From both sides of the lens…

Spent a bit of time over the weekend playing around with the camera. The weather was lovely, conducive to outdoor shooting.

I also carved out some time to practice some outfit shots. I’m going to tell you straight up, this isn’t easy for me. My history of feeling un-photogenic is a long one. Even though my parents would dotingly pose us for those “special outfit” pictures (Christmas, Easter, babysitter’s daughter’s wedding), when it came to appearances the bar was set high, and I often felt as though I’d stumbled through rather than clearing it.  “Suck in your stomach,” my mother would say, “and don’t make a double chin. Smile….no not like that, you look like Goofy!  Don’t stand so knock-kneed!” Our failure to look like Young Kennedys in those Brownie snaps was a constant disappointment to her.

Not ready for Hyannis Port

That feeling of being uncomfortable in front of the camera has not abated with time. I still am stiff, awkward and self-conscious, especially when trying to pose.

They say the camera doesn’t lie, but that’s not entirely true. Photos are two dimensional representations of three dimensional objects, and as such don’t capture an image exactly as we see it. So even though I’m comfortable with my appearance, there’s always a disconnect between what I see in the mirror and what I see in photos. And then camera angles, lighting, depth of field…all can be tweaked to create illusions. I suppose I could learn to manipulate these things to make myself appear closer to the taller, thinner cultural ideal, but part of me flinches from the dishonesty in that. If we’re going to be “visible” we should be visible as ourselves, in all of our physical variety, including being short and sturdy, une ronde.  And part of my “mission” with this blog has been figuring out how to look stylish even if if not tall, thin or young.

I resisted posting pictures of myself on the blog for a long time, because I felt the photographic results didn’t live up to my own ideal of a chic appearance, and because my awkwardness in front of the camera was so obvious. But you don’t get better at something by avoiding it, so I’m cutting myself some slack. Please don’t expect a relaxed pose and a big toothy grin; I’m not there yet (and may never be).

Here are a couple of keepers from the first photo shoot. Two looks with the same leopard print sweater and jeans:

For the office: with navy blazer and pumps 
Date night with le monsieur: ponte knit moto jacket and ankle boots

At least they’re in focus. I really love the remote shutter trigger; beats the timer by light years!

What about you? Do you find it difficult to pose for pictures? Have you come up with any tricks that help you feel more comfortable in front of the camera?

Sweater: J.Crew “Tippi” in leopard, no longer available
Jeans: 7 for All Mankind bootcut, here.
Earrings: Stella and Dot, here.

Blazer: Talbots from a few years ago
Pumps: Stuart Weitzman, here
Necklaces: Chanel and J.Crew

Jacket: Luii, from Nordstrom sale last year or year before
Cuff: Hermés “Collier de Chien” purchased from Beladora2.
Necklace: Stella and Dot, here.
Booties: purchased in Paris, 2008

See more Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style, here.


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  1. Bravo to you for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. I admire your courage. Oh, and love the blog—it’s a daily read for me. judy

  2. These are some of your very best photos! You look great. I’m really liking your short hair, even though I am a long hair person.

    I’ve always taken the best photos of myself with my stationary computer camera (of all things). I used to have a little home office (turned into a pantry now) and I would photograph myself in one outfit or another to get some idea of how I looked in them. I would take a lot of shots and would finally find one that I liked. One of them is my facebook profile now.

  3. It does take courage to examine ourselves in photos. My eyesight, for example, is not great, so I can easily “blur” my appearance in real life. I think you look marvelous, confident and very chic. Thanks so much for participating in Visible Monday!

  4. I too was very weary of posting pictures of myself online. I had very few pictures of myself as I also felt that I never looked good in them. That all changed when I got started. I also got myself a good camera and started learning about photography and editing. I now find it fun to take pictures and have my picture taken. I actually managed to get quite a few good ones as well. Many are taken by myself (with a remote, highly recommended) and some by my photography enthusiast friends. In the process, I now feel much better about myself, and I’m being more creative with outfits. So enjoy and have fun with it. These images of you look great!

  5. You look terrific! Very confident! Thanks you for not adopting the “I’ll stand pigeon-toed and/or stare at my feet” pose. I can never tell if those women are shy or if they think it’s cute. The pic of you as a little girl is cute, too.

  6. First, what a great outfit. I love the overall feminine look mixed with edginess.

    I used to model – runway and print – back in my teens and early 20s. I used to feel very comfortable in front of the camera, but over the years I have lost that comfort and ease. Through my blog, I am trying to get it back by posting photos of myself more frequently. It is helping – but it’s a slow process.

