told me he wanted a photograph of himself wearing a suit and tie while donning his fez. Not a cell phone shot, but a good photograph to hang on the wall. As a lifelong freemason, he was proud of the hat he earned being a member of the organization. Its the one you see Shriners wear in parades, and it really meant something to him. He’s a handsome devil even at his advanced age, particularly when was is gussied up.

Dad suffered from Progressive Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) for years and breathing became labored off and on for him. Over the past few months, he had been in-and-out of the hospital many times but always bounced back as if nothing had happened. For six months after he made the request, I brought my camera to photograph him during our visits. Dad could be a little on the stubborn side, and each time he said that he didn’t feel like changing from his casual clothes just then. I wasn’t about to push him into something he didn’t want to do. Besides, his refusals didn’t concern me much since I thought I would have many more opportunities to capture him as he wished.

Sadly, this is the last picture I have of him, which is several years old. He passed away in the hospital before I could get the photograph he wanted.  A cell phone image is certainly not the portrait I had hoped to have in my home forever, but it’s the one I have. 

                                                   

I know I should have taken more photographs of my parents and insisted when Dad said “no” back then. If I had, a beautiful reminder of him and his love would be hanging in my home to pass by every day.

Delightfully yours,

How to Look Better in Photos

How to Look Better in Photos

You know that sinking feeling you get after glancing at the photo someone just snapped of you? Your critical self leaps into action suggesting that it looks like you’ve added a few extra pounds since yesterday. And what’s that action going on under your neck? Or worse, where did your neck disappear to entirely?

So the next time that friend who insists on documenting every outing strikes, a few tiny little tweaks will vastly improve the way that keepsake turns out.

Aim a camera at anyone and it’s a fairly safe bet that most people stand straight on into the camera. This maneuver positions our widest self directly to the lens. Only stick thin models and children are perfectly happy with the way that look turns out. For the rest of us, slightly turning bodies 45 degrees to the camera will result in a much sleeker silhouette. Ladies, shifting your weight onto your back leg, and lightly resting hands with relaxed fingers onto your thighs works well.  Gents can shift as well, and place hands in jacket pockets for most pictures, or hook a thumb over a belt loop or jeans pocket for a less formal shot.

Good posture always looks better, and relaxed shoulders takes the tension out of the body. Drop your shoulder closest to the camera and lean in. Not so much that you look as if you’re about to huddle, just a touch will do.

Overcoming problems above the shoulders for everyone is as simple as relaxing them, lifting the top of the head up as if it were attached to a string. Sliding your chin forward and ever so slightly down tightens the jawline, and you will be amazed at the results this little movement produces. Adjusting your chin forward and down, elongates the neck and accentuate the jawline for a much improved final shot.

Don’t forget to smile with your eyes and make contact with the camera. A happy thought will light up those peepers, and a suggestion of a smile lifts the corners of your mouth just enough.

Finally, if you have any control whatsoever over the shot, have the camera aimed at or slightly above or below eye level, not at the forehead looking up. And you know those selfies I’m talking about.

Here’s to looking your best!

Connie-sign

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