I recently had new photos taken. This is always stressful for me, which is one of the reasons I was a photographer once upon a time. I far prefer being behind the camera than before it. But books need photos, and I have a compulsion to keep them current.
That said, it isn’t a simple undertaking. I can’t speak for other authors, but this is what a shoot entails for me.
1. Choose a photographer and set a date.
There have been times in the past when I was all over the place trying to pick a person, but the choice was relatively easy this time. Based on personal recommendation and her amazing celebrity photos, I knew that I wanted to work with Kerry Brett. Since my last photos were taken outdoors and had been a scheduling nightmare of rain and humidity, I also knew that this time I wanted a studio shot. Kerry’s studio is in Hingham, Massachusetts, an easy 45-minute drive from my home.
We picked Wednesday, June 27, 2012, for the shoot. I wanted to get it done before summer, so that I wouldn’t stress the summer away, and what with Kerry being busy with Christmas photos pretty much from September on, a June date worked for her, too.
2. Hire makeup artist.
At Kerry’s recommendation, I hired Dianna Quagenti, with whom she often works. The deal was that I would meet Dianna at Kerry’s studio having made myself up with the look I like, then she would smooth, accentuate, or modify what I’d done to make it perfect for the shoot.
3. Make appointments for hair and nails.
These things matter. Easy phone calls took care of both.
4. Choose clothes and props.
This was the tough part. I took things out, tried them on, put them back. I talked with Kerry about colors of my clothes and her backgrounds. I took other things out, tried them on, put them back.
5. Re-choose clothes and props.
More trying on and putting back. Some buying and returning. The process was endless. Midway, I sent Kerry phone shots of various dresses, jackets, scarves. Regarding props, we discussed the possibility of my holding a pile of books (decided against it) and a laptop (went with this).
Actually, it was more a question of taking care, in the three days leading up to the shoot, to avoid those foods that might make me bloated (carbonated soda, airy frozen yogurt) or puffy (cold cuts, Chinese food, anything else heavy on salt). I mean, yeah, it would be great to lose ten pounds prior to a photo shoot, but experience told me that wasn’t going to happen.
It’s the one thing that can make or break the way you look. It’s also the one thing that is hardest to do when you’re as nervous as I was about this shoot.
That said, by the time I arrived at the photographer’s studio, my job was done. I pretty much sat there and let the makeup woman do her thing, then let Kerry decide which of my outfits went with which backgrounds.
It was fascinating to watch Kerry – her thoughtfulness, tipping her head this way and that as she analyzed me and the light, asking me to tip my head this way or that, having me turn a bit to the right or left, to sit or stand, always her thoughtfulness.
Two weeks after the shoot, I returned to Kerry’s studio. Of 500 shots, she had chosen the best 100. We sifted through those, hoping to boil it down to five, but the shots were so good that I couldn’t choose fewer than nine.
Of those, folks, here are the final three. What do you think? I’ve given each a caption. Which would you like to see on the cover of Sweet Salt Air?