    I find if I say to myself “who cares if I look like a goofball? I can erase the photo later.”

    I also take loads and loads of photos, trying all sorts of different poses.

    One more thing that helps me is posing with something – one of my dogs, a handbag, an umbrella. I don’t know why, but it helps me feel more at ease.

  7. I think you look very chic. The glasses and hair are fabulous. The jeans fit to perfection. The photos project attractive authority. We are all learning, we who did not grow up with Facebook and digital photography. Hooray for not letting our culture pass us by!

    Also, now I want a remote thingie. I hate scurrying around with the 10-second timer:). Your photos look much better all around.

  8. Oh I hate having my photo taken – that’s why I ask Mr TNMA to chop my head off. I don’t feel comfortable at all. I prefer to be on the other side of the lens, to give ideas on how to put a look together and not have loads of pictures of my wrinkly old face on the blog! But you look gorgeous in the photos, love the first outfit, your neat crop – and haven’t you got fantastic skin?!

  9. I wrote. about this topic a few weeks ago in Women of Certain Age, my blog. I see one person in the mirror, another in photos. As for having my photo taken, I no longer act natural as I’m too self-conscious of the outcome.

  10. I love fashion and I love following fashion bloggers but part of the reason I never do outfit posts is because I am very self conscious about how I look on photos.
    Most of the truly great photos of me are candid.
    I admire your resolve to push through the uncomfortable factor.

  11. I hate having my picture taken and that feeling has only gotten stronger as time has gone on. Usually I can get around this by being the person in charge of the camera but not always. My biggest rule for getting my picture taken is to make sure that I am standing on something (a box, a stair) and the shot has to be from the shoulders up so that height differences are not so pronounced.

  12. Very good pictures. An exert shot of the lavender to get the detail and blur the background. I used to hate being photographed until I had a professional shot for a website I used to have. The photographer was great and taught me to minimise the space between me and the camera. Most people instinctively go back if not physically at least mentally. It is tricky to explain without demonstrating just think of slightly leaning forward as if you are having a relaxed conversation with a best friend. On my list is to invest in a remote and a tripod for next year.

  13. I think you’re great looking, polished and cool! I get it though, I have to think of something funny to get a smile out that doesn’t look fake. That, and suck in my tummy, stand to the side, keep my head at the right angle so my long nose doesn’t look longer..etc. My Mother always said I looked great..but she was hyper-critical of her self. So there you go!

    I love your posts too!


  14. I do not like photos of myself unless perhaps, I take them. Even then, I’m not too keen to whip out the camera!


  15. So glad to see your photos! All of us started out headless–but we all evolve and its actually cathartic in the long run. We are all our own worst critics! but you look great and I remember that nordstrom jacket when you posted it. I was pining after it and I still love it! Looks great!

  16. We are so similar in this regard! For a long time, my blog was headless!! IT was all because of my insecurity in front of the camera…I was coaxed out of hiding by other bloggers. It has really helped me, now I am completely comfortable! It is a joke around my house…from frightened cat to runway model..HA HA!! You look awesome…I hope you will keep this up. I like both outfits, but the jacket in the second look is my favorite…Keep bringing it on!!

  17. I have a hard time in front of the camera too – always have. You look great, relaxed, and very natural in the photos you took. I hope you don’t mind my saying this, but your blazer is too large for you now. Love the style and love your outfits though!

  18. I think these are great photos, and I wouldn’t have guessed you are uncomfortable in front of the camera from your outfit pics. You look great. For me, taking my own photos has been empowering- I control my image and I choose to represent- a food lovin’, beer swillin’ 46 year old Latina who loves fashion as personal expression. And the creative outlet of photography has been a wonderful result. I prefer the timer to the remote, but then again my 1st remote died and the second one takes longer to click than the time does. I’m having fun now playing in front of, and behind the camera- I feel very very visible! -Bella Q
    the Citizen Rosebud
    Enter my Karina Dress Give-Away!

  19. The first photo of the bee on the lavender is perfection. And the colors in the second two shots, so crisp. The photo of you and your sisters is so darling, way cuter than the Kennedys.

    I admire your courage taking and posting photos of yourself with a tripod. I tried it once and hated the results. Too much of a disconnect between what I saw and what the camera portrayed.

    You look tres chic in those outfits. I love, love your hair cut.

  20. Oh, I so relate to your comments about being uncomfortable in photographs! I think I always look somewhat pained in mine (and I also resisted posting any for quite awhile). I think you look just marvelous — not uncomfortable at all! I like your non-smiley expression. And the outfit is quite fab.

  21. This is so brave of you. (I destroy any picture that I don’t like… someone please tell me I’m not alone in this!)

    I love love love the second look on you. And being petite avec une forte poitrine I know exactly how hard it is to wear so many things that others wear without a second thought.

    And I still don’t put myself in front of the camera that often. I’d rather be driving my kids nuts taking pictures of them… though they now tower over me!

  22. Been there, thought this, as you know, and although I’ve got much more used to it, I don’t think it will ever be easy. Do you find there are two stages to this process: One, the actual in-front-of-the-camera bit, but two, at least as difficult in terms of the “Who do you think you are?” imaginary rebukes it evokes, is posting the photo. Not only have I had the picture taken but I’m putting myself forward by showing it to the world. I’m not sure that I’ll ever not have a tiny part of me cringing at my own effrontery, waiting for someone to mock or scold. But I keep trying, and I’m so glad to have such great company. You look fabulous — stylish, comfortable, and authoritative all at once!

  23. People who work with photography — photographers themselves, stylists, editors — have told me many times that the camera LIES.

    I’m really glad to see you here. I enjoy your Polyvore collages but it’s much better to see your face and your real clothes!

    You know, I meant to do my blog without photos of my face way back in 2007, but people kept pushing me…then I went on to push other people into showing their faces! It’s contagious.

  24. These pictures are really sharp. Good. I agree, best pictures, I´ve seen of you. And you don´t look like you are ” posing “. Good.
    I never turn up ok in pictures, even my daughters agree. I hate being photographed. I hate it when people say: Smile, and then I hear the click.
    I´m not the one, with the eternal grin on the face. I don´t laugh a lot. Why should I laugh in a picture?
    I´m the serious type, that´s me. Please, don´t make me smile, if I don´t wish to.

  25. @Susan Thanks so much! Some people look better with longer hair, some with shorter. I’ve decided I’m one of the latter. You were able to take full body shots with the webcam? That’s impressive.

  26. @Jen on the Edge Jen, I love those pictures of you. You look like you’re having fun. It really does seem to be a common theme, this discomfort with our own images in photographs. I think it’s a good think that we’re putting images out there in all our glorious variety.

  27. @adrienne Thanks! And why am I not surprised that you used to model. You do seem to project ease in front of the camera. The remote allows me to take a bunch of pictures without having to reset the timer, and that does help. Next time I’ll see if I can get the dogs to join the photo shoot.

  28. @hostess of the humble bungalow Thank you! Even better than a timer – get a remote. It’s so much easier than setting the timer and running around, then trying to hold a pose until the shutter goes off. Even though I know my mother was wrong about a lot of things, it’s hard to “unlearn” a lot of what she taught me.

  29. Hurrah! You look fantastic! After all that preamble about awkwardness, I expected some actual awkwardness – but it’s nowhere to be found.

    My only solution to photo awkwardness is cutting my head out of photos. Also, I consistently make fun of myself and my photos. This helps me remember that blogging is supposed to be fun, not stressful. Well, at least sometimes I remember.

  30. Love your honest post and your sharing of your in front of the camera inhibitions. I can soooo relate. I absolutely hate to have my photo taken at any time…and look what I’m doing….blogging! haha I’ve stayed hidden pretty much until this week when a very sweet blogger gave me some gentle encouragement. I must say it feels liberating, even though I still feel like I look horrible. But I’m doing this to try to have fun…so…my second full “me” post I pretended to be Mary Poppins. That seemed to help loosen me up. I did had fun with it. I may have to channel other characters for inspiration…at least in my mind while posing….to feel a little more at ease until I get used to this.
    And I think you look fabulous btw! I think I’m feeling a spiritual sisterhood of sorts with some of you lovely bloggers.

  31. You look great – love both iterations of that outfit. And I also hate being photographed, so much so that you could flip through our family photo albums and think my kids were motherless …

  32. @Lisa Thank you! I’m going to go check out your “Mary Poppins” poses. Hey, whatever it takes to make it work! Thanks again. This blogging community is such a wonderful and supportive one.

  33. While I generally feel comfortable, and sometimes even quite stylish and attractive with my mature ‘une ronde’ body, I don’t take a good picture, especially straight on. Profile shots are kinder to me.

    YOU, Deja Pseu, look marvelous in your fashion shots. You look attractive, smart, interesting, and aware. You look fashionably dressed and approachable.

    I salute you for taking and sharing these photos and I hope you will share many more. I am inspired.

    – Joy

  34. I think you look fabulous…and I am not just saying so to make you feel better about posing, I really love how you style your outfits. Thank you!

  35. First, I want to say that you look lovely. You are a very attractive woman and you are very chic.
    I know I was very, very apprehensive about posting pictures of myself. I am really round and my face is round. I am just now comfortable with posting pictures. The reason I smile is because I think I look so awful when not smiling. I can see my deep folds in my face and don’t like that at all.
    I still think that only by making ourselves visible are we able to see that there is nothing wrong with us. We are way to hypercritical of how we look. We haven’t been able to see any images other than those of the extremely rare super beautiful people.
    If you had not written about not feeling confident, I would never have thought you anything other than a very confident, attractive woman.
    I do love the pictures you took. Especially the one with the leaves.

  36. Well the outfits look great on you! Your expression seems rather dubious about the whole process, but I know the inner Pseu’s spirit will make it out with additional practice. And I think it’s great you are experimenting.

    [People who are naturally photogenic are lucky bastards…you aren’t alone with your little “wait, I swear I looked better in real life” self-chat.]

  37. Dear Pseu: Those old voices from childhood ususally never go away, but that doesn’t mean they are true. You look fabulous! All the photos and both outfits are excellent.

    Just so you know. I search for blogs of ‘real’ women who are 50+ so that I can learn from those who actually have something valuable to share. Yes I love the high-fashion blogs as well but quirky, expensive outfits on the young and slim don’t motivate me to be my best self. You are a woman who does!

    Thank you for continuing to take the courageous and uncomfortable steps to post your thoughts and photos.

  38. I think you look great! I am not comfortable in front of a camera – but actually now I’m much better than I was. In the past 10 years or so I have had to attend events along with my husband as part of his job, and there are usually photographers there, and I am often asked to pose for the obligatory “Donor, X and Mrs. X” shot, so I have gotten used to it.

    It certainly helps my confidence – but the funny thing is, I rarely get a chance to see those photos, so I have no idea how I appear.

  39. Wanted to add on an artistic note, that the first photograph is so beautiful. I love the composition, soft colors, etc. You’ve really captured to essence of the lavender.
    On another note, I don’t know which to trust anymore – the mirror or the camera? I’m confused, something in between?

  40. @kathy peck Thank you. I was loving the late afternoon light in that picture, and didn’t realize until after I’d snapped that I’d caught the bee. I don’t entirely trust either the mirror OR the camera anymore…perhaps the “truth” is somewhere in between.

  41. @Vix Thank you, and Ha! Yes, “dubious” is probably a good word for it. These shots were taken toward the end of my first attempt at a photo shoot, when I was starting to relax, just a little bit.

  42. I just wanted you to know that I have posted one of the pictures of you onto my Pintrest board called “Beautiful People.” I think you are a beautiful woman! Your smile really brings out your inner beauty. 🙂

    Also, right now it’s you and Cary Grant. Just saying. 😉

  43. I’m so glad you don’t cut off your head! To me, you look sharper all the time–beautifully assembled outfits, great glasses, and the perfect, chic haircut. Please keep sharing it all with us.


  44. I thought of you this past weekend in Paris… when I saw the cutest and most adorable little pup… just like the one you featured on Saturday… xv

  45. I really like these pics i think you look really good – i dont like pics either although i have got a lot better with it – i find Frank helps bizarrely – the best ones are when i look at him – my face just relaxes – so thats my secret and take loads – pick the best – although i agree with being honest – at least be honest when not gurning, shut eyed etc etc xx

  46. First of all, I think you look good in those photos. Jeans and jackets suit you to a T. I also appreciate your wishing to be ‘honest’ in your photos, if I understood you correctly. I don’t know many people who really love to have their picture taken – we are all very self-critical. At some point, though, that vanity is a real hinderance. My Grandmother threatened – and sometimes attacked – to break the camera that anyone aimed at her. She was considered a beauty in her youth and couldn’t come to terms with her appearance in later life. Consequently most of the photos I have of her are from before I came along; very few capture her as I remember her looking during my lifetime. Do I care about her white hair and wrinkles? That she had lost her waistline? That her clothes weren’t fashionable? When I see her photos I remember the pies she baked, the pepper in her personality, that she laughed and joked most of the days of her life in spite of hard times. I love beauty lotions and pretty clothes and having good hair days, but I do often think we loose perspective about what’s really important. Vanity has its place, true, but after you’re gone, what will be the point of a headless photo